On this day 4 July 1954 (Exactly 66 years ago today) West Germany became FIFA World Cup Champions at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland by ending the proud 31-match unbeaten record of Hungary’s ‘Magical Magyars’ in a Final forever remembered as the Miracle of Berne.
In the shadow of the Alps this was a mountain-sized upset, the Germans retrieving a two-goal deficit to record a 3-2 victory over opponents who had beaten them 8-3 just a fortnight before. Jules Rimet, the outgoing FIFA President, handed the eponymous trophy to Fritz Walter and the football world absorbed an important new lesson: never, ever, write off the Germans.
Hungary went into the 1954 finals with the unofficial title of best team in the world. Olympic champions in 1952, they had recorded 23 wins and four draws during the preceding four years – their most celebrated victory a 6-3 humbling of England in November 1953 whereby they became the first foreign visitors to triumph at Wembley.
The brightest star in the Hungarian firmament was Ferenc Puskas, the ‘Galloping Major’ with the fearsome left foot from the army team of Honved.
Puskás put his team ahead after only six minutes, when Bozsik intercepted a pass from Liebrich and found Kocsis with a through ball. Kocsis’ blocked shot fell to Puskás, and Puskás scored from close range.
Czibor added a second goal for Hungary a mere two minutes later, exploiting a misunderstanding in the German defense: Kohlmeyer secured a through ball from Bozsik but wrong-footed goalkeeper Toni Turek with a back pass, who failed to control the ball. Czibor sprinted in between and put the ball into the empty net.
West Germany came back quickly. In the 10th minute, Fritz Walter played Rahn free on the left wing, who crossed low and hard into the center. The ball went through the legs of right fullback Jenő Buzánszky, Zakariás lunged for the ball but could only deflect it, and forward Max Morlock converted from close range.
Eight minutes later Morlock dribbled through the Hungarian defense, but center back Gyula Lóránt cleared for a corner. Fritz Walter played the corner short, Buzánszky cleared for another corner. The second corner kick came long and high, finding Rahn, who leveled the score.
Hungary took control after the equalizer and came to several good chances. In the 23rd minute, left fullback Mihály Lantos chipped the ball into the box, Kocsis headed on to Hidegkuti, but Hidegkuti’s volley was saved spectacularly by Turek.
Four minutes later, Hidegkuti fired another shot from the edge of the penalty box that hit the goal post. Only towards the end of the first half did West Germany come to more chances. In the 42nd minute, Fritz Walter found Schäfer in the penalty box, who dribbled past Lóránt and forced a save at full stretch from Grosics. The loose ball fell to Rahn, but Buzánszky cleared on the goal line.
Hungary came out attacking in the second half and created plentiful chances. Two minutes after the restart, Bozsik played Puskás free in the penalty box, but Puskás fired the ball straight at Turek.
In the 54th minute, Kohlmeyer cleared twice on the goal line from Tóth,and three minutes later Kocsis headed a cross by Tóth against the cross bar. In the 67th minute, Turek saved a shot by Puskás with his foot, and in the 78th minute he left the goal line to block a through ball from Bozsik ahead of the onrushing Czibor.
Hidegkuti picked up the loose ball but shot into the side netting. West Germany’s first good chance of the second half came in the 72nd minute when Fritz Walter played Rahn free after a corner kick, and Rahn’s powerful shot from the edge of the penalty box was saved by Grosics.
With six minutes left, Schäfer dispossessed Bozsik and played a high cross into the penalty box. Rahn picked up Lantos’ short clearance, feinted a pass to center forward Ottmar Walter that wrong-footed the Hungarian defenders, moved into the penalty box, and drove the ball hard and low past Grosics for the third German goal.
Two minutes later, Puskás appeared to have leveled the score once more when he converted a through ball from Tóth flicked on by Kocsis, but the attempt was ruled offside.
In the final minute of the game, Czibor had another chance to equalize, but his shot from close range was again stopped by Turek.
The whistle soon thereafter ended not only the match, but also the Golden Team’s unbeaten run.
West Germany: Toni Turek, Josep Posipal, Werner Liebrich, Werner Kohlmeyer, Horst Eckel, Karl Mai, Max Morlock, Fritz Walter (C), Helmut Rahn, Ottmar Walter, Hans Schafer
Manager: Sepp Herberger
Hungary: Gyula Grosics, Jeno Buzanszky, Gyula Lorant, Mihaly Lantos, Jozsef Bozsik, Jozsef Zakarias, Nandor Hidegkuti, Zoltan Czibor, Mihaly Toth, Sandor Kocsis, Ferenc Puskas (C)
Manager: Gusztav Sebes
Referee: William Ling (England)
On this day 4 July 2004(Exactly 16 years ago today) Greece pulled off one of the biggest shocks in football history to beat Portugal in the Euro 2004 final.
Angelos Charisteas scored from the Greeks’ first corner after 57 minutes, heading in an Angelis Basinas cross.
And the Greek defence then stifled the hosts’ flair in a tense second half, led by the inspired Traianos Dellas.
Portugal surged forwards and came close through Cristiano Ronaldo, Maniche, and Luis Figo but Greece goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis stood firm.
The hosts were frustrated from the start by a superbly-drilled Greek side, pulled together by coach Otto Rehhagel.
It was disappointment for Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who failed to add the European crown to the World Cup he won with Brazil two years earlier.
The Greeks made it a double over Portugal after beating them 2-1 in the opening game of the tournament.
The victory was a triumph for coach Greece’s German-born coach Otto Rehhagel, who with limited resources at his disposal, created a formidable defensive outfit, capable of outwitting Europe’s finest.
Portugal: 1-Ricardo; 13-Miguel (2-Paulo Ferreira 43), 16-Ricardo Carvalho, 4-Jorge Andrade, 14-Nuno Valente; 6-Costinha (10-Rui Costa 60), 18-Maniche, 20-Deco, 7-Luis Figo (captain), 17-Cristiano Ronaldo; 9-Pauleta (21-Nuno Gomes 74)
Greece: 1-Antonis Nikopolidis; 2-Yourkas Seitaridis, 19-Michalis Kapsis, 5-Traianos Dellas 14-Takis Fyssas; 8-Stelios Giannakopoulos (3-Stelios Venetidis 76), 7-Theodoros Zagorakis (captain), 6-Angelos Basinas, 21-Costas Katsouranis; 15-Zisis Vryzas (22-Dimitrios Papadopoulos 81), 9-Angelos Haristeas
Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)
On this day 4 July 2015(Exactly 5 years ago today ) Chile secured their first major trophy in their history on home soil courtesy of a penalty shootout win over Argentina in the Copa America final.
Alexis Sanchez slotted in the winning spot-kick after Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain fired over and Ever Banega was denied by Claudio Bravo.