The Battle for the World's No. 1 National Team

Table of Contents
Ferenc Puskás
József Bozsik
Gyula Grosics
Gustáv Sebes
'Match of the Century'
The 1954 World Cup
1954-1956 Matches
1960 European Cup

 1952 Summer Olympics

World Select XI 'Dream Team'
of the first half of the 1950s.

The very memorable 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki was taken very seriously
by the Hungarian politicians, and their team managed to earn third place honors
for medals behind the vastly bigger United States and Soviet Union.

Right-winger László Budai's
Olympic gold medal he received
after the great victory over Yugoslavia.


The following is the record of the Hungary national team's home and away matches from May 1948 to their meeting with Yugoslavia in the 1952 Olympic championship match.

No.
Date
Venue
Type of Game
Opponent
Goals For
Goals Ag.
Opponent World Rank
1.
5.23.1948
Away
Gero Intl. Cup
Czechoslovakia
2
1
No. 16
2.
6.6.1948
Home
Balkan Cup
Romania
9
0
No. 41
3.
9.19.1948
Away
Balkan Cup
Poland
6
2
No. 33
4.
10.3.1948
Home
friendly
Austria
2
1
No. 15
5.
10.24.1948
Away
Balkan Cup
Romania
5
1
No. 40
6.
11.7.1948
Away
Balkan Cup
Bulgaria
0
1
No. 57
7.
4.10.1949
Away
Gero Intl. Cup
Czechoslovakia
2
5
No. 21
8.
5.8.1949
Home
Gero Intl. Cup
Austria
6
1
No. 16
9.
6.12.1949
Home
Gero Intl. Cup
Italy
1
1
No. 2
10.
6.19.1949
Away
friendly
Sweden
2
2
No. 3
11.
7.10.1949
Home
friendly
Poland
8
2
No. 42
12.
10.16.1949
Away
friendly
Austria
4
3
No. 16
13.
10.30.1949
Home
friendly
Bulgaria
5
0
No. 46
14.
11.20.1949
Home
friendly
Sweden
5
0
No. 5
15.
4.20.1950
Home
friendly
Czechoslovakia
5
0
No. 20
16.
5.14.1950
Away
friendly
Austria
3
5
No. 13
17.
6.4.1950
Away
friendly
Poland
5
2
No. 44
18.
9.24.1950
Home
friendly
Albania
12
0
No. 63
19.
10.29.1950
Home
friendly
Austria
4
3
No. 14
20.
11.12.1950
Away
friendly
Bulgaria
1
1
No. 55
21.
5.27.1951
Home
friendly
Poland
6
0
No. 43
22.
10.14.1951
Away
friendly
Czechoslovakia
2
1
No. 19
23.
11.18.1951
Home
friendly
Finland
8
0
No. 82
24.
5.18.1952
Home
friendly
East Germany (non-FIFA but full international)
5
0
No. 30
provisional
25.
6.15.1952
Away
friendly
Poland
5
1
No. 45
26.
6.22.1952
Away
friendly
Finland
6
1
No. 75
27.
7.15.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympic Games Grp.
Romania
2
1
No. 33
28.
7.21.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympic Grp.
Italy 
3
0
No. 5
29.
7.24.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympic Quarterfinal 
Turkey
7
1
n/a
30.
7.28.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympic Semifinal
Sweden
6
0
No. 11
Defensive and Offensive Averages in 30 starts: 24 Wins, 3 Draws, 3 Losses
Winning Percentage: 85.00 % /  Undefeated Percentage: 90.00 %
in equiv. top-tier professional American football, 24-3 (45.7 points/game)
4.57 gls/gm
1.20 gl/gm
Before Puskás played on or managed teams
that entered the European Cup finale six times
he had been a hero and already the world's
greatest international goalscorer and world's
finest player, a megastar at home, a world
superstar abroad with a very famous world
career that gave him half his greatness. 

    Years of modern well-performed football, a voyage of a venture of classic men with Ferenc Puskás always the head and ideal as captain and the pride of intellect was now to batter the gates in denser games in the summer of 1952.

