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Gusztáv Sebes: FIFA World Cup 1954, Final

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-09-27 22:43:56

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
— Gusztáv Sebes | 1955 —

Despite the bad weather, sixty-five thousand spectators gathered in Bern to witness the big match in the final of the fifth World Cup.
The two teams lined up at the whistle of referee Ling:
West Germany: Turek — Posipal, Liebrich, Kohlmayer — Eckel, Mai — Rahn, Morlock, O. Walter, F. Walter, Schäffer. Hungary: Grosics — Buzánszky, Lóránt, Lantos — Bozsik, Zakariás — Czibor, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Puskás, Tóth M.
On a difficult, muddy, slippery pitch we got on our feet first and after some nice attacks we took a 2:0 lead in the first minutes. But the quick success took its revenge. A seemingly artless attack was launched by the West German left winger. Zakariás could have intercepted the cross, but he was timid to slip the ball home to Grosics, who was standing there waiting for the ball. Morlock ran onto the ball with great momentum, saw the wobbling of the defenders and dived forward. From a sitting position he managed to dredge the ball past a frozen Grosics and into the net.
After that, the referee's misjudgements rattled the nerves of the players and spectators. Soon the Germans scored from a corner. Positioning for German corner kicks was discussed with the players. The West Germans kicked the corner kick in front of the goal, which a player would run at from behind with great force and try to head it into the goal. In the meantime, one of the German forwards is always trying to keep the goalkeeper out of the game while the others run onto the ball. This was the case again: after the kick-in, Grosics went up well for the ball, but Walter, as can be seen in the picture, was foul-stopping the ball. Grosics could only touch the ball and it bounced to Rahn, who was left unmarked and put it straight into the goal (Lantos, against instructions, did not take the right winger but stood in the goal).
The equaliser was scored in foul circumstances, but the referee awarded it. This made the Hungarian players even more nervous. The Hungarian team fought with tremendous energy, but could not score another goal.
Fritz Walter, in his book "3:2" (Matches of the World Cup), acknowledged the great luck of the German team, which saved them from another Hungarian goal. In his book we read the following:
— Turek made a fantastic save to fist Hidegkuti's three-step bomb shot over the goal. At this moment we owe everything to Turek. And luck is on his side. Puskás-Hidegkuti-Zakariás-Kocsis combination after a barrage of combinations, the Hungarian centre-forward's bomb bounces off the crossbar and back into the box.
In the 36th minute, Puskás serves a superb ball to Kocsis, who outwits three German defenders and is now only facing Turek when Fritz Walter fouls our inside player at the moment of the shot, sending the ball rolling past the right post. A clear penalty. That's how they teach it in refereeing courses. But referee Ling does not award the penalty.
That's how we saw the situation, but let's look at how Fritz Walter, the West German captain, saw and described it in his book:
— At the height of the halfway line, I am horrified to see another threat to the German goal. I start immediately. Kocsis, who has just tricked Liebrich, is in front of the goal facing Turek and seems to be considering which corner to place the ball in. There I am, next to the Hungarian forward, fighting shoulder to shoulder for the ball.
One more big situation mentioned by F. Walter in his book, where only luck and a striking good day by Turek saved the German team from scoring:
— A wild chase around Eckel in our penalty area. After a fierce battle with our defence, the ball goes to Kocsis' head, who guides it firmly and powerfully into the top corner. However, Turek, the Düsseldorf goalkeeper, throws himself with self-sacrifice and manages to squeeze the ball out of the corner at the last minute.
That was the end of the half. During the break, the Hungarian players complained bitterly about the referee.
In the second half, the Hungarian team's attacking sequence continued. Turek made two lucky saves. Hidegkuti's ball slipped past the goal post. Bozsik, then Puskás's big shot and Kocsis's powerful goal kick scared Herberger. Liebrich, and soon after Kohlmayer crossed the goal line. Annoyingly, we failed to find the net.
In the 68th minute Puskás has a great chance, he shoots and Turek savagely pushes the ball out. Turek was already beaten, but luck did not let him down. Czibor then has a chance, but from five meters he "headed" Turek.
Six minutes before the end Schäffer had the ball. Bozsik tackled the German left winger, but he attacked again and after a foul on Bozsik, he crossed the ball to the right wing (Bozsik fell and waited in vain for the referee's whistle, which was silent). The winger suddenly darted inside and sent a powerful ball-footed shot at our goal from about 16 metres. The ball touched the hands of the beaten Grosics and went into the Hungarian goal.
Still we did not give up the fight and launched a final siege against bad luck. Hidegkuti put a great ball in front of Puskás, who picked it up and equalised past the beaten throwing Turek. The referee awarded the goal and then looked to his lineman who waved for a booking. He then reversed his previous decision. Puskás was not allowed at the moment of the kick. An obvious refereeing error. Two minutes left in the match and shot after shot rained down on Turek's goal. Czibor's powerful bomb, for example, went over Turek's shoulder and over the goal.
We now give the floor to Fritz Walter. The captain of the West German team had this to say about the second half of the match:
— Czibor, back on the left, unsuccessfully tackles Turek. Immediately afterwards, Puskás gets into a shooting position: according to human calculation, this shot should have given Hungary a 3:2 lead, but Turek fists a powerful shot into the box. Posipal, Liebrich and Kohlmayer are defending everywhere. If they are outplayed, we can rely on Toni Turek and the luck of the draw... The Hungarians will do their best to force a decision soon. Tóth chases Turek through and aims for the short corner after a clever shot, but Kohlmayer is on the goal line. He saves a sure-fire goal... Kocsis jumps on a cross and heads the ball over Turek's head into the far corner. Hungary's third goal is saved by the goalpost.
F. Walter listed many more similar situations where luck helped the German team. Then he continued his description of the match:
It was crucial for the final outcome of the match that we pulled off a great Hungarian attack in the middle of the half without scoring. The Hungarian team could have equalized in the last minute. Czibor, who had moved to the right winger's place, got the ball level inside the area. Even my heart stopped beating for a moment. The winger unleashed a powerful bomb at our goal, but fortunately for us Turek concentrated well and managed to clear the ball out of the corner. Even in that last minute, Germany were still on the razor's edge of victory.
And so ended a dramatic contest that saw the luckier German team win the World Cup.
We found that our forwards, after the fatigue of the previous very difficult matches, lacked the last nerve of concentration that would have been essential in taking advantage of goal-scoring opportunities.
At the end of the match, the players stood up tired and sad to welcome the German team. The huge crowd was very impressed by the sportsmanlike behaviour of the Hungarian players and rewarded them with a round of applause. The Hungarian players were hurt that they did not win the World Cup, but they proved to the football experts of the world that they can not only play, but can also take defeat with honour.