World Cup History – Switzerland 1954
May 1, 2010
The 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland will long be remembered as a tournament packed with goals, with an incredible average of over five goals per game.
That was great for the spectators, but coaches must have been tearing their hair out, with the goals rush led by the seemingly invincible Hungarians, who looked odds on for the title before a surprise 3-2 defeat at the hands of West Germany in the final.
Indeed, the Germans were one of the Hungarians early victims, having been thrashed 8-3 in their first-round encounter.
Hungary also beat South Korea 9-0, before a pair of 4-2 wins over Brazil and Uruguay put them in the final.
Top-scorer at the tournament was not surprisingly a Hungarian, Sándor Kocsis, a prolific striker who scored an incredible 75 goals in just 68 games for his country between 1948 and 1956.
He was the first player to score two hat-tricks at the finals, through that has since been matched by Just Fontaine (France, 1958), Gerd Müller (West Germany, 1970), and Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina, 1994 and 1998).
He also jointly holds the record for the most games in a row in which he scored two goals (four). Kocsis died at the age of 49 in what many says was a suicide as he fell to his death after hearing that he was terminally ill with cancer.
He scored 11 goals in all in 1954, including three against the South Koreans and four against West Germany in the group game. He followed that up with two against the Brazilians in the quarterfinals and two in extra time against the Uruguayans in the semifinals. The only game he didn't score in was the final.
Not surprisingly in a tournament packed with so many goals, there were a number of other hat-tricks.
Max Morlock scored three in West Germany's 7-2 win over Turkey in the group stages, while Carlos Borges did likewise in a 7-0 win for Uruguay over Scotland.
Erich Probst also got three as Austria defeated Czechoslovakia 5-0, as did his compatriot Theodor Wagner in the epic 7-5 quarterfinal win over Switzerland, for whom Josef Hügi scored a hat-trick as well.
Hungary must have throught they had the title wrapped-up inside the first eight minutes of the final against West Germany as they raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from the legendary Ferenc Puskás and Zoltán Czibor, but the Germans hit back almost immedaitely through Morlock.
A brace from Helmut Rahn then put the Germans in control of the game and they held on for the win, leaving Hungary without a World Cup trophy, despite their dominance of the European football scene through the 1930s and 1950s.
Final: Hungary 2 (Puskás 6, Czibor 8) West Germany 3 (Morlock 10, Rahn 18, 84)
Top goalscorer: Sándor Kocsis (Hungary) 8 goals
Matches played: 26
Goals scored: 140 (5.38 per match)
Attendance: 889 500 (34 212 per match)