     Puskás, charmed with a sparkling left-foot and keen flair that leaves many admirers, was the sportsman whom the late 1940s to the mid-1960s European sport fêted most.  He is a factor in all their games and victory's dazzle with the most solid announcements of any by giving them an exhaustless long rolling attack and is the greatest who contributes the best original example.  Marking through these games in duplicate power is the striker Sándor Kocsis and the old campaigner Hidegkuti and the game's compass the all-supplying József Bozsik.
     With their major keys of talent aligned the team's features progressed in their distinction like a mighty, gallant ship on a course a little over two years unbeaten since May 1950 Hungary was 
continually advancing the most overwhelming conclusions with prepossessing sights and orchestral thinking as a team mightier than any other in recent memory. 
     
     In the lead up to the 1952 Summer Olympic games held in Finland the hard-hitting campaign carried all before them and they were starting to sport records, the upshot of their strenuosity dashing teams astray with scoring aura yielding to aura such as Europe had never seen before.  Most of their games were superb by any measure that made fabulous gains as a team of good hope.  With the energetic go-getting Puskás, the star who led the athletically advanced, they abound in surging scores that made it reveal a hoard of goals in ransacking defenses to overstep their last twenty rivals by averaging 5.10 goals/game as most sides were powered over by the players astride the Danube that describes a team that was always on the move.  News traveled along the footballing grapevine that a vibrant, skillful and determined team from Central Europe was rising and able to test the resilience of the much bigger teams. 

The great Magyar team on the beach in Finland, July 21, 1952, before their game with the world's No. 5 Italy at the 1952 Olympics.  

     The Hungarian team arrived at the 1952 Summer Olympics where new fashions have their weight as preludes to further glory in a highly entertaining men's tournament where their command of the game was first practically tested and saw them first triumphantly launched. The spirit of the Hungarian team traveling to Finland, one of only two countries in Europe with a kindred language related to Hungarian, was high and the players were beginning to find fame as very solid reputations were achieved that earned them a good reception with the Western press.  Good press by sports commentators offered better visibility outside the Socialist Bloc and as the team's status quickly climbed to that of an acknowledged master looking for its long-sought releasing monument.

     The team soon lit up the tournament in a five-game public showing, first defeating Romania 2-1, then Italy 3-0, before routing Turkey 7-1 in the quarterfinals.  Facing them in the semifinal were the 1948 defending Olympic champions who had earned a third-place finish at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, a much-fancied Swedish team thought to pose a grand challenge for the Hungarians.

     The dashing men of the Danube who grew up beyond the mountains, the best team from Eastern Europe in substance and surroundings with ease to enter the checkered mass attack with a defense that can battle and answer runs more melodious today.  It was an hour prophetic in a triumphant tutti beyond what gorgeous summer knows in the team's biggest breakthrough and there made a sudden glory stream.   

     In a performance highly rated as one of their finest, a Puskás first minute goal was the start to a thoroughly emphatic complete game that served positive notice to the most influential circles in the European football community.  It was clearly this one game with Sweden where they easily attained a supremacy winning 6-0 that unmistakably first brought Hungary to the world’s attention, and it resonated with one especially, Stanley Rous, secretary general of the English Football Association and future FIFA President.

Hungary : 0 Sweden (Puskás 1', Palotás 16', Lindh 36' o.g., Kocsis 65', 69', Hidegkuti 67')

     Having cast a superior view upon the day's matchless drama and enjoying the elemental contest below, Stanley Rous relished the spectacle as wholly delightful, smiled a deferential salutation, put in a significant handshake and turned to his Hungarian counterpart.  Stanley Rous saw in this Hungarian team with his native England a prized match of high preferment: "Look, you'll have to come to London and play England soon.  Let's shake hands on it."

Defensive mainstays Lantos (left), Buzánszky and keeper Gyula Grosics in during a
defensive sequenc in the 1952 Olympic Games.

The following is the record of the Yugoslav national team's home and away matches from Dec. 1949 to their meeting with Hungary in the 1952 Olympic championship match. 

