1954 FIFA World Cup
|FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft 1954 Schweiz (German)
Championnat du Monde de Football 1954 (French)
Campionato mondiale di calcio 1954 (Italian)
1954 FIFA World Cup official logo
|Dates||16 June – 4 July|
|Teams||16 (from 4 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||6 (in 6 host cities)|
|Champions||West Germany (1st title)|
|Goals scored||140 (5.38 per match)|
|Attendance||889,500 (34,212 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Sándor Kocsis (11 goals)|
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.
- 1 Host selection
- 2 Qualification
- 3 Summary
- 4 Venues
- 5 Squads
- 6 Match officials
- 7 Seeding
- 8 Results
- 9 Scorers
- 10 FIFA retrospective ranking
- 11 In film
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Switzerland was awarded the tournament unopposed on 22 July 1946, the same day that Brazil was selected for the 1950 World Cup, in Luxembourg City.
The hosts (Switzerland) and the defending champions (Uruguay) qualified automatically. Of the remaining 14 places, 11 were allocated to Europe (including Egypt, Turkey and Israel), 2 to the Americas, and one to Asia.
Scotland, Turkey and South Korea made their World Cup debuts at this tournament (Turkey and Scotland had qualified for the 1950 competition but both withdrew). Austria appeared for the first time since 1934. Turkey would not participate at a finals again until the 2002 competition, while South Korea's next appearance would be in 1986.
The third and fourth place teams from 1950, Sweden and Spain, both failed to qualify. In a shock result, Spain was eliminated by Turkey: after the two countries had tied a three-game series, Turkey progressed by drawing of lots.
German teams were allowed to qualify again, after having been banned from the 1950 FIFA World Cup. West Germany qualified against fellow Germans from the Saarland (which then was a French protectorate), while East Germany had not entered, cancelling international football games after the East German uprising of 1953.
The 1954 tournament used a unique format. The sixteen qualifying teams were divided into four groups of four teams each. Each group contained two seeded teams and two unseeded teams. Only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team (this contrasts with a conventional round-robin in which every team plays every other team, which would have resulted in six matches in each group). In a further oddity, extra time would be played if the teams were level after 90 minutes in the group games, with the result being a draw if the scores were still level after 120 minutes.
Two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. The two teams with the most points from each group would progress to the knockout stage. If the first and second placed teams were level on points, lots would be drawn to decide which team would top the group. However, if the second and third placed teams were level on points, they would participate in a playoff to decide which team would progress to the next stage.
It turned out that two of the four groups required playoffs, and the other two required drawing of lots between the two top teams. The playoffs were between Switzerland and Italy, and Turkey and West Germany: in both matches the unseeded teams (Switzerland and West Germany) repeated earlier victories against the seeds (Italy and Turkey) to progress. In the two groups that did not require playoffs, there was drawing of lots to determine the first-place teams: resulting in Uruguay and Brazil finishing above Austria and Yugoslavia, respectively.
A further unusual feature of the format was that the four group-winning teams were drawn against each other in the knockout stages to provide one finalist, and the four second-placed teams played against each other to provide the second finalist. In subsequent tournaments it has become customary to draw group winners against non-group-winners in the initial knockout stage.
If a knockout game was tied after 90 minutes, then 30 minutes of extra time would be played. If the score was still tied after extra time, lots would have been drawn to decide which team progressed. However, if the final was tied after extra time, it would have been replayed, with lots deciding the winner only if the replay was also tied after extra time.
The eight seeded teams were based on world rankings (Austria, Brazil, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Turkey and Uruguay), plus two unseeded teams. With seeding determined before the teams had even qualified for the final tournament, the organizers had to replace Spain with Turkey, the team that unexpectedly knocked the Spaniards out.
