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Results 1950-1955                           Page Last Updated 5 November 2017


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271 vs. Austria
Wednesday, 28 November 1951
International Friendly Match

"...Match of the Century..."

England 2 Austria 2

Empire Stadium, Wembley Park, Wembley, Middlesex
Kick-off (BST): 2.15pm.

Attendance: 100,000 sold-out; Receipts: �38,730.

England won the toss Austria kicked-off Match Summary
England Party
Austria Party
Alf Ramsey 65
 coolly placed penalty after a foul on Baily
[2-1] Nat Lofthouse
 6-yard looping header from a Ramsey free-kick
[0-1] Ernst Melchior 47
 6-yard half volley in off the far post from a crossfield pass by Ockwirk
Ernst Stojaspal 88
penalty after Eckersley handled
Three players�two Austrian and one English�were reported to FIFA as a result of incidents during the game.
"I am reporting to FIFA that I took the names of Happel. left-back, and Gernhardt, captain and inside-right, and Froggatt. I don't like taking names, but I think these were deserved."
Live on the Radio Home Programme.
second half live
Commentators: Jimmy Jewell and Kenneth Wolstenholme.

Match Summary

Officials from Scotland




Referee (black blazer) - John A. Mowat, MBE
x (-), Rutherglen.

Linesmen - Peter Fitzpatrick (red flag) and Douglas Gerrard, Aberdeen (yellow flag)

Teams presented to the Guest of Honour Jules Rimet, President of FIFA.
The FIFA ruling of allowing a substitute to replace an injured player prior to the 44th minute, and a goalkeeper at any time, is in place.

  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 4th
Colours: The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, black socks with white tops.
Capt: Billy Wright, 24th captaincy Manager:
Trainer: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic FC)
Walter Winterbottom, 38 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
42nd match, W 28 - D 7 - L 7 - F 128 - A 49.
Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry, on Monday, 19 November 1951 in London, revised on Monday, 26.
England Lineup
  Merrick, Gilbert H. 29 26 January 1922 G Birmingham City FC 2 2ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 31 22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC 18 1
3 Eckersley, William 26 16 July 1925 LB Blackburn Rovers FC 6 0
4 Wright, William A. 27 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

39 3
5 Froggatt, Jack 29 17 November 1922 CHB Portsmouth FC 4 1
6 Dickinson, James W. 26 24 April 1925 LHB

Portsmouth FC

16 0
7 Milton, C. Arthur 23 10 March 1928 OR Arsenal FC 1 0
8 Broadis, Ivan A. 28 18 December 1922 IR Manchester City FC 1 0
9 Lofthouse, Nathaniel 26 27 August 1925 CF Bolton Wanderers FC 4 5
10 Baily, Edward F. 26 6 August 1925 IL Tottenham Hotspur FC 6 5
11 Medley, Leslie D. 31 3 September 1920 OL Tottenham Hotspur FC 6 1

unused substitutes:

Ted Burgin (Sheffield United FC), Jackie Milburn (Newcastle United FC) and Ray Barlow (West Bromwich Albion). Milburn replaced original reserve, Wilf Mannion (Middlesbrough FC) and Burgin replaced Bert Williams (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC) as reserve goalkeeper.

team notes:

"This is a game labelled match of the century, which may rightly decide the football championship of the old world" - Wednesday, 21 November 1951, Birmingham Gazette
There were numerous changes to the starting XI, Lionel Smith (Arsenal FC) was the original named left-back. Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur FC) was the original right-half. Tom Finney (Preston North End) at outside-right, and Stan Mortensen (Blackpool FC) on the inside.
2-3-5 Merrick -
Ramsey, Eckersley -
Wright, Froggatt, Dickinson -
Milton, Broadis, Lofthouse, Baily, Medley.


