Sunday, November 21, 2010

Matches of the Century: England Hungary Friendly

22 November 1953
Wembley Stadium
Attendance: 105,000
Referee: Leo Horn (Netherlands)
Hungary 1ere Nándor Hidegkuti 0-1, 20eme Nándor Hidegkuti 1-2, 24eme Ferenc Puskás 1-3, 27eme Ferenc Puskás 1-4, 50eme József Bozsik 2-5, 53eme Nándor Hidegkuti 2-6
England 13eme Jackie Sewell 1-1, 38eme Stanley Mortensen 2-4, 57eme Alf Ramsey 3-6
England Merrick - Alf Ramsey, Eckersley - Billy Wright, Johnston, Dickinson - Stanley Matthews, Taylor, Mortensen, Sewell,Robb - Coach Walter Winterbottom
Hungary Grosics Gellér (76eme) - Buzánszky, Lantos - Bozsik Lóránt, Zakariás- Budai, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Puskás, Czibor (Coach Gusztáv Sebes)

England had never lost at Wembley to overseas opposition ? until the Mighty Magyars came to town ? and this was expected to be another routine victory for Walter Winterbottom's men. But his side were outplayed by a Hungary side whose potent mix of tactical trickery, short and long passing and superb technique left the 100,000 fans shell-shocked. Tom Finney, watching from the stands after being dropped, said: "I came away wondering what we had been doing all those years."

During this era, Hungary was composed of six world-class players; a team creation of the Deputy Sports Minister Gusztáv Sebes in an endeavor to further collective sporting excellence in communist Hungary. Innovations included an approximation towards a precursor to "Total Football" many years ahead of the Dutch 360-degree strategy and the advent of the crucially important "playmaker" station, that resulted in the famed Hungarian W-attack with three forwards (one a deep-lying striker) and two slightly receding wings. The Hungarian team was unbeaten since May 1950 and dominated the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

A match was arranged later that November in 1953 that would have game-changing implications to prevail upon old insular normative beliefs to inspire football theory onward. It would precipitate a re-shaping of new core footballing ideas and displace minimally for half a generation football's centre of gravity; to occur was a immense collision between football's contemporary masters — the Magical Magyars and the venerable aristocrats of the game.
The English had invented the modern game in last half of the 19th Century. Its first laws and rules patented by a solicitor by trade Ebenezer Cobb Morley, and soon grew immensely popular across all spectrum of society due to its simple rules and minimal equipment requirements, being globalized as the world's most popular association sport in the last decade of the 19th century and early 20th centuries.

Since the codification of football in 1863 in Victorian England, the English national team had never suffered defeat on its home shores from foreign opposition from outside the British Isles, and their successful tradition had been penultimate and globally decisive. The old producers of football had turned aside every effort in 90 years to overcome the mightiest team of them all. This proud long reign of invincibility knit to semi-mythology was legendary, embedded into socio-national consciousness and ethos as a redoubt and post to which Englishmen could view with surety and confidence in spite of all forecasts, vicissitudes and the ever-changing times. Gorgeous, wonderful, and victorious English football possessed a feel of unbeatable quality and romantic neo-imperial Victorian inheritance with a direct unbroken connection to the palmiest days of the British Empire.

The British press, in building out the game that lay ahead, galvanized worldwide radio and newsprint audiences naming it the "Match of the Century", and a visit towards both teams' theoretical power, the media's remark of the match taking on world significance as "the world championship decider" — was a very becoming view considering the acme strength of both nations. England was ranked No. 3 in the world with a rating of 1943 points or the No. 2 best team in the Old World (Argentina  being ranked No. 2 with 2048 points), Hungary was ranked No. 1 with a rating of 2050* points. The anxiously promising match was ever England's sternest challenge to stem a gathering juggernaut from across the Channel from behind the Iron Curtain  that had remained unbeaten for over three and a half years — and in deference to a remarkable tradition, un-trampled power in Europe and treasured home record England would have its place in the sun again as the highly approved side. (wikipedia)

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