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Bensemann, 1923: The Hungarian class vs. Switzerland
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-03-14 17:44:36
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
— Walther Bensemann | 12/03/1923 —
If the readers of Kicker thought that I was going to pick apart the two teams and give my opinion of each of them, they will be wrong. In the context of today's national team competition, teams can only be evaluated as a whole, and it would have been a mistake to take the workings of the selection committee or individual performance as the starting point for my criticism. I must say that, in general, I have not seen a national team or a club team (including Sparta and Celtic) play like the Hungarians after the break since 1914.
The manner and art with which Orth, whom I had often seen play, but never had a great opinion of, led his forward line on this occasion, reminded me of the days of G. O. Smith (England's best centre-forward of all time.) and the best days of Corinthians. It is often said about a team that it is a shame that one part is not as good as the other. Well, I could have said the opposite on Sunday.
The Hungarian team was like a myriad of gloriously complementary parts, and it is impossible to single out just one of them. They put on a magnificently thought-out game, full of subtleties, which would have made any continental team, and even the Corinthians, surrender today. They were everywhere and this is best expressed by the question a Swiss girl sitting next to me asked her father:
— Tell me, Papa, why do so many Hungarians play here and so few Swiss?
This little girl, in her naive way, solved the mystery: there was a total difference in class between the two teams.
The Swiss did not play badly and did not fail. I don't think they could have done the job better today with Schmiedlin or Mayer at centre-half and Berger at goalkeeper, or Osterwalder at right-half. The Hungarian team as a whole was so perfect that 11 average European players could not have done anything against them and the next team:
Stuhlfauth (Nürnberg) — Bark (Nürnberg), Blum (Wien) — Hagen (Fürth), Káďa (Sparta), Kurz (Wien) — Wunderlich, Franz (Fürth), Cevenini (Genoa), Alcántara (Barcelona), Cutti (Wien) would have suffered at least a 3:0 defeat at the hands of the Hungarians today.
The Hungarians deserved the high victory not only with their perfect technique, but also with their overall play and the compassion of their ranks. Cérésole is a good goalkeeper, Bouvier and Fehlmann are two tried and tested defenders, and the cover line, in which Fässler was the first player, cannot be said to be bad either, so that was not the problem. Only the Swiss forward line could not show their usual all-round play this time, as they always "played it cold".
In the end, what we saw on Sunday was football in its classic beauty, such as I have not seen since I left England in 1914, and which, if played like this everywhere, would win the sport many, many admirers.
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