Age 27.5 Appearances/Goals 9.4 1.3


Austria Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 11th
Colours: Red collared jerseys with white collars/cuffs, white shorts, red socks with two white thin hoops.
Capt: Leopold Gernhardt Manager: Walter Nausch, 44 (5 February 1907), appointed September 1948.
Team chosen on Monday, 19 November 1951.
Austria Lineup
1 Zeman, Walter 24 1 May 1927 G SK Rapid 31 GA
2 R�ckl, Rudolf 24 12 January 1927 RB Wiener SC    
3 Happel, Ernst F.H. 25 29 November 1925 LB SK Rapid    
4 Hanappi, Gerhard 22 16 February 1929 RHB SK Rapid    
5 Ocwirk, Ernst 25 7 March 1926 CHB FK Austria Wien 40  
6 Brinek, Theodor 30 9 May 1921 LHB SC Wacker    
7 Melchior, Ernst 31 26 June 1920 OR FK Austria Wien    
8 Gernhardt, Leopold 31 16 March 1920 IR SK Rapid    
9 Huber, Adolf 28 5 March 1923 CF FK Austria Wien    
10 Stojaspal, Ernst 26 14 January 1925 IL FK Austria Wien    
11 KÖrner, Alfred 25 14 February 1926 OL SK Rapid    


Goalkeeper Franz Pelikan, full-back Karl Kowanz, half-back Walter Schleger and forward, Theodor Wagner.

team notes:

Selector and trainer, Walter Nausch, played for Austria against England on three occasions, in 1930, 1932 and 1936. He was also the captain in their 1936 victory.
Prior to the match, the Austrians trained in Paris, and then made full use of Griffin Park, Brentford FC's home ground.
If the newspaper report is correct, then this is the most experienced team England have faced so far, post-war.
2-3-5 Zeman -
R�ckl, Happel -
Hanappi, Ockwirk, Brinek -
Melchior, Gernhardt, Huber, Stojaspal, KÖrner


Age 26.5 Appearances/Goals 25.6 -
"The team has an aggregate of 271 caps, the average age being just under 26� years."


    Match Report by Mike Payne

At last England produced a much better performance than of later against a very good Austrian side. It made for an excellent international match and notable for two different styles. England, quick and incisive, did everything at top speed. Austria, meanwhile, remained slow, precise and deliberate in their build up before producing some dangerous through balls.

But this was undoubtedly England's best display for some time and they could and should have won. Unfortunately they failed to punish some bad defensive errors by the Austrian defence although it must be said that the ball did not run too kindly at times for the England players.

Shining brightest amongst all the talent on show was a remarkable performance by the Austrian goalkeeper Zemen. His agility and handling was superb and he continually thwarted the eager home forwards. As early as the fourth minute he made a brilliant save from Ivor Broadis after Arthur Milton had put the Manchester City man through. The fact that England did not get that early goal, so vital against the Continental sides, probably had a large bearing on the final result as Austria improved as the game went on.

ngland certainly had the better chances in the first half. Billy Wright, Jack Froggatt and Jimmy Dickinson worked tirelessly for them and the impressive Stojaspal and Ocwirk did the same for the visitors. Broadis had that early chance quickly followed by another, and then Milton and Nat Lofthouse, twice, saw good efforts saved. At the other end Huber forced Gil Merrick into an excellent save before Bill Eckersley did well to block another Huber effort. Despite this good football producing umpteen goal attempts the scoreline was still blank at the interval.

Only two minutes into the second half England suffered a shock when the Austrians took the lead. Ocwirk placed a deep free-kick into the penalty area and caught the home defence flat-footed. In a flash Melchior cut in from the left to leave Merrick helpless with a fine shot.

Now it really was a test for England but they rose to the challenge splendidly. Wave after wave of relentless attacks swept forward and after 70 minutes they gained their reward. Eddie Baily was sent sprawling in the area by Ockwir's tackle and the referee awarded a penalty which the ice-cool Alf Ramsey calmly slotted past Zeman. The Wembley crowd really got behind England at this stage and they went wild with excitement when their team took the lead with 14 minutes to go. This time Ramsey took a free-kick and placed the ball perfectly for Lofthouse to run in and head home.

