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373 vs. Rest of the World

Wednesday, 21 October 1953
Football Association 90th Anniversary Celebration Match

England 4 Rest of the World 4 [2-3]

Empire Stadium, Wembley Park, Wembley, Middlesex
Kick-off (GMT): 2.30pm

Attendance: 97,000 (sold-out); Receipts: �49,100.

England kicked-off Rest of the World won the toss Match Summary
England Party
Rest of the World Party
[1-1] Stan Mortensen 7
 13-yard low shot from a precise Lofthouse pass


[2-3] Jimmy Mullen 40
 walked the ball into the net after a Zemen mistake
[3-3] Jimmy Mullen 48
 shot that squeezed in from the corner of the 6-yard box from a rebound

[4-4] Alf Ramsey 89
powerful penalty hit high
[0-1] Ladislav Kubala 6
penalty to the right of Merrick

[1-2] Giampiero Boniperti 15
6-yard tap in from a low Zebec cross
[1-3] Giampiero Boniperti 38
12-yard low shot from a Nordahl pass

[3-4] Ladislav Kubala 63
25-five yard drive that beat the diving Merrick
Commentator: Kenneth Wolstenholme

Match Summary




Rest of the World

Referee (black) - Benjamin Mervyn Giffiths
x (-), Wales.

Linesmen -
H. Bauwens, Belgium (flame flag), and V. Orlandini, Italy (orange flag).
Teams presented to Guest of Honour, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery.
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.
This match, retrospectively, is not recognised as official by FIFA, even though, FIFA choose the team and made requests regarding the officials.
  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO record no rating
Colours: The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks.
Capt: Billy Wright, 38th captaincy Manager:
Trainer: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic FC)
Walter Winterbottom, 40 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
56th match, W 36 - D 12 - L 8 - F 168 - A 70, one abandoned. Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Harold Shentall on Wednesday, 14 October 1953.
England Lineup
  Merrick, Gilbert H. 31 26 January 1922 G Birmingham City FC 15 20ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 33 22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC 31 2 (2)
fifteenth penalty kick scored - oldest to score
3 Eckersley, William 28 16 July 1925 LB Blackburn Rovers FC 15 0
4 Wright, William A. 29 6 February 1924 RHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 53 3
5 Ufton, Derek G. 25 31 May 1928 CHB Charlton Athletic FC 1 0
6 Dickinson, James W. 28 24 April 1925 LHB

Portsmouth FC

30 0
7 Matthews, Stanley 38 1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC 34 10
8 Mortensen, Stanley H. 32 26 May 1921 IR Blackpool FC 24 22
9 Lofthouse, Nathaniel 28 27 August 1925 CF Bolton Wanderers FC 18 19
10 Quixall, Albert 20 9 August 1933 IL Sheffield Wednesday FC 2 0
11 Mullen, James 30 6 January 1923 OL Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 8 4

unused substitutes:

Ted Ditchburn (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Ray Barlow and Ronnie Allen (both West Bromwich Albion FC)

team notes:

The team trained on Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge ground before the match.
Billy Wright extends his record appearance tally, and appropriately so, in a team playing its most-experienced post-war side so far.
Derek Ufton becomes the first England player not to appear against any particular country, in doing so, he becomes Winterbottom's 100th player chosen to his parties (72nd to make the field).

penalty notes:

Alf Ramsey becomes the third player to score from the penalty spot twice. Already the oldest and most experienced penalty-kick scorer.


This is a record sixth match unbeaten at Wembley by England.
2-3-5 Merrick -
Ramsey, Eckersley -
Wright, Ufton, Dickinson -
Matthews, Morthensen, Lofthouse, Quixall, Mullen


