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 number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.
|1954 FIFA World Cup|
|FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft 1954 Schweiz|
Championnat du Monde de Football 1954
Campionato mondiale di calcio 1954
Campiunadis mundials da ballape 1954
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||768,607 (29,562 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Sándor Kocsis (11 goals)|
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), two 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). South Korea became the first independent Asian country to qualify for the World Cup. 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  by a blindfolded Italian boy.
German teams as well as Japan 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. Argentina declined to participate for the third World Cup in succession.
The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament.
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 the usual round-robin in which every team plays every other team: six matches in each group. Another oddity was that extra time, which in most tournaments is not employed at the group stage, was played in the group games if the score was level after 90 minutes, 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 progressed to the knockout stage. If the first and second placed teams were level on points, lots were drawn to decide which team would top the group. However, if the second and third placed teams were level on points, there was a play-off to decide which team would progress to the next stage.
It turned out that two of the four groups required play-offs, and the other two required drawing of lots between the two top teams. The play-offs 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 other two groups, lots were drawn 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 produce one finalist, and the four second-placed teams played against each other to produce the second finalist. In subsequent tournaments it has become customary to draw group winners against second-placed teams in the first knockout round.
In any knockout game tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time were played. If the scores had still been level after extra time, in any knockout game other than the final, lots would have been drawn to decide which team progressed. However, if the final had been tied after extra time, it would have been replayed, with lots deciding the winner only if the replay was also tied after extra time. In the event, all the knockout games were decided in either normal time or extra time, with no replays or drawing of lots being required.
These seedings were thrown into disarray when, in an unexpected result, Turkey eliminated Spain in qualification. FIFA resolved this situation by giving Turkey the seeding that had previously been allocated to Spain.
West Germany, who had been reinstated as full FIFA members only in 1950 and were unseeded, convincingly won the first of two encounters with the seeded Turkish side at Wankdorf stadium in Berne. The South Koreans, the other unseeded team, lost 7–0 and 9–0, with West Germany being denied the chance to play such an easy opponent. Sepp Herberger, the West German coach, gambled against the seeded team of Hungary by sending in a reserve side, and lost 8–3; so they had to play off against Turkey, a match that West Germany easily won.
Hungary's team captain Ferenc Puskás, considered by many as the best player in the world in that time, was injured by West German defender Werner Liebrich, and had to miss Hungary's next two matches. Puskás played for Hungary in the final, despite still being in a questionable condition.
In the quarter-finals, 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. West 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 their unbeaten record in World Cup Final matches. Uruguay then went on to be beaten for a second time as Austria secured third place.
The Wankdorf Stadion in Berne 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 had two tough play-off matches. It started raining on match day – in Germany this was dubbed Fritz-Walter-Wetter ("Fritz Walter's weather") because the West German team captain Fritz Walter was said to play his best in the rain. Adi Dassler had provided shoes with exchangeable studs.
Hungary's Ferenc Puskás played again in the final, even though he was not fully fit. Despite this he put his team ahead after only six 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 equaliser of Helmut Rahn in the 19th, the tide began to turn.
The second half saw telling misses by the Hungarian team. Barely six minutes before the end of the match, the popular German radio reporter Herbert Zimmermann gave the most famous German piece of commentary, recommending that "Rahn should shoot from deep", which he did. The second goal from Rahn gave West 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 equaliser.
The West Germans were handed the Jules Rimet Trophy and the title of World Cup winners, while the crowd sang along to the tune of the national anthem of West Germany. In Germany the success is known as "The Miracle of Berne", upon which a 2003 film of the same name was based. For the Hungarians, the defeat was a disaster, and remains controversial due to claimed referee errors and claims of doping.
One controversy concerns the 2–2 equaliser. Hungarian goalie Gyula Grosics jumped to catch Fritz Walter's corner shot, but in plain sight of the camera, Hans Schäfer obstructed him, and so the ball reached Rahn unhindered. The second controversy concerns allegations of doping to explain the better condition of the West 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 West German players had been injected with the banned substance methamphetamine.
Most controversial was the offside ruling for Puskás's intended 87th-minute equaliser. The camera filming the official footage was in a bad position to judge the situation, but eyewitnesses claimed that the referee was wrong, including West German substitute player Alfred Pfaff. However, since then, unofficial footage surfaced evidencing no offside (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
Team records for one tournament
Records for a single game
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 three goals. Kocsis' mark was broken by Just Fontaine's 13 goals in 1958. Despite not winning the 1954 tournament, their 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 win against Korea during the group stages remains 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.
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).
West Germany's victory in the final is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time and one of the finest achievements in German sporting history. The West 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 all the communist countries at that time, but 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 venues in six cities (1 venue in each city) hosted the tournament's 26 matches. The most used stadium was the St. Jakob stadium in Basel, which hosted 6 matches. The venues in Bern, Zurich and Lausanne each hosted 5 matches, the venue in Geneva hosted 4 matches and the venue in Lugano only hosted 1 match.
|St. Jakob Stadium||Stade olympique de la Pontaise|
|Capacity: 64,600||Capacity: 54,800||Capacity: 50,300|
|Charmilles Stadium||Cornaredo Stadium||Hardturm Stadium|
|Capacity: 35,997||Capacity: 35,800||Capacity: 34,800|
For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1954 FIFA World Cup squads.
