|1954 Football World Cup - Switzerland|
Championnat du Monde de Football 1954
Official 1954 Football World Cup poster
(final tournament: 16)
||West Germany (1st title)
(5.38 per match)
(36,269 per match)
||Sándor Kocsis (HUN)|
The 1954 Football World Cup was held in Switzerland. As the year saw the 50th anniversary of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), it seemed like a good idea for football's premier competition to be played in the home of its governing body. The tournament was won by West Germany, who upset Hungary in the final 3-2. It was Germany's first World Cup victory.
For the first time there was television coverage, and also special coins issued to mark the event. There was also a new seeding system involved in the group stage, where the two teams ranked highest in the world standings in each group would not have to play each other. 16 teams qualified for the tournament, broken up into four groups of four. The two teams finishing at the top of their group in the group stage would go through to the quarterfinals, but strangely there would be extra time played in the group stages for any game ending in a draw. As a result of this Switzerland went to a replay, where they beat Italy 4-1, while West Germany saw off Turkish opposition 7-2.
The quarterfinals saw the favourites Hungary beat Brazil 4-2 in one of the ugliest matches in football history, which would become infamous as the Battle of Berne. Meanwhile, the World Cup holders Uruguay sent England out of the tournament, also by 4-2. Also, West Germany dispatched Yugoslavia 2-0 and Austria managed to beat the host nation in the game that saw the most goals in any World Cup match, 7-5.
Although the semifinals produced a score line of 6-1 between West Germany and Austria (with West Germany winning) the most exciting game saw Hungary go into the second half leading Uruguay 1-0, only for the game to be taken to extra time with a score of 2-2. The deadlock was broken by Sandor Kocsis with two late goals to take Hungary through to the Final, beating a team that had not previously lost a World Cup game. Uruguay then went on to be beaten for a second time by Austria as they secured Third Place.
The Wankdorf Stadion in Berne saw 60,000 people cram inside to watch the Final between West Germany and Hungary, a rematch of a first round game, which had been won by Hungary 8-3. The Final saw the legendary Ferenc Puskás playing even though he was not fully fit. Despite this he put his team ahead after only 6 minutes, and with Zoltan Czibor adding another two minutes later it seemed destined that the pre-tournament favourites would take the title.
However with a goal from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn before half time the tide began to turn.
The second half saw telling misses from the Hungarian team, a second goal from Rahn, and a disallowed goal from Puskas with 2 minutes left on the clock. The distraught Hungarians were ushered away by the referee and with a final blow of the whistle West Germany were handed both the Jules Rimet trophy and the title of World Cup Winners. When Rahn scored his second goal the popular German reporter Herbert Zimmermann gave the most famous German piece of commentary.
The 11 goals scored by Kocsis of Hungary not only lead the World Cup, but bettered the old record by three.
Third place match