do not mention the war

England vs. Hungary

In England, Football, History, Sport, Stereotypes, World Cup on August 10, 2010 at 09:49

It is almost 60 years ago that this fixture stirred the imagination of football writers in England. Unbeaten at home England would host the best team of the continent and Olympic champions, Hungary. A win was expected by the media hacks and nothing less than a convincing victory and a spectacle was what people were looking forward to. The press was unanimous that the home record of England would resist the challenge of the Magyars with their charismatic leader Ferenc Puskas.

Yet the result was different, very different indeed. England suffered their first home defeat by continental opposition and almost collapsed. The Twilight of the Soccer Gods was the headline of one of the papers the following day. Not only was the England team shell shocked, the whole football public was in awe of the Magical Magyars. No one dared to speak of the Wembley Wizards after that game. It was prove enough to show that Europe has caught up with England or that England simply have not progressed since the days of Herbert Chapman in terms of tactics.

In the aftermath though, the England set up was examined and altered and a new manager took over form Walter Winterbottom, a certain Alf Ramsey. He turned the fortunes of England around and won them the World Cup in 1966. The defeat in 1953 sparked a revolution in England that saw English football refreshed and brought the just rewards thirteen years later. This time another turn around is needed, so instead of a headline about the soccer gods from the Danube, it is hoped that the match tomorrow will spark the dawn of a new era.


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