Date
Venue
Type of Match
Opponent
Goal For
Goal A.
Opp. World Rank 
12.11.1949
Neutral
World Cup qualif.
France
3
2
No. 20
5.28.1950
Home
friendly
Denmark
5
1
No. 19
6.11.1950
Away
friendly
Switzerland
4
0
No. 23
6.25.1950
Neutral
1950 World Cup
Switzerland
3
0
No. 24
6.29.1950
Neutral
1950 World Cup
Mexico
4
1
No. 14
7.1.1950
Neutral
1950 World Cup
Brazil
0
2
No. 4
9.3.1950
Away
friendly
Sweden
2
1
No. 5
9.7.1950
Away
friendly
Finland
2
3
No. 81
9.10.1950
Away
friendly
Denmark
4
1
No. 19
10.8.1950
Away
friendly
Austria
2
7
No. 14
11.5.1950
Home
friendly
Norway
4
0
No. 42
11.22.1950
Away
friendly
England
2
2
No. 4
2.6.1951
Away
friendly
France
1
2
No. 24
5.6.1951
Away
friendly
Italy
0
0
No. 3
6.24.1951
Home
friendly
Switzerland
7
3
No. 23
8.23.1951
Away
friendly
Norway
4
2
No. 41
9.2.1951
Home
friendly
Sweden
2
1
No. 7
6.25.1952
Home
friendly
Norway
4
1
No. 38
7.15.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympics Games
India
10
1
No. 49
7.20.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympics
Soviet Union
5
5
No. 26
7.22.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympics
Soviet Union
3
1
No. 26
7.25.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympics
Denmark
5
3
No. 20
7.29.1952
Neutral
1952 Olympics
West Germany
3
1
n/a
Ave: Goals Scored | Goals Against | Strength of Opposition in 23 matches (16 victories, 3 draws, 4 losses)
Winning Percentage: 76.09 % /  Undefeated Percentage: 82.61 %
in equiv. top-tier professional elite American football, 16-4 (34.3 points/game)
3.43 gls/gm
1.74 gl/gm
average:
No. 23.9

Supreme striker Sándor Kocsis going upfield against the Yugoslavs in a hard and skillful match in front of the largest audience ever to see a football game
in Finland.

     Placed before them in the championship Final in Helsinki Olympic Stadium were the world's No. 5 team — their neighbors to the south, with whom good relations foundered on ideological political fault lines.  This kindred neighboring power, Yugoslavia, under the Marshal Josip Tito had taken a more moderate course and had maneuvered into a traditional position that was largely unrelated to the politics of Moscow, and Tito as politician was not very committed as a fledged partisan of the old Soviet dictator Stalin.
     Intensively practiced in the surest material of the game, the 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960 Olympic Finalist Yugoslavia was clearly a strong force making toward an emerging tier-one European footballing power rivaling the great Hungarians to the north.  During this period Yugoslavian football evoked a strong sense of place among Europe's stalwarts with a well-coordinated, stout attacking genre.  This resurgent offensive team had successfully assailed Sweden in September of 1950 with a 2-1 win in Stockholm and nearly brought down England's footballing empire in London on November 11 with a hard-fought 2-2 match.  In the spring of 1951, they met the world's number-three in Milan and had battled the Italian side in their prime to a scoreless tie.  Getting past West Germany 3-1 in the Olympic semifinal will bring Yugoslavia into the presence of a team unlike any other of recent times, a scintillating side far more definitive that averaged 4.57 goals/game and conceded 1.2 goals/game while mastering 24 wins and 3 ties in thirty previous matches.
     

     With the stakes so high, everyone could feel the unimpeachable sense of destiny of two high-scoring irrepressible tides and competent strides about to clash, the winner to demonstrate a new-found power as a footballing lodestar in Europe, the game's meaning all the more inspired and informed by the intersection of politics and sport.  Prior to his travel to the games, the communist dictator Mátyás Rákosi phoned up the national coach himself to say that losing in the final would not be tolerated by the authorities.
     Of the many foreign correspondents writing of the tournament was a young Spanish reporter who wrote about the success of the Hungarian footballers at the 1952 Olympics. He was no less a person that Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was then a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper La Prensa.  Samaranch was later to become one of the century's most recognizable public spirits who cut a grandiose figure in the Olympic movement as the future President of the International Olympic Committee (1980–2001).
     The Olympic gold medal game against the Yugoslavs was a hard and rough affair and spiritedly played, the outcome balanced on palpable tension for much of the game with 60,000 Finnish fans supporting the Hungarian athletes to the finish.  Puskás missed from the penalty spot, but Yugoslav players struggled through Hungary's set of defensemen directly within Grosics' province and can find no edge.  Braced in the beams by a tenacious, acquisitive and tireless defense, each man hits his place and Yugoslav players begin to feel the puzzle of puzzles and are reached at by what never tires, an adhesive Magyar defense that does not give out. 

