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World Cup History – 1954 in SWITZERLAND – Hungary’s hopes are dashed!

1st June 2014
England travelled to Switzerland with their confidence shattered after two resounding defeats against Hungary in the months prior to the World Cup. Stanley Matthews was still dazzling his opponents at the ripe old age of 39, but England were not expected to do particularly well.

The complicated format of the tournament meant that the two seeded teams in each group would not play each other, only the two supposedly weaker teams. This meant England avoided a difficult match against Italy and instead fought out a thrilling 4-4 draw with Belgium.

England went on to beat the hosts, but came up against Uruguay in the quarter finals who had just thrashed Scotland 7-0! Sadly the English keeper Gil Merrick did not cover himself in glory and Uruguay won 4-2. The superb Hungarians then beat Uruguay by the same score to reach the final, where they would meet West Germany who thrashed Austria 6-1 in the other semi final.

Hungary were strong favourites to win the trophy, having hammered the Germans 8-3 in an earlier group game and when they raced into a two goal lead after just 8 minutes it looked a formality that they would be returning victorious to Budapest. However, the Germans levelled quite quickly and when the Magyars star player Ferenc Puskas suffered an injury, they wilted and with a few minutes left, the German winger Helmut Rahn struck his second of the match to secure victory.

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