The Germans, who had been reinstated as full FIFA members only in 1950 and were unseeded, won the first of two encounters with the seeded Turkish convincingly in Bern at Wankdorf stadium. The Koreans, as the other unseeded team, lost 0–7 and 0–9, with Germany being denied the chance to play such an easy opponent. Sepp Herberger the German coach gambled against the seeded team of Hungary by sending in a reserve side to take an expected 3–8 loss, with the only consequence being the additional playoff game against Turkey that was won with ease. Hungary's team captain Ferenc Puskás, considered by many as the best player in the world in that time, was injured by German defender Werner Liebrich, and had to miss the next two matches of his team, only to show up in the final again, still being in a questionable condition.
The quarter-finals saw the favourites Hungary beat Brazil 4–2 in one of the most violent matches in football history, which became infamous as the Battle of Berne. Meanwhile, the World Cup holders Uruguay sent England out of the tournament, also by 4–2. Germany dispatched Yugoslavia 2–0, and Austria beat the host nation Switzerland in the game that saw the most goals in any World Cup match, 7–5.
In the first semi-final, West Germany beat Austria 6–1.
The other semi-final, one of the most exciting games of the tournament, saw Hungary go into the second half leading Uruguay 1–0, only for the game to be taken to extra time with a score after 90 minutes of 2–2. The deadlock was broken by Sándor Kocsis with two late goals to take Hungary through to the final, with Uruguay finally losing its unbeaten record in World Cup Final matches. Uruguay then went on to be beaten for a second time as Austria secured third place.
Final: "The Miracle of Bern"
The Wankdorf Stadion in Bern saw 60,000 people cram inside to watch the final between West Germany and Hungary, a rematch of a first round game, which Hungary had won 8–3 against the reserves of the German team. The Golden Team of the Hungarians were favourites, as they were unbeaten for a record of 32 consecutive matches but they had two tough play-off matches. It had started raining on game day – in Germany this was dubbed "Fritz-Walter-Wetter" (Fritz Walter's weather) because the German team captain Fritz Walter was said to play his best in rainy weather. Adi Dassler had provided shoes with exchangeable studs.
The final saw Hungary's Ferenc Puskás playing again 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 that the pre-tournament favourites would take the title. However, with a quick goal from Max Morlock in the 10th and the equalizer of Helmut Rahn in the 19th, the tide began to turn.
The second half saw telling misses from the Hungarian team. Barely 6 minutes before the end of the match, the popular German radio reporter Herbert Zimmermann gave the most famous German piece of commentary, recommending Rahn should kick from the backfield, which he did. The second goal from Rahn gave Germany a 3–2 lead while the Hungarian reporter György Szepesi burst into tears. Later, Zimmermann called Puskás offside before he kicked the ball into Toni Turek's net with 2 minutes left. While referee Ling pointed to the centre spot, linesman Griffiths signalled offside. After a one-minute consultation, referee Ling disallowed the claimed equalizer.
The Germans were handed the Jules Rimet trophy and the title of World Cup winners while the crowd sang along to the tunes of the national anthems of Germany. In Germany the success is known as The Miracle of Bern, upon which a 2003 film of the same name was based. For the Hungarians, the defeat was a disaster, and remains controversial due to referee errors and claims of doping.
One controversy concerns the 2–2. Hungarian goalie Gyula Grosics jumped to catch Fritz Walter's corner shot, but in plain sight of the camera, Hans Schäfer obstructed him, thus the ball could reach Rahn unhindered. The second controversy concerns allegations of doping to explain the better condition of the German team in the second half. Though teammates steadfastly denied this rumour, German historian Guido Knopp claimed in a 2004 documentary for German public channel ZDF that the players were injected with shots of vitamin C at half-time, using a needle earlier taken from a Soviet sports doctor, which would also explain the wave of jaundice among team members following the tournament. A Leipzig University study in 2010 posited that the Germany players had been injected with the banned substance methamphetamine.
Most controversial was the offside ruling for Puskás's intended 87th minute equalizer. The camera filming the official footage was in a bad position to judge the situation, only eyewitnesses claimed that the referee was wrong, including German replacement player Alfred Pfaff. However, since then, footage evidencing no offside surfaced (shown on North German regional public channel NDR in 2004).