     Parity was broken in the 70th minute when the Yugoslav backline was penetrated by Puskás, who muscled past a defender to seize a long rebounding ball, stiff-armed and defeated the last hot pursuing defender, dodged the sprawling goalkeeper who could not extended to the racing ball, the famous Beara, and neatly tucked a short grounder past two desperately onsetting defenders in front of an empty goal. Hungary  1 :Yugoslavia (Puskás 70') 

    The inimitably quick Zoltán Czibor broke off from a tangent and direct action at flank with a long supportive volley at the 88th minute that sailed inside the right post as they go towards the best, toward something great and sent a new, great commanding team among the elite. Hungary  :Yugoslavia (Puskás 70', Czibor 88') 

Taking a podium stand in first place, the effervescent Puskás.

         Puskás took the podium stand with joyful acceptance, proud that his class had graduated to the pinnacle of Olympian acclaim.  In the ceremonies on the field, the gold medaling footballers were congenially greeted and given flowers by the lovely Finnish Armi Kuusela, who months before became the world’s first to hold the title of Miss Universe that she won in the United States.  

Name:  FB_IMG_1516820553495.jpg Views: 27 Size:  35.8 KB

         

The greatest national team to ever enter and win the Olympics tournament, 1952 Hungary.  Afterwards the celebrated eleven became known as the 'Golden Team' in Hungary.

     Defeating Sweden 6-0 and Yugoslavia 2-0 and scoring 20 goals and conceding only two during the whole tournament are among the grander monuments for Puskás and his teammates.  Hungary’s 2-0 Olympic victory signaled a rise from a continental to that of a world power and its reveille had been sounded.  The sobriquet ‘The Golden Squad' first became a popular term of endearment back in Hungary and they paraded down Budapest's grand boulevards turning out handsomely in well-dressed sartorial elegance at the head of the victorious homecoming Olympic squad in front of hundreds of thousands and became the property of the sweet city and nation as prominent citizens.  In the summer Olympics, up to the present, Hungary has been the great representative of footballing success, winning three Olympics gold medals (1952, 1964, 1968) and managed a second-place silver in 1972, and a third place in 1960.

     The triumph of the team on a patch of green grass where joyous life and great freedom flourished to imitate art, unfettered from sobering realities that affected the masses, was a subset of a remarkable larger than life journey that pushed the limits of human possibilities.  The influence of Hungary at the 1952 summer Olympics, in proportion to its population, is quite astonishing.  The memorable games provided a brief and reliable uplifting interlude of joy and pride for a resilient nation of just over 9 and a half million seven years apart from the devastation and displacement of World War II before passing into the orbit of a communist police state and into a highly restrictive society.

     It was during these games that Hungary compiled an amazing Olympic record to manage finishing third in the medals table behind the vastly more prodigious United States and the Soviet Union, earning 16 gold medals along with way with a total count of 42 of all colors.  Nothing testified more convincingly to the values cherished by the Hungarian communists and the special importance the Hungarian regime was willing to attach to a full commitment of sporting excellence for the political capital it would confer and made to be a part of the consciousness of Hungarian citizens, young and old, and considered an element of unity and prestige representing the people and accommodated to the purposes of political power.

 

A celebrated and famous marriage of aquatic
Hall of Famers: Éva Székely (gold medal at
1952 100 meter breakstroke, a silver medal
at the same event in the 1956 Olympics) and
husband Dezs┼Ĺ Gyarmati, the greatest water
poloplayer who ever lived (three Olympic
gold medals - 1952, 1956, 1964, a silver
medal in 1948, and a bronze in 1960).

     Running in parallel with performances on the football field, another sporting force from Hungary again produced glowing recognition, Hungary's water polo team earned gold medal honors in Helsinki — a team that is still regarded in the world as the unsurpassed touchstone. Begun in 1928 at the Amsterdam Olympics and up to the 1952 Olympics, Hungary had managed to win three gold medals along with two silvers the previous five Olympiads.

     The team that traveled to Melbourne Australia in December of 1956, three weeks after the Soviets' re-seizure of power over Hungary after the 1956 Revolt that ended the glory of the freedom fight, wherein Puskás, Kocsis, Czibor defected to the West to inhabit an anti-communist Western world in Spain, is thought of still as the most famous and best ever team of them all. They played a Soviet Union team in the semifinal on December 6th in an infamously densely tense and piercing match memorialized by the press as the "Blood in the Water Match" where an aggrieved and physically accosted Hungarian team gained worldwide support and sympathy and went onto to win 4-0.  The next day on the 7th of December, they played a Yugoslavia team for the gold medal and won 2-1 and Hungarian water polo were enshrined as the greatest ever, an event which was later made into a moving picture.



