FIFA World Cup 2018: Top 5 matches in the history of the tournament
#4 1954 World Cup Final
Hungary and West Germany were up against one another in the 1954 World Cup Final at Bern. Hungary were heavy favourites to win the World Cup right from the beginning of the tournament as they had what is still remembered as one of the strongest teams of all time.
With the likes of Ferenc Puska, Sandor Kocsis, Zoltan Czibor, Nandor Hidgekuti, Jozsef Bozsik and Gyula Grosics, Hungary played sime dazzling football throughout the tournament, scoring a minimum of four goals in their matches before the final.
They defeated the top two teams of the 1950 World Cup Uruguay and Brazil in the semis and quarters respectively by a margin of 4-2.
West Germany who became a FIFA member just four years back, were thrashed by Hungary 8-3 during the group stages but they came back strongly with a 7-2 thumping of Turkey. They defeated heavily favoured Yugoslavia 2-0 in the quarterfinals before shocking Austria 6-1 in the semi-finals.
A crowd of roundabout 62500 people gathered in the Wankdorf Stadium at Bern to witness the title clash. It was heavily raining that day which was an advantage for West Germany as their skipper Frotz Walter was well known for playing his best football on wet pitches.
Hungary began to assert their authority over the Germans from the beginning and it took only six minutes for them to take the lead thanks to the great Puskas who scored from close range after Sandor Kocsis' shot rebounded.
Just two minutes later, Bozsik took a shot at goal which was blocked by West German left-back Werner Kohlmeyer.
However, Kohlmeyer made a back pass which wrong-footed goalie Toni Turek and Zoltan Czibor took advantage of this by putting the ball in the back of an empty net to double Hungary's lead.
Just two minutes after Hungary's second goal, West German skipper Fritz Walter played a ball to Helmut Rahn on the left. Rahn crossed low and the ball went between the legs of Jeno Buzanszky and left half Jozsef Zakarias deflected the ball towards Max Morlock who scored the first goal for West Germany.
In the 18th minute, West Germany got a corner which skipper Walter played short and was cleared for another corner. The second corner was long and high and reached Helmut Rahn who headed the ball in to equalise for West Germany.
Following the leveling of scores, Hungary took control of the game and had some really good chances. In the 23rd minute, Sandod Kocsis headed a Mihaly Lantos cross towards Nandod Hidgekuti whose volley was brilliantly saved by Turek.
Minutes later, Hidgekuti took a powerful shot from just outside the penalty area but unfortunately, it hit the post.
West Germany had a brilliant chance to take the lead during the final few minutes of the first half as Hans Schafer's saw Gyula Grosics make a save but the ball went towards Rahn who shot the ball only for Buzanszky to clear the ball on the goal line.
Hungary created plenty of chances during the second half. Just nine minutes into the half, Kohlmeyer was forced to make two goal-line clearances from Mihaly Toth.
Hungary was forcing one attack after another but West Germany were equally resilient. The Germans got a good scoring opportunity in the 72nd minute when Fritz Walter played a ball to Helmut Rahn from a corner kick and Rahn's powerful shot from the edge of the penalty box was saved by Grosics.
In the 84th minute, Hans Schafer dispossessed Bozsik and crossed high towards the penalty box. The ball was cleared short but was picked up by Helmut Rahn.
Rahn feigned a pass to Ottmar Walter to wrong-foot the Hungarian defenders and hit the ball low past Grosics to give West Germany the lead. This was the first time Hungary were trailing in the tournament.
Hungary did not give up and created a few good chances during the twilight of the game. In the 86th minute, Puskas scored a goal which was ruled offside. In the dying moments of the match, Czibor shot from close range but his shot was saved by Turek.
The final whistle was blown and the crowd could not believe their eyes. West Germany stunned Hungary to win their first World Cup. This ended Hungary's 32-match unbeaten streak which lasted for over four years. It was the "Miracle of Bern" indeed.
Hungary's persistent attacking prowess, West Germany's resilience are just a few of the many reasons why this match will be regarded as one of the greatest World Cup matches ever.
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:04 IST