Pinga 34', 43'
|Didi 69'||Report||Zebec 48'|
Cárdenas 46' (o.g.)
Kopa 88' (pen.)
O. Walter 60'
|Puskás 12', 89'
Kocsis 24', 36', 50'
Palotás 75', 83'
|Kocsis 3', 21', 69', 78'
Hidegkuti 52', 54'
J. Tóth 75'
|Suat 10', 30'
Burhan 37', 64', 70'
|O. Walter 7'
Schäfer 12', 79'
Morlock 30', 60', 77'
F. Walter 62'
|Borges 17', 47', 57'
Míguez 30', 83'
Abbadie 54', 85'
|Stojaspal 3', 65'
Probst 4', 21', 24'
|Broadis 26', 63'
Lofthouse 36', 91'
|Report||Anoul 5', 71'
Dickinson 94' (o.g.)
|Pandolfini 41' (pen.)
|Hügi 14', 85'
|27 June – Geneva|
|30 June – Basel|
|26 June – Lausanne|
|4 July – Bern|
|27 June – Bern|
|30 June – Lausanne|
|26 June – Basel|
|3 July – Zürich|
|Wagner 25', 27', 53'
A. Körner 26', 34'
|Report||Ballaman 16', 39'
Hügi 17', 19', 60'
|Horvat 9' (o.g.)
Kocsis 7', 88'
Lantos 60' (pen.)
|Report||Djalma Santos 18' (pen.)
F. Walter 54' (pen.), 64' (pen.)
O. Walter 61', 89'
Kocsis 111', 116'
|Report||Hohberg 75', 86'|
|Stojaspal 16' (pen.)
Cruz 59' (o.g.)
With 11 goals, Sándor Kocsis was the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 140 goals were scored by 63 players, with four of them credited as own goals.
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:
|Eliminated in the quarter-finals|
|Eliminated in 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.
The 1953–54 British Home Championship was an international football tournament played between the British Home Nations during the 1953–54 season. This season's tournament also doubled as UEFA – Group 3 for 1954 FIFA World Cup qualification. England dominated the Championship, winning all three games and taking first place. After defeating Ireland, Scotland struggled against Wales before losing to England. Meanwhile, Ireland defeated Wales in Wrexham to clinch third place. England, together with second-placed Scotland, subsequently qualified for the 1954 FIFA World Cup.1954 FIFA World Cup Final
The 1954 FIFA World Cup Final was the final match of the 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth World Cup in FIFA history. The game was played at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland, on 4 July 1954, and saw West Germany beat the heavily favoured Golden Team of Hungary 3–2.
The 1954 final is often listed as one of the greatest matches in World Cup history, and also one of its most unexpected upsets. Beyond football, some historians ascribe the match a lasting impact on both German and Hungarian post-World War II history, contributing in West Germany to a sense of regained international recognition after the lost Second World War and denazification, and in Hungary to discontent with the communist-authoritarian regime in the run-up to the 1956 Hungarian revolution. In Germany, the 1954 final is known as the Miracle of Bern (German: Wunder von Bern).
The win earned Germany its first of four World Cup titles, with the other titles to follow in 1974 and 1990 as West Germany, and in 2014 as Germany. For Hungary, the second place in 1954 remains the best World Cup result to date, jointly with finishing runners-up in 1938. The 1954 tournament is the only FIFA World Cup thus far in which two teams from Central Europe contested the final, with another Central European team, that of Austria, finishing third in the competition.1954 FIFA World Cup qualification
A total of 37 teams entered the 1954 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. Switzerland, as the hosts, and Uruguay, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.
37 teams were divided into 13 groups, based on geographical considerations, as follows:
Groups 1 to 10 – Europe: 11 places, contested by 27 teams (including Egypt and Israel).
Group 11 and 12 – The Americas: 2 places, contested by 7 teams.
Group 13 – Asia: 1 place, contested by 3 teams.A total of 33 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 57 qualifying matches were played, and 208 goals were scored (an average of 3.65 per match).
Listed below are the dates and results of the qualification rounds.1954 FIFA World Cup squads
Below are the squads for the 1954 FIFA World Cup final tournament in Switzerland. This was the first World Cup where the players were assigned squad numbers.
Scotland were the only team to have players from foreign clubs (namely 7 players from English clubs).Battle of Berne (1954 FIFA World Cup)
The Battle of Berne is used to refer to a football match at the 1954 World Cup between Hungary and Brazil, a quarter-final played on 27 June 1954 at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland.
Violent conduct and fighting prompted English referee Arthur Ellis to send off three players during the match. Fighting between the teams continued in the dressing rooms after the final whistle.Cornaredo Stadium
Cornaredo Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Lugano, Switzerland. It is used mostly for football matches. It is a home ground of FC Lugano. The stadium is able to hold 15,000 people and was built in 1951. The stadium has 5,000 seats and 10,000 standing places. During the 1954 FIFA World Cup, it hosted one game.