The Inclusion of No. 9 Nándor Hidegkuti

 
     Great as Puskás and Kocsis are said to be, the national side was far better than it was often assumed because the team, like anything great and elaborate, had an extra content to better seize every mode of play in advance of their competitors — a remarkable scoring motion man who makes a lot of difference, Nándor Hidegkuti, who helped the team to fame. 
     He fulfilled many forays and was a solid compelling figure, the best backer of the legended line established at a superb center who favors scoring and playmaking the same.  Since he was an astute navigator he frequently could (with 39 goals in 69 appearances) and sent to the team another impeccable member able and famous.  He later became a regular enfranchised player of the Golden Team and the century's 2nd winning-est national player after Sándor Kocsis of those that scored 35 goals or more.  With the great scoring rondure of Puskás-Kocsis upfront and a self-directing third arrow unpinioned in Hidegkuti the team had become inestimably enhanced that throbs the live sensational game. 

       One of the greatest contributions of the Golden Team had been their campaigning with a prototype player that would lead the path to a tactical furthering— the decoying withdrawn center-forward.  In the midst of the highly versatile model Sebes added a new centerpiece feature player installed in the profession ten meters back of Puskás and Kocsis for new sovereign and far-reaching ends.

       Of a different mold but similarly influential, Sebes introduces a sharp-witted Nándor Hidegkuti as a free-floating scoring player back of Puskás and Kocsis as the magnetic man of action who engineered on defenses to marvelously strip out a defender or two and disunite the stern posture of accustomed defenses.  This something subtle nuance of moving Hidegkuti back of the redoubtable inside pairing drew a natural tendency from the center-forward's (usually the team's No. 9 player) responsible defenders thus creating new field to open into which the interior moving Puskás and Kocsis availed of in less confined spaces.

     The cunning Hidegkuti was thus the controlling presence at mid-to-high center that lured off the traditional fullbacks covering the goalkeeper as the just-invented the withdrawn center-forward (the false No. 9 position) wound in and out to put in his parsing expeditions to score with timing and feeling as Hidegkuti held the prelude and the key to let Puskás and Kocsis in the breakthrough.  The allurement of rigidly marking the very good scoring free-ranging Hidegkuti caused an immediate unease and displacement in tactically ill-informed backlines and all defenses open to the skills of Puskás and Kocsis and the wingers.         

     The place is the Wankdorf Stadium in Switzerland, the time is the summer of 1952, the terms re-gained as Nándor Hidegkuti added, completed and extended the main line.

     Right after the Olympics were won, Hungary played Switzerland in the ongoing Central European International Cup in a match that was to decide the definable essence of the upfront group and kept the old firm of Puskás-Kocsis-Hidegkuti on an elegant plan for four more years.  This international tournament was historically the first between European sides (a forerunner to the European Championship established in 1960) which was a regional playoff with home and away legs between Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

      Since its creation in 1927 Hungary had never won the title, but equipped at last, the 1948-1953 tournament had a fine side presented in it in the newly minted 'Golden Team' who scaled down the tough opposition in the Cup's 1948-1953 reiteration with Puskás being the leading scorer.  Manager Sebes had principally used Péter Palotás from MTK in the just-invented withdrawn center-forward position during the Olympics who got along well enough to win his way into the lineup against the Swiss, but one of their changes vivified their game that put them through a yet-record 49-month unbeaten reign. 

     Early on the Swiss were doing things well and within eleven minutes were two goals to the good that presented cause for concern for Sebes.  Sebes was seeking the right answer to keep off a worsening 0-2 score and needed a sparking that was equal to the challenge. With victory wavering, in Palotás' stead came Hidegkuti's insertion in the thirty-first minute in a hopeful bid to see how things compose with Hidegkuti.  Mere minutes later, Sebes seemed to be looking at a pleasanter world, a new prosperity that greatly impressed him — it an all the more completely sounder handle on the game where Sebes had seen something of the extraordinary concert moment: "The transformation was amazing. He seemed to complement the partnership between Puskás and Kocsis perfectly, and beautiful passes began to flow among them. Before half-time, Hidegkuti laid two goals on for Puskás and we were on level terms."