The following all-time records were set or equalled at this tournament, and have not subsequently been surpassed:
All matches in one tournament
- highest average goals per game (5.38)
Team records for one tournament
- most goals scored (Hungary, 27)
- highest average goals scored per game (Hungary, 5.4)
- highest aggregate goal difference (Hungary, +17)
- highest average goal difference per game (Hungary, +3.4)
- most goals scored, champions (West Germany, 25)
- most goals scored per game, champions (West Germany, 4.25)
- most goals conceded, champions (West Germany, 14)
- most goals conceded per game, champions (West Germany, 2.33)
- most goals conceded (South Korea, 16)
- lowest aggregate goal difference (South Korea, -16)
- most goals conceded per game (South Korea, 8, tied with Bolivia 1950)
- lowest average goal difference per game (South Korea, -8.0, tied with Bolivia 1950).
Team records for a single game
- most goals in a single game (both teams) (Austria 7 Switzerland 5)
- greatest margin of victory in a single game (Hungary 9 South Korea 0) (subsequently equalled by Yugoslavia winning 9–0 against Zaire in 1974 and again Hungary winning 10–1 against El Salvador in 1982).
For the first time there was television coverage, and special coins were issued to mark the event.
The 11 goals scored by Kocsis of Hungary not only led the World Cup but bettered the previous record (set by Brazilian Ademir in the previous tournament) by two goals. Kocsis' mark was then broken by Just Fontaine's 13 goals in 1958. Despite not winning the 1954 tournament, the fourth place finish and their two previous World Cup titles made Uruguay the most successful World Cup nation for eight years, until Brazil won their second title in 1962. Hungary's 9–0 result against Korea during the group stages remains to this day the biggest margin of victory in FIFA World Cup history, later equalled by Yugoslavia over Zaire(9-0) in 1974 and Hungary over El Salvador(10-1) in 1982.
West Germany also became the first team to win the World Cup after having lost a match at the finals (losing 8–3 to Hungary in the group stage). This feat was subsequently repeated by West Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978 and Spain in 2010, who all lost group matches 1–0. Coincidentally, all three teams won against Netherlands sides in the final. The 1954 competition remains the only World Cup tournament in which no team was undefeated.
West Germany's 1954 victory remains the only time that a team has won the World Cup without playing any team from outside its own continent (Turkey is geographically partly in Asia, but qualified from Europe and has always been affiliated with UEFA).
Germany's victory in the match is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time and one of the finest achievements in German sporting history. The German team was made up of amateur players as Germany did not have a professional league at this time, while the Hungarians were de jure amateurs, like in any communist country that time, and playing football as professionals, mainly for Budapesti Honvéd FC and later for major clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, and were ranked best in the world. This is the only time a team has won the World Cup with amateur footballers.
Six cities hosted the tournament:
|St. Jakob Stadium||Wankdorf Stadium
|Capacity: 51,500||Capacity: 64,000||Capacity: 9,250|
|Stade Olympique de la Pontaise
|Cornaredo Stadium||Hardturm Stadium|
|Capacity: 54,000||Capacity: 15,000||Capacity: 27,500|
For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1954 FIFA World Cup squads.
- Raymon Wyssling
- Benjamin Griffiths
- Charlie Faultless
- Manuel Asensi
- Jose da Costa Vieira
- Raymond Vincenti
- William Ling
- Esteban Marino
- Arthur Edward Ellis
- Laurent Franken
- Vincenzo Orlandini
- Vasa Stefanovic
- Mario Vianna
- Emil Schmetzer
- Carl Erich Steiner
- István Zsolt
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
- Brazil finished ahead of Yugoslavia on drawing of lots
Pinga 34', 43'
19 June 1954
|Didi 69'||Report||Zebec 48'|
19 June 1954
Cárdenas 49' (o.g.)
Kopa 88' (pen.)
