1954 World Cup Final : Hungary v West Germany

It was the most important World Cup Final in European football history – and the most meaningful for the country that won. For the neutral, a Final has never been more dramatic or emotional. Here is a largely successful colourization of the Final, which illustrates just how distancing and alienating black and white film can be. That one change out of greyscale makes it “look like football” in the way we’d understand it today:


And here, in four parts, is the bulk of that Final, along with what seems to be the original German radio commentary. About which, plus ca change.

Part one:


Part Two:


Part Three:


Part Four:


I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll reiterate – for what it’s worth – that on this evidence, the Hungarian complaints, about disallowed goals, goalkeeper obstruction and offside, seem bottomless.


3 Replies to “1954 World Cup Final : Hungary v West Germany”

  1. It does seem rather extraordinary that Hungary should have produced a team as good as this, and it may be that there is a connection between dictatorships and sporting prowess. The Soviet bloc countries seem to have produced their best teams under the harshest political conditions. And there was North Korea too in 1966. Any ideas why? (I have a few but they are very tentative.) But then small countries like Austria had a good team between the wars and Holland in the 70s and 80s. No dictatorships there. Coincidence, or just exceptional coaching an exceptional luck?

    My father remembers the 1954 final very well by the way. He blames exhaustion, injury – and the referee. Hungary had put 9 past South Korea and 8 (eight) past West Germany in the group stage, then 4 past Brazil in the QF and 4 past Uruguay in the semil. Maybe 25 goal celebrations before the final took it out of them.

  2. Actually, George S, Austria was under the rule of Engelbert Dolfuss and his successor Schussnigg during the years of the Wunderteam, both examples of what has been described as Clerico-fascism, a Catholic authoritarian government similar to those of Franco and Salazar.

    Another example of good football under dictatorial regimes would be Brazil in the 70s, not to mention Italy in the 30s.

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