     With the eyes of a familiar compound player more clearly explaining the team the Hungarian players press on with the 0-2 shortfall about them, but the enlivening converse Puskás, Kocsis and Hidegkuti had with the ball opened up the quick wires of know-how with the team cutting inspired across the field to build a remembered comeback.  Their teamwork revealed a true connection that did not take long for it to become effervescent, breaking towards that display of sharpened sallies of attacking football that wrought out the frustrating puzzle.

Hungary : 2 Switzerland (Puskás 36', 45', Kocsis '56, Higegkuti 74')

    This last effort of Hidegkuti had a certain ease about it, honing down the storm to fill out the implied harmonies and the players reacted with original concord energy that weld a four-year prodigal fellowship.  By setting up Hidegkuti, he connected with Puskás who added matching goals at the 36th and 45th minutes just before the break and Sándor Kocsis put them ahead in the 56th minute.  Moreover, a Hidegkuti extra goal in the 74th minute impressively marked the revival with the final score 4-2.  In the rebounding event, Sebes had re-taken the favor to the thirty-year old player (nicknamed 'the Old Man') Hidegkuti and to this future of Puskás-Kocsis-Hidegkuti Sebes confides his main forward line and have Hidegkuti address the new false No. 9 position.  Ostensibly, the standing three would essentially define the interior alpha to omega of what was possible at the attack point marshaling a ponderous flood of works around the goal area, each one pretty as the next.



1948-1953 Central European Championship Final

The 1938 Hungarian team that went to the 1938 World Cup Final coached by Károly Dietz, with Dr. Béla Usetty being FA President, was one of the world's premier teams of the 1930s.  Hungary entered the 1938 World Cup final in Paris averaging a goal difference of 4.00 goals per game, the 2nd highest all-time in World Cup history.  

       Between the two world wars seventy-eight Hungarian experts, coaches and professionals began working in the Italian league that many many considered ' missionaries '.  With a firming up of new training formulations and new standards, the sport in Italy was brought to a center of excellence.   There was a preference in Italy to naturalize a game marked by masterly economy of impressive depth that evoked unquestioned masterpieces in the 1930s.  The happenings of that decade reflected the move towards conservative, foiling designs that was meant to exhaust other teams and one of their key innovations had been in modeling a complicated backline that was intended to prevent goals using the Metodo system.


The magnificent official inaugural of the Stadio Olimpico in the Eternal City, Rome
in May 1953.  To christen the athletics, the Mighty Magyars were there to play the
strongest defense in the world in Europe's Championship decider.

     The most thoroughgoing and influential of teams in the 1930s, Italy climbed those most famous mountain-heights of the world, grandly filling tournaments with a compact, well-joined scheme and their success was saluted by winning two World Cup titles in 1934 (where Czechoslovakia was defeated 2-1) and 1938 (where Hungary was defeated 4-2 in Paris) and a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Germany with a heroic and athletic football sporting mantle famous in pre-war Europe.  By the end of the decade, Italian football had been transformed into a real force and the guidelines that were to support it in succeeding decades had already been laid down. The long shadow cast by admirable national Italian teams influenced many attitudes of how to rightly play the international game tangibly with a physical scope that was broad and active and tougher than anything.  With a more careful interest in defense, they defeat purely on a resolutely spending prim team admirable and sure that covets nothing that swallows all designs. 
     

       Europe's two-time titleholders bestrode the world with one of the world's top defenses one could meet and indelibly illustrated a case in point those championships hinged on defensive bedrock that could halter everyone.  Apart a single notable defeat to England in 1948 in Turin, the Azzurri had not competitively suffered a home loss since days of Benito Mussolini since 1934 — never allowing more than two goals into their net in 36 home internationals.  Italian teams were carried along by a renowned impetuous which was both rich and strong.  Rome was their footballing castle built on constructive power and Italian players kept adding new wings to it all the time to clinch their domain as the foremost team in Europe to win for itself a place second only to that of the English.  Hungary voyaged towards the Italian capital and toward a welcoming foreign ambiance to play in the inaugural of Italy's newly re-designed famous Stadio Olimpico that loomed as Italy's new magnificent basilica of football and the Continent's hardest football company is there who had foreign teams unmanned on their chastened complicated team.



