WORLD CUP : History—1954

Switzerland, neutral during the War, hosted the 1954 World Cup which saw West Germany back in the fold and the Ferenc Puskas-inspired Hungary, who had handed England a historic 6-3 defeat prior to the finals, installed as strong favourites.

The 1950 group format was abandoned, with a return to the group system followed by knockout quarter-finals and semi-finals.

The Hungarians demolished a tactically-weakened Germany 8-3 in the opening round, adding to a 9-0 demolition of South Korea.

In the quarter-finals their match with Brazil turned ugly. The Battle of Berne, as the match was later labelled, saw two Brazilians and a Hungarian sent off and continued fighting in the dressing rooms after the match, which Hungary won 4-2.

In the final they were to face West Germany again, surely a formality. It was not to be. Hungary were soon 2-0 ahead through Puskas and Zoltan Czibor and seemingly cruising to victory, but they reckoned without the determination of the Germans who leveled within ten minutes.

The German winner came five minutes from the end when Helmut Rahn scored his second goal to clinch their first World Cup triumph.