Sunday, July 4, 2010

4 July 1954 - The Miracle Of Bern

On 4 July 1954, West Germany won their first World Cup trophy, beating Hungary 3-2. The German victory ended Hungary's then-record unbeaten run of 31 matches and avenged an 8-3 loss to the Hungarians in the tournament's group stage. The German press dubbed the dramatic comeback win "the Miracle of Bern."

Playing in a heavy downpour before a crowd of 64,000 at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland, the Hungarians looked likely to extend their remarkable streak after going up 2-0 against Germany in the first eight minutes of the Final. Forward and captain Ferenc Puskás put them up 1-0 in the 6th minute with a driving shot from about 10 yards; two minutes later, his fellow forward Zóltan Czibor doubled the lead in similar fashion.

The Germans, however, quickly fought back. In the 10th minute, forward Max Morlock (pictured) slid feet-first to meet a low cross, knocking the ball past the Hungarian keeper, then striker Helmut Rahn scored an 18th-minute equalizer. After those furious high-scoring twelve minutes, the match settled down and the teams remained level at the break and through most of the second half.

But six minutes from full-time, Rahn netted again to give the Germans their first lead with a powerful shot from the top of the box in the 84th minute. Puskás appeared to draw Hungary level with a sliding shot in the 89th minute, but the referee ruled him offside and disallowed the goal.

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