The Italy National Team at Home from January 1931 to May 1953 

Date
Type
Nation
Goals For
GA
Opp. World Rank
1.
1.25.1931
friendly
France
5
0
No. 36
2.
2.22.1931
Gero Intl. Cup
Austria
2
1
No. 6
3.
5.20.1931
friendly
Scotland
3
0
No. 4
4.
11.15.1931
Gero Intl. Cup
Czechoslovakia
2
2
No. 8
5.
12.13.1931
Gero Intl. Cup
Hungary
3
2
No. 10
6.
2.14.1932
Gero Int. Cup
Switzerland
3
0
No. 43
7.
11.27.1932
friendly
Hungary
4
2
No. 11
8.
1.1.1931
friendly
Germany
3
1
No. 13
9.
5.07.1933
Gero Intl. Cup
Czechoslovakia
2
0
No. 9
10.
5.13.1933
friendly
England
1
1
No. 5
11.
12.3.1933
Gero Intl. Cup
Switzerland
5
2
No. 33
12.
2.11.1934
Gero Intl. Cup
Austria (' Wunderteam ')
2
4
No. 3
13.
3.25.1934
World Cup qual.
Greece
4
0
No. 58
14.
5.27.1934
1934 World Cup
United States
7
1
No. 13
15.
5.31.1934
1934 World Cup
Spain (Plays legendary Spanish goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora to a draw.)
1
1
No. 5
16.
6.01.1934
1934 World Cup
Spain
1
0
No. 3
17.
6.03.1934
1934 World Cup SF
Austria (' Wunderteam ')
1
0
No. 1
18.
6.10.1934
1934 World Cup F
Czechoslovakia (Italy wins 1934 World Cup on home soil.)
2
1
No. 7
19.
12.09.1934
friendly
Hungary
4
2
No. 8
20.
2.17.1935
friendly
France
2
1
No. 33
21.
11.24.1935
Gero Intl. Cup
Hungary
2
2
No. 9
22.
5.17.1936
friendly
Austria
2
2
No. 9
23.
12.13.1936
friendly
Czechoslovakia
2
0
No. 5
24.
4.25.1937
Gero Intl. Cup
Hungary
2
0
No. 10
25.
5.15.1938
friendly
Belgium
6
1
No. 41
26.
5.22.1938
friendly
Yugoslavia
4
0
No. 23
27.
11.20.1938
friendly
Switzerland
2
0
No. 21
28.
12.04.1938
friendly
France
1
0
No. 33
29.
3.26.1939
friendly
Germany
3
2
No. 15
30.
5.13.1939
friendly
England
2
2
No. 5
31.
3.03.1940
friendly
Switzerland
1
1
No. 16
32.
4.14.1940
friendly
Romania
2
1
No. 38
33.
5.05.1940
friendly
Germany
3
2
No. 13
34.
12.01.1940
friendly
Hungary
1
1
No. 9
35.
4.05.1942
friendly
Croatia
4
0
No. 11
36.
4.19.1942
friendly
Spain
4
0
No. 4
37.
12.01.1946
friendly
Austria
3
2
No. 16
38.
4.27.1947
friendly
Switzerland
5
2
No. 18
39.
5.11.1947
friendly
Hungary (Puskás scores 1 goal in his 7th cap, Romeo Menti scores winner in 90th minute.)
3
2
No. 7
40.
12.04.1947
friendly
Czechoslovakia
3
1
No. 12
41.
5.16.1948
friendly
England (England's most famous postwar win inspired by Tom Finney.)
0
4
No. 3
42.
2.27.1949
friendly
Portugal
4
1
No. 26
43.
5.22.1949
Gero Intl. Cup
Austria
3
1
No. 18
44.
3.05.1950
friendly
Belgium
3
1
No. 35
45.
5.06.1951
friendly
Yugoslavia
0
0
No. 12
46.
6.03.1951
friendly
France
4
1
No. 25
47.
11.11.1951
friendly
Sweden
1
1
No. 13
48.
5.18.1952
friendly
England
1
1
No. 4
49.
12.28.1952
Gero Intl. Cup
Switzerland
2
0
No. 23
Strength of Opposition in 49 matches (36 victories, 11 draws, 2 losses)
Winning Percentage: 84.69 % /
 Undefeated Percentage: 95.91 %
in equiv. top-tier professional elite American football, 36-2 (26.5 points/game)
2.65 glsgm
1.06 gls/gm
No. 15.99

 

Rome's famous Stadio Olimpico inaugural, May 17, 1953.

