Hungary - v. England, Wembley 1953
Coach: Gustav Sebes
Achievements: 1952 Olympics, record unbeaten run 1950-54, first team to beat England at Wembley, 1954 World Cup finalists.
Key Players: Puskas, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Czibor, Bozsik, Grocsis
Star Player: Puskas
The Hungarian football team of the 1950’s redefined the sport of soccer, revolutionising the way the game was approached and breaking records along the way. The team, under the visionary leadership of Sebes, and with the sublime on-pitch leadership of Puskas, developed a new style of play which included a revolutionary withdrawn centre-forward role (Hidegutki), a sweeper-keeper and fluid movement between positions for other players, notably Czibor. These are of course, all features that are used to this day. Their revolution was announced dramatically to the world when they became the first foreign team to beat England at home, thrashing the, 6-3 in 1953. Between June 1950 and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 the Magnificent Magyars compiled a competitive record of forty-two wins, seven draws and only one defeat. The tragedy is that the defeat came in the final of the 1954 World Cup.
Rarely has a single national side been blessed with as many truly world class players inhabiting a single era. Yet Hungary during the 1950’s could call upon the services of a plethora of international stars. The incomparable Ferenc Puskas, arguably the greatest goalscorer in the history of the modern game, with 84 goals in 85 games, captained the team. His strike partner was the equally predatory Sandor Kocsis, a forward whose 75 international goals were plundered in only 68 matches. Completing the triumvirate of attacking geniuses was the deep-lying centre forward Nandor Hidekuti (39 goals in 69 games), the last man to score a hat trick against England at Wembley, way back in 1953.
Aside from the strikers Hungary could call on the services of two other genuinely world class talents. Jozef Bozik in central midfield was the schemer and playmaker, the man who loaded the bullets for the strike force to fire. On the wing the mobile and visionary Zoltan Czibor epitomised the speedy and skilful wide player. Quite simply no other team in the international arena could match the Hungarian juggernaut over an unbeaten run.
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