- West Germany finished ahead of Turkey by winning a play-off
17 June 1954
O. Walter 60'
17 June 1954
|Puskás 12', 89'
Kocsis 24', 36', 50'
Palotás 75', 83'
20 June 1954
|Kocsis 3', 21', 69', 78'
Hidegkuti 52', 54'
J. Tóth 75'
20 June 1954
|Suat 10', 30'
Burhan 37', 64', 70'
23 June 1954
|O. Walter 7'
Schäfer 12', 79'
Morlock 30', 60', 77'
F. Walter 62'
- Uruguay finished ahead of Austria on drawing of lots
19 June 1954
|Borges 17', 47', 57'
Míguez 30', 83'
Abbadie 54', 85'
19 June 1954
|Stojaspal 3', 70'
Probst 4', 21', 24'
- Switzerland finished ahead of Italy by winning a play-off
17 June 1954
17 June 1954
|Broadis 26', 63'
Lofthouse 36', 91'
|Report||Anoul 5', 71'
Dickinson 94' (o.g.)
20 June 1954
|Pandolfini 41' (pen.)
20 June 1954
23 June 1954
|Hügi 14', 85'
|27 June – Bern|
|30 June – Lausanne|
|26 June – Basel|
|4 July – Bern|
|27 June – Geneva|
|30 June – Basel|
|West Germany||6||Third place|
|26 June – Lausanne|
|Austria||1||3 July – Zürich|
26 June 1954
|Wagner 25', 27', 53'
R. Körner 26', 34'
|Report||Ballaman 16', 39'
Hügi 17', 19', 58'
26 June 1954
27 June 1954
|Djalma Santos 18' (pen.)
Kocsis 7', 88'
Lantos 60' (pen.)
27 June 1954
|Report||Horvat 9' (o.g.)
30 June 1954
Kocsis 111', 116'
|Report||Hohberg 75', 86'|
30 June 1954
F. Walter 54' (pen.), 64' (pen.)
O. Walter 61', 89'
3 July 1954
|Hohberg 22'||Report||Stojaspal 16' (pen.)
Cruz 59' (o.g.)
4 July 1954
Rahn 18', 84'
- 11 goals
- 6 goals
- 4 goals
- 3 goals
- 2 goals
- 1 goal
- Own goals
- Jimmy Dickinson (for Belgium)
- Raúl Cárdenas (for France)
- Luis Cruz (for Austria)
- Ivica Horvat (for Germany)
FIFA retrospective ranking
In 1986, FIFA published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition. The rankings for the 1954 tournament were as follows:
3rd and 4th place
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
Eliminated at the group stage
The final scene of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film The Marriage of Maria Braun takes place during the finals of the 1954 World Cup; in the scene's background, the sports announcer is celebrating West Germany's victory and shouting "Deutschland ist wieder was!" (Germany is something again); the film uses this as the symbol of Germany's recovery from the ravages of the Second World War.
Sönke Wortmann's 2003 German box-office hit The Miracle of Bern (in German: Das Wunder von Bern) re-tells the story of the German team's route to victory through the eyes of a young boy who admires the key player of the final, Helmut Rahn.
- Lisi, Clemente Angelo (2007). A history of the World Cup: 1930-2006. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8108-5905-X.
- Risolo, Donn (2010). Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats. University of Nebraska Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-8032-3014-1.
- Christian Jessen: Die Qualifikation aus Fußballweltmeisterschaft 1954, pp.27 ff.
- "History of the World Cup Final Draw" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "FERENC PUSKAS - International Football Hall of Fame". Ifhof.com. 2 April 1927. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "Das Wunder von Bern - Die wahre Geschichte". broadview.tv (in German). Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Germany's 1954 World Cup winners 'were doped'". google.com. AFP. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Ewiger Knaben Wunderhorn (DER SPIEGEL, 18/2004)
- "Das Trauma von Bern: Die unbekannte Seite des legendären Endspiels". Webcitation.org. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "page 45" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2012.