      The summer of 1953 saw general elections happening in Italy that marked a sizable political rise by the Italian Communist Party and understandably nowhere was the political campaigning more plainly witnessed than in the capital city Rome.  The train that the Hungarians boarded for their journey arrived at the Termini railway station where affairs were conspicuously displayed in the station with uplifting anti-communist propaganda pavilions fashioned for crowds, passersby and travelers to behold as a guide to the better life.  According to Mr. György Szepesi, the famous Hungarian journalist who broadcast the wonders of the team for his country on radio, once the Hungarians appeared with Puskás at the helm they drew the attention of a crowd of Italians who fraternized with the visiting heralded Olympic champions.  After passing the Italian frontier, Italian railworkers on finding who were lodged in the caboose, beckoned to show off their new train engine and behold the gregarious Puskás piloting it down the track with a lively sense of winning mirth.

A celebratory scene, a score against the vaunted Azzurri.

      A huge Roman audience over 90,000 came to see what finally befalls and has always finally befallen many very good visiting teams. Immense in passion, pride at the frontier power sweeping the present to the future based on the ancient pinnacle of unfaultering balance and powerful defense Romans announced their beloved team on savored defensive scoring parsimony.

    Italy, the yet unrivaled one, the team of teams, would face a marvelous attacking presence as the Magical Magyars came at last into the big football clash in prosperous form proceeding in a kind of mosaic advance and new real vision game.  It would bring the game's two prototypes face to face: the original makers of giant teams who enjoyed a taxing game dwelling resolutely at home and the feats performed by the world's best forward line that flowed with easy freedom belying tactical guile—the irresistible, of the new and good names from the Olympics to march against Europe's old guard.

       With staves of hard running and a day's strong work comprising of a passing repartee, speed, power and technique, the Magical Magyars so sedulously won over the indefinable hard Azzurri defense that befell every visitor with a dulling inertia.  Before the break the élan of the Hungarian front gainfully unfastened the rigors of the Azzurri defense by a dialogue of passing from midfield in line with Sebes' advice to coax out the main Italian line to the rewardingly cast deep ball.  In the 41st minute Nándor Hidegkuti raced straight into the left side of the penalty area, took the ball away and plowed into it for the first goal.  Hungary  1 :Italy ( Hidegkuti 41' )

      In the 63rd minute, a Sándor Kocsis headed ball found Puskás just above the left corner of the six-yard box who firmed up the ball as three defenders scrambled to button down aisles open to Puskás.  Initially Puskás deftly cut inside thereby dodging the first defender who brushed past him, and in a flash volleyed home the ball from a tight angle between four softly tumbling legs from the corner for their second score to mingled cheer and applause.  Hungary  :Italy ( Hidegkuti 41', Puskás 63' )
     
     The winger Lászlo Budai got a bouncy pass from Puskás and took possession outside the penalty box on the right, and then played it inside to Péter Palotás.  Palotás then skips the ball to Puskás who took up a spot in the penalty arc.  A sallying defender from the interior was given a charming cajoling sidestep move by Puskás' cut inside and he slid to the turf raising a cloud of dust and grass.  Now Puskás has precious few moments and a tight window open to him before a second defender to his right could reach the ball.  In one swift go of it, Puskás drives the ball in a telling straight line from just inside the penalty box past the unbelief of keeper Lucidio Sentimenti and the great prize, a European championship, they see issues at last.  They were now a long waked giant team.   
Hungary 3 : 0 Italy ( Hidegkuti 41', Puskás 63', 68' ) 

     To cap it all, so irrepressible was Puskás not only to win but that also while leading 2-0 late in the game he was still shouting his team to speed in the rush of a successful charge for continued attacks and for keeper Gyula Grosics to give him the ball at every opportunity.  Puskás' exhortations has to many ears a thoroughly fantastic sound who has again done something aptly famous.  His attitude delighted Italian fans and respectful ovation descended on the Hungarian heroes who were cheered off the field as victors of the five year long tournament. The Italian press was full of praise the day following and described the Hungarian team as the best in the world.  Nominated a few months after this game, the very consistent and successful Hungarian coach, Lajos Czeizler, was put in charge of leading Italy at the 1954 World Cup.