The action never let up and in the 88th minute Huber fired in a header which beat Merrick but was pushed away by Eckersley's hand. Another penalty! Stojaspal capped a fine personal display by showing Ramsey's coolness by tucking away the spot-kick. It was no less than Austria deserved for a thrilling display.

It was iconic that despite such a fine football match all the goals had come from set situations.

    Match Report by Norman Giller

An injury to Tom Finney forced yet another permutation by the selectors, with Gloucester cricketer and Arsenal forward Arthur Milton partnering Ivor Broadis on the right wing. Austria, under the baton of the remarkable Ernst 'Clockwork' Ocwirk, took the lead in the forty-seventh minute after a first half of cut-and-thrust football of the highest quality. Ocwirk sent a precision free-kick into the penalty area where Melchior forced it wide of goalkeeper Gil Merrick. England equalised in the seventieth minute when the ice-cool Alf Ramsey scored from the penalty spot after his Spurs team-mate Eddie Baily had been sent sprawling. Six minutes later Ramsey made a goal for Nat Lofthouse with a pin-pointed free-kick which the Bolton centre-forward steered high into the net with a powerful header. Austria, rated one of the best sides in Europe and fresh from becoming the first overseas team to beat Scotland at home, saved the match two minutes from the end with a penalty by Stojaspal. There was some breath-taking attacking movements by both teams, yet all the goals came from set-piece play. Milton was the last player capped by England at cricket and football. When Eddie Baily was fouled for the penalty, he picked himself up and said to his Spurs team-mate Alf Ramsey, "I've done all the hard work winning the blankety blank penalty, now make sure you score." Alf tucked the penalty away as coolly as if in a training session.

    Match Report by Glen Isherwood

England were battling with Wales to regain the British Championship. Austria had not competed in the previous year's World Cup and had beaten England only once in six meetings, 2-1 n Vienna in 1936. They had lost 4-3 on their only previous visit to England at Stamford Bridge in 1932.

All the goals came in the second half. First an Ocwirk free kick cleared the England defence for Ernst Melchior to run in and beat Merrick.

England equalised with a quarter of the game remaining. Ocwirk brought down Baily in the area and Alf Ramsey stepped up to score from the penalty. Seven minutes later a Ramsey free kick was headed in by Nat Lofthouse on his first Wembley appearance, but three minutes from the end Austria levelled from an Ernst Stojaspol penalty after Eckersley had handled a goal-bound header from Huber.

England went on to share the British Championship with Wales and then went to Vienna the following year and beat Austria 3-2. Nat Lofthouse earned the nickname 'Lion of Vienna' after being knocked unconscious when scoring the winner and then returning for the last five minutes. Lofthouse was Footballer of the Year in 1953 and scored 30 goals for England.


Source Notes

"In newspaper reports of the game they said I appeared the most cool and colllected person on the field, but I can assure you that my heart was beating madly, and as I bent down to place the ball on the spot the goal seemed to have shrunk to about half its normal size. Maybe I appeared to take a long time to place the ball on the spot, but during practice I discovered that if you kick a football with the lacing facing the sky it invariably rises. After making some experiments, I came to the conclusion that the best way to place the ball for a spot-kick is to have the lace facing the goalkeeper. I did this against the Austrians, got it to my liking, stepped back a few paces and then walked once more towards the ball as the referee indicated his permission for the kick to be taken. My legs felt like rubber, and just before my right foot made contact I noticed Zemen move slightly to his right, At once, like a boxer going in for the 'kill', I side-footed the ball to the other side of the goal. Now I'll make a confession. I did not hit the ball quite so hard as I intended, but the Wembley turf is so accurate the ball slid gracefully into the goal with Zeman realizing his error too late to make amends. Take it from me, I was the happiest man in the world s the crowd roared. Then I had a sudden reaction and began wondering what would have happened if I had missed that all-important penalty-kick!".

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks

Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Glen Isherwood's Wembley: The Complete Record (SportsBooks Limited, Cheltenham, U.K., 2006)
Billy Wright's The World is My Football Pitch (Stanley Paul Co, U.K., 1953)

Norman Giller
, Football Author