Age 29.3 Appearances/Goals 21.0 5.1


Rest of the World Team

Not regarded as an official FIFA match. Colours: Light blue buttoned-up collared jerseys, white shorts, blue socks with blue and white vertical striped tops.
Capt: Ernst Ocwirk Manager:
Trainer: Walter Nausch
Masseur: Walter Max
Party chosen by FIFA Selection Committee headed by Karel Johannes Julianus Lotsij, 60 (Netherlands, 3 March 1893) on Thursday, 1 October 1953 in Amsterdam, following a trial match against FC Barcelona. Team chosen Tuesday, 20 October.
Rest of the World Lineup
1 Zeman, Walter, tactical off 46th min. 26 1 May 1927
born in Vienna
G Sk Rapid, Austria
2 Navarro Perona, Joaqu�n 33 2 August 1921
born in Barcelona
RB Real Madrid CF, Spain
3 Hanappi, Gerhard 24 16 February 1929
born in Vienna
LB Sk Rapid, Austria
4 Čajkovski, Zlatko 29 24 November 1923
born in Zagreb
RHB Fk Partizan, Yugoslavia
5 Posipal, Joséf 26 20 June 1927
born in Lugoj
CHB Hamburger SV eV, Germany
6 Ocwirk, Ernst 27 7 March 1926
born in Vienna
LHB Fk Austria Wien, Austria
7 Boniperti, Giampiero 25 4 July 1928
born in Lugoj
OR Juventus FC, Italy
8 Kubala Stecz, L�szl� 26 10 June 1927
born in Buda-pest
IR FC Barcelona, Spain
9 Nordahl, Nils Gunnar 32 19 October 1921
born in HÖrnefors
CF AC Milan SpA, Italy
10 Vukas, Bernard 26 1 May 1927
born in Zagreb
IL HNK Hajduk Split SDD, Yugoslavia
11 Zebec, Branislav 24 17 May 1929
born in Zagreb
OL Fk Partizan, Yugoslavia
Rest of the World Substitutes
scoreline: Rest of the World 2 England 3
  Beara, Vladimir, on 46th min. for Zemen 24 2 November 1928
born in Zelovo
G HNK Hajduk Split SDD, Yugoslavia
result: Rest of the World 4 England 4

unused substitutes:

Ernst Happel (Sk Rapid), Karl Stotz (Fk Austria Wien), Andr�s Bosch and Estanislau Basora (both FC Barcelona)

team notes:

Alfredo de Stefano, originally named to the squad, was not permitted to play because of a dispute between the Spanish FA and Colombian FA over the players' transfer.
The Rest of the World team had the use of Fulham FC's Craven Cottage ground to train on.
2-3-5 Zemen (Beara) -
Navarro, Hanappi -
Čajkovski, Posipal, Ocwirk -
Boniperti, Kubala, Nordahl, Vukas, Zebec.


Age 27.1 Appearances/Goals


    Match Report by Mike Payne

This superb match was arranged to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Football Association and although the Rest of Europe side was somewhat of a makeshift eleven, the two teams produced a suitably memorable occasion. In fact the visitors almost ended England's proud record of never losing to a continental side on home soil. It was magnificent entertainment and the 97,000 crowd thrilled to the superior skills of the Europe team.

They were also thrilled by the never-say-die spirit of the England lads. Three times they came back from being behind and it all culminated in one of the most exciting climaxes that this famous old stadium had ever seen.

From the start it was obvious that England were going to struggle. The silky skills of Kubala, Vukas and Zebec constantly exposed the home defenders. Alf Ramsey and Bill Eckersley looked particularly vulnerable and the FIFA team should have done more with their superiority. The different styles quickly gelled and the Europeans pushed the ball around in short sharp bursts, creating many openings and spreading panic through the England ranks.

England got off to a dreadful start by conceding a first-minute penalty. Hanappi sent a lovely through pass for Vukas who was clear of the defence. Eckersley, chased back but his despairing tackle succeeded only in giving Kubala the chance to score from the resultant spot-kick.

Three minutes later England hit back. Playing their usual long ball game they put together a fine move as a lovely reverse pass by Nat Lofthouse  sent Stan Mortensen galloping clear through the middle. The Blackpool star moved forward confidently before hitting a great cross shot wide of Zemen to equalize. Although that goal levelled the scores, the Rest of Europe side were putting some tremendous play together and on 15 minutes deservedly regained the lead.

This time superb play between Ockwirk and Nordahl gave Zebec the chance to get past Ramsey and then centre for Boniperti to cut inside and crash home number two. The same player then repeated his strike in the 39th minute cutting in past Eckersley to fire home after another good pass from Vukas.

England, 3-1 down and fighting for their lives, were then given a gift two minutes before half-time. A terrible mix-up between Navarro and Zeman gave Jimmy Mullen the chance to pull a goal back. Zeman had struggled against the England crosses and was once saved by his crossbar after a Stan Matthews centre had beaten him.

After the break the goalkeeper was replaced by Beara of Yugoslavia, much to the annoyance of the England players. Matthews had been England's star of the half and although Hanappi contributed much to the visitor's attack, defensively he never lived with the Blackpool star.

The undoubted fighting spirit of the England players shone through brightly early in the second half when they forced another equalizer. A splendid dribble and centre by the irrepressible Matthews found Mullen running in at the far post to shoot home. Mortensen then hit a post as play swung from end to end and the Rest of Europe missed several good chances before both Mortensen and Lofthouse inexplicably missed with headers. The match was on a knife edge.