During the spring 2008, the political authorities of Lugano announced a plan to renew the stadium to fulfil the Swiss Football League requirements for Super League stadiums. The new stadium is due to be completed by 2011.Ferenc Machos
Ferenc Machos (30 June 1932 - 3 December 2006) was a Hungarian football forward who played for Hungary in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He also played for Budapest Honvéd FC.Ferenc Szojka
Ferenc Szojka (7 April 1931 – 17 September 2011) was a Hungarian football midfielder who played for Hungary in the 1954 and 1958 FIFA World Cups. He also played for Salgótarjáni BTC.Hardturm
The Hardturm was a football stadium located in Zürich's Kreis 5. Opened in 1929, it was the home of the Grasshopper Club Zürich until it closed in 2007. It was a host stadium for the 1954 FIFA World Cup.
The land for the stadium was bought by Walter Schoeller who passed it on his club free of charge. When the stadium was opened in 1929 it could hold 27,500 spectators. After many reconstructions the capacity was 38,000 in 1986, on time for the 100-Year Anniversary of the Grasshopper Club Zürich. Before closing, Hardturm could hold 17,666 spectators with standing areas for the home and away fans. In international games the Hardturm could hold 16,600 spectators with seating places in all areas.During re-construction of the Letzigrund stadium, Grasshoppers shared use of the Hardturm with local rivals FC Zürich for the 2006–07 season. This led to protests by Grasshopper fans.
The Hardturm stadium closed in September 2007. Grasshoppers now play at the Letzigrund Stadium.
Hardturm's demolition started in December 2008 and a new stadium, Stadion Zürich is planned on the ground of the Hardturm, but the project has been stalled (as of 2016).Imre Kovács
Imre Kovács (26 November 1921 – 9 March 1996) was a Hungarian football midfielder who played for Hungary in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He also played for MTK Budapest FC. He won a gold medal in football at the 1952 Summer Olympics.Joseph Mermans
Joseph Mermans (16 February 1922 in Merksem – 20 January 1996 in Wildert), usually referred to as Jef Mermans (nicknamed "The Bomber") was a football striker from Belgium, who played much of his career at Anderlecht, with whom he won seven Belgian Championship titles and finished top scorer of this competition twice. He played 399 games and scored 367 goals in first division.Mermans played 56 matches with the Belgium national football team, 2 of which in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He is also the 4th top scorer ever for the Belgium national team with 27 goals.Joseph Vliers
Joseph Vliers (18 December 1932 in Tongeren – 19 January 1995 in Tongeren), (mostly called Jef Vliers), was a Belgian football player who finished top scorer of the Belgian First Division with 25 goals and in 1958 while playing for Beerschot. He formerly played with Patria Tongeren and then with Racing de Bruxelles. In the summer of 1955, he moved to Beerschot and he eventually played with Standard Liège. Vliers played six times with the Belgian national team between 1955 and 1963. He made his international debut on 3 April 1955 in a 1–0 friendly defeat to the Netherlands. He was in the team for the 1954 FIFA World Cup but he did not play.Ljubiša Spajić
Ljubomir "Ljubiša" Spajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Љубомир "Љубиша" Спајић; 7 March 1926 – 28 March 2004) was a Serbian footballer who was part of Yugoslavia national football team at the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He later became a manager.Robert Dienst
Robert Dienst (1 March 1928 – 13 June 2000) was an Austrian football forward. He died in 2000 after a long illness.Robert Körner
Robert Körner (21 August 1924 – 22 June 1989) was an Austrian footballer.Sandro Puppo
Sandro Puppo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsandro ˈpuppo]; 28 January 1918 – 16 October 1986) was an Italian football (soccer) player and manager born in Piacenza, who played as a midfielder.Stade olympique de la Pontaise
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise is a multi-purpose stadium in Lausanne, Switzerland. The stadium holds 15,850 people and was built in 1904.
It is used mostly for football matches. It is currently the homeground of FC Lausanne-Sport, of the Swiss Challenge League.
The stadium also hosts the IAAF Diamond League event, Athletissima.Wankdorf Stadium
The Wankdorf Stadium (German: Wankdorfstadion) was a football stadium in the Wankdorf quarter of Bern, Switzerland, and the former home of Swiss club BSC Young Boys. It was built in 1925, and as well as serving as a club stadium, it hosted several important matches, including the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final, the 1961 European Cup final, and the 1989 Cup Winners' Cup final. The Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf has been built in its place.Şükrü Ersoy
Şükrü Ersoy (born 14 January 1934) is a Turkish football goalkeeper who played for Turkey in the 1954 FIFA World Cup.
1954 FIFA World Cup
1954 FIFA World Cup finalists
1954 FIFA World Cup stadiums
|Overall records and statistics|
Notes: There was no qualification for the 1930 World Cup as places were given by invitation only. In 1950, there was no final; the article is about the decisive match of the final group stage.