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FIFA World Cup History

Switzerland 1954 FIFA World Cup

1954 World Cup Betting

Year:1954

Participants: 16

Countries: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, West Germany, Yugoslavia

Championship: West Germany 3, Hungary 2

Top goal scorer: Sandor Kocsis, Hungary (11)

The fifth World Cup is memorable for a number of reasons. It was the highest-scoring Cup ever, as 16 teams scored a total of 140 goals in 26 games, for an average of 5.38 per match. The 1954 final also featured one of the greatest comebacks of all time, as surprising West Germany shut down the Hungarian machine.

The finals were held in Switzerland, a country that had remained neutral during World War II and thus had not been as adversely affected by the conflict. A record number of countries -- 38 -- registered with FIFA. Egypt, Japan, Korea and China were the newcomers, while Argentina and the Soviet Union chose not to participate.

The 1954 World Cup was criticized because the organizing committee elected to go with two top seeds in each group for the first pool round, which meant the top teams did not face each other until the quarterfinals. Another drawback was that 26 games had to be played in 19 days. The system was never used again.

Despite all the challenges, the Hungarians -- winners of the gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and undefeated in 28 consecutive international matches -- were heavily favored. Hungary opened play by routing South Korea 9-0, setting up a match with West Germany. German coach Sepp Herberger realized a loss to Hungary in the opener meant his team would avoid facing powerful Brazil in the quarterfinals. So, after a 4-1 win over Turkey, Herberger toyed with his lineup, hoping to save his best players for later, and Germany lost 8-3. He went back to his regulars in the rematch with Turkey, and the West Germans prevailed again, 7-2.

The quarterfinal games saw some of the highest scores and roughest games in Cup history. Austria and Switzerland produced 12 goals -- a Cup record -- as the Austrians held on for a 7-5 win. Hungary's 4-2 victory over Brazil become known as the battle of Berne. A very physical contest, the game saw Brazilian Nilton Santos and Hungary's Jozsef Bozsik disqualified for fighting. The battle between the two teams even continued after the final whistle had been called. Some accounts had the Brazilians attacking the Hungarians in the tunnel.

Germany took care of Austria 6-1 in one semifinal, while Hungary rallied to beat Uruguay in extra time, 4-2, in the other -- setting up a rematch of the first-round game. This time, however, the West Germans went with their best lineup.

Hungary's Frenec Puskas, injured in the opener, returned for the final and led his team to a 2-0 lead in the opening eight minutes. Max Morlock's goal cut the lead in half in the 10th minute and Helmut Rahn tied it in the 18th minute.

The game remained deadlocked until the 84th, when Rahn struck again. Hungary appeared to tie it again on a Puskas goal with two minutes remaining, but linesman Mervyn Griffiths of Wales ruled it was offside. Germany prevailed 3-2, claiming the World Cup championship and handing the Hungarians their first loss since 1950.

Two years after the World Cup, the Hungarian Revolution broke out and all the country's great players left to play elsewhere.

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