Friday, June 4, 2010

4 June 1950 - The Magical Magyars

On 4 June 1950, Hungary defeated Poland in a friendly, 5-2. It was the first of Hungary's record-setting 31-match unbeaten streak that lasted until the 1954 World Cup Final.

The previous record was held by Scotland, who went 22 consecutive matches without a loss. Hungary eclipsed that mark on 15 November 1953, when they drew 2-2 with Sweden in a friendly. Not all of the matches in Hungary's streak were friendlies, however; it included a five-match run in the 1952 Olympics that ended with Hungary, nicknamed the "Magical Magyars," winning the gold medal with a 2-0 win over Yugoslavia. They also won the Central European Cup in 1953 over fellow competitors Italy, Austria, and Czechoslovakia.

Hungary's record stood at 27 when they arrived in Switzerland for the 1954 World Cup and they promptly extended it with lopsided group-stage wins over South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3). The Hungarians, led by their star pairing of forwards Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás, then advanced through the knockout rounds with tough wins over 1950 runners-up Brazil and holders Uruguay, before meeting West Germany again in the Final, where the streak finally ended with a 3-2 loss.

Hungary's streak remained a record for 55 years until it was beaten by Spain's 33rd consecutive unbeaten match on 14 June 2009. Spain won two more matches to set the current record at 35.

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