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Column #14

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-09-20 01:20:36


Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
When I wrote specifically about the level of British football before the First World War with the level of continental football, mainly about Central Europe, I wanted to imply that, in fact, there is a tendency for teams from the British Isles to be considered above teams from Central Europe — and this is an opinion almost completely shared by the main continental authorities.
However, it is good to mention that the determination of levels is not so synthetic, as there are several aspects that must be compared on each territory. As staggering as the British teams' victories were, there were players on the Central European teams capable of playing on British soil and standing out there. As well as several continental players received offers to play on British soil and start in their respective positions.
Yes, in fact, the vast majority of the results are spectacular routs by the British, but history shows another aspect, one that took place in 1953 and 1954.
When Hungary beat England 6:3 at Wembley and then 7:1 at Népstadion, many said that Hungarian football was the most powerful in the world — which indeed it was. However, England had players considered to be some of the best in the world, with some players who could be in any top and others who were considered the best players in action, as is the case of Billy Wright, Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen and Tom Finney, for example.
Billy Wright was a defensively versatile player, able to play both as a stopper and a modern half-back. Wasn't Billy Wright much more of a player than half-back József Zakariás or stopper Gyula Lóránt? Of course, yes. Wasn't Tom Finney better than Zoltán Czibor? Absolutely. Wasn't Stanley Matthews better than Lázsló Budai? No comments.
Something similar happened with the results against the teams of the beginnings of Central Europe. There are so many factors that could be cited to explain such a thing, from the style of play to the pitch itself and the weight of the ball – which was something very different from the continent to the British Isles.
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