With 25 minutes to go Zebec popped up on the right wing. His centre was met by a tremendous Kubala left-foot shot which flew into the top corner with Gil Merrick groping helplessly. It looked all over with only Matthews and occasionally Mortensen looking likely to pull the game out of the fire. Only a desperate dive by Merrick prevented Kubala adding another goal with the 'keeper just managing to get a touch on to the post after a fierce cross shot.

But then, just as it seemed that the record had gone, England summoned up one last determined effort. With only seconds remaining, a burst by Mortensen was ended by Cajkovski's clumsy challenge and the referee awarded a penalty. Imagaine what must have been going through Ramsey's mind as he stepped up to take the kick. He showed no nerves though and he confidently crashed the ball into the net to end a tremendous afternoon's football.

    Match Report by Norman Giller

An Alf Ramsey penalty in the last minute gave England a draw in a showpiece match to mark the Football Association's 90th birthday. England trailed three times against the European all-stars in a Wednesday afternoon match that provided a feast of football for the 97,000 spectators. Some forty-six years later FIFA saw fit to downgrade the game to non-international status, but the Football Association awarded Billy Wright a cap and it stays in English records as a full international. That is good news for talented Charlton defender Derek Ufton, a solid batsman and understudy at Kent to wicket-keeper Godfrey Evans, who won his only cap in the game. England took the game very seriously because there was a lot of pride and prestige at stake. Considering they had only been together for a couple of days, the Rest of Europe side played some magnificent football. The pick of the players was Ladislav Kubala, who had been the first of the outstanding Hungarians to switch his football allegiance to Spain. Ask anybody from Barcelona or Budapest and they will tell you that he was in the class of Puskas. He had wonderful ball control and the ability to make space for himself with clever changes of pace. A naturally gifted genius, Kubala left Hungary just before the rise of their greatest of all teams. Just imagine how good they would have been had he still been available for selection! Kubala AND Puskas to mark. The mind boggles!

    Match Report by Glen Isherwood

England were still unbeaten at home against continental opposition. They had met a Europe side only once before, beating them 3-0 at Highbury in 1938 on the FA's 75th anniversary.

The FIFA select took the lead when Hanappi sent Vukas away down the middle. Eckersley brought him down and Ladislao Kubala scored from the spot. Within three minutes, though, England had equalised. Stan Mortensen took a pass from Lofthouse and ran on to shoot low past Zeman.

But they went behind again when a cross from Zebec was slammed in by Gianpiero Boniperti. Six minutes before half-time Boniperti scored again from a pass by Vukas to leave England's proud record in grave danger. But just four minutes later, a mix-up between Zeman and Navarro gave Jimmy Mullen an open goal from which to reduce the arrears. FIFA swapped goalkeepers at half-time but the new man Beara could do little about England's second equaliser. From a Matthews cross Mullen scored his second off the post. With 25 minutes remaining FIFA took the lead for the third time. Zebec crossed and Kubala struck a great shot into the corner. England seemed to have met their match but with seconds remaining Cajkovski brought down Mortensen and Alf Ramsey rescued England at the death from a penalty.

England's record was to finally fall in their very next appearance.

    The Top Twelve UK Music Chart by New Musical Express

On Friday, 15 November 1952, The New Musical Express published the first ever singles chart in the UK. However, when England drew with the FIFA team, Guy Mitchell's Look At That Girl was the best selling single for the second week in a row. When the chart of Friday, 16 October 1953 was published, there were ten surviving songs from the last chart when England played:-

1. (=) Look At That Girl - Guy Mitchell (Philips) 7. (9) Mother Nature And Father Time - Nat 'King' Cole (Capitol)
2. (=) I Believe - Frankie Laine (Philips) 8. (4) Let's Walk That-A-Way - Doris Day & Johnnie Ray (Philips)
3. Hey Joe - Frankie Laine (Philips) 9. (11) Terry's Theme From 'Limelight' - Ron Goodwin (Parlophone)
4. (3) Where The Winds Blow - Frankie Laine (Philips) 10. (8) Kiss - Dean Martin (Capitol)
5. (=) Terry's Theme From 'Limelight' - Frank Chacksfield (Decca) 11. (12) Eternally - Jimmy Young (Decca)
6. (7) The Song From The Moulin Rouge - Mantovani (Decca) 12. Answer Me - David Whitfield (Decca)
♪Most weeks at number one when England played: Frankie Laine four, Guy Mitchell two, Al Martino and Lita Roza one each

Source Notes

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 Ltd, 2006)

Norman Giller
, Football Author
officialcharts.com singles chart