Golden Team

The Golden Team (Aranycsapat) is one of several names that refer to the legendary Hungary national football team of the 1950s. Other names commonly used are The Magical Magyars, The Magnificent Magyars, or The Mighty Magyars. Coached by Gusztáv Sebes, the team, which included Ferenc Puskás, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, József Bozsik Mihály Lantos and Gyula Grosics, went unbeaten for 33 consecutive matches, a record that still stands today.

During this run, they became Olympic Champions in 1952, and winners of the Central European International Cup. In 1953 they defeated England 6-3, becoming the first non-UK team to beat them at the Wembley Stadium. They then gave England a 7-1 hammering in Budapest seven months later. The run came to an end in the 1954 World Cup Final when they lost 3-2 to Germany. After this defeat Hungary embarked on an 18 game unbeaten run and became the first team to defeat the USSR in the Soviet Union. They were not beaten again until early 1956 when they lost to Turkey.

The era of the Magical Magyars came to an end with the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The team had been built around the successful Budapest Honvéd team that won the Hungarian League four times during the 1950s. In 1956 Honvéd entered the European Cup and in the first round they were drawn against Athletic Bilbao. Honvéd were on their way back from Bilbao when revolution erupted back in Budapest. Several of the players including Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás subsequently stayed in Western Europe and never played for Hungary again.


1952 Olympic Champions

With a forward line including Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, and super-sub Péter Palotás, Hungary easily progressed to the Olympic final in 1952. In five games they scored 20 goals and conceded only 2. In the semi-final they defeated defending Olympic Champions, Sweden 6-0. In the final they beat Yugoslavia 2-0 with goals from Puskás and Zoltán Czibor.

Central European Champions

During this era Hungary also competed in the Central European International Cup, a nations cup for teams from Central Europe. Other teams competing included Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Switzerland. Played as a league on a home and away basis, it was contested six times between 1927 and 1960 and usually took more than two years to complete. The fifth tournament began in 1948 and took five years to complete. Hungary eventually emerged top of the table with 11 points. Ferenc Puskás finished the tournament as top scorer with 10 goals and Hungary claimed the trophy after a 3-0 win over Italy in Rome in 1953. Puskás scored twice while Nándor Hidegkuti added the other goal.

England V Hungary

Among those who witnessed Hungary winning the Olympics was Stanley Rous, secretary general of the English FA and future FIFA president. He subsequently invited them to play England at Wembley. On November 25 1953, Hungary took on an England team that included Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen, Billy Wright and Alf Ramsey and defeated them 6-3. In a stunning display of football, Nándor Hidegkuti scored a hat-trick and Ferenc Puskás scored twice. After the game a rematch was arranged as a warm-up for 1954 World Cup. The return took place at the Népstadion in Budapest and Hungary put in another impressive performance, winning 7-1.

The 1954 World Cup

Hungary entered the 1954 World Cup with both confidence and unbeaten record stretching back to 1950. They opened their campaign against South Korea on June 17th in Zürich and cruised to a 9-0 win. Sándor Kocsis scored a hat-trick while Ferenc Puskás and Péter Palotás scored two each. Three days later they beat an understrength Germany 8-3 team and this time Kocsis went one further and scored four of the goals. In the quarter-finals Hungary won 4-2, surviving a bruising encounter with Brazil, in a game infamously referred to as the Battle of Berne. They then reached the final after they defeated reigning World champions Uruguay in the semi-finals. The game was 2-2 in extra time until Kocsis scored twice to seal another 4-2 win. In the final they met Germany once again.

The Wankdorf Stadion in Berne saw 60,000 people cram inside to watch the final between Germany and Hungary. The game saw Ferenc Puskás playing even though he was not fully fit. Despite this he put his team ahead after only 6 minutes, and with Zoltán Czibor adding another two minutes later it seemed destined that the pre-tournament favourites would take the title. However with goals from Max Morlock and Helmut Rahn before half time the tide began to turn. The second half saw telling misses from the Hungarian team and then with six minutes left Rahn scored his second. Puskás then had a goal disallowed with two minutes left before the game and Hungary’s unbeaten record was ended.



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