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207 vs. Hungary
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287 vs. Hungary
Wednesday, 25 November 1953
International Friendly Match

England 3 Hungary 6
Empire Stadium, Empire Way, Wembley Park, Wembley, Middlesex
Kick-off (GMT): 2.15pm.
Attendance: '100,000' (first six-figure crowd -  a new record for England at Wembley);
Receipts: '£49,900.'

"The claret red shirts splashed across the deep green of Wembley like a bottle of spilled wine, and the English shirts looked anæmic in the face of this flood."
Billy Wright won the toss Hungary kicked-off

[1-1] Jackie Sewell 15 14:46

 'Johnson intercepted a ball from Kocsis, swepted 60 yards upfield, parting to Stan Mortensen, who beat the defence with a pass to Sewell' right-footed from 8yds across the goal



[2-4] Stan Mortensen 38 37:23
beat man after man set up by George Robb
[0-1] Nándor Hidegkutu 1 0:42
'took a pass from József Bozsik toppled the defence with a beautiful swerve and shot a smash from [15] yards high over Merrick's head'
[0-1] Nándor
Hidegkuti scores: disallowed offside 11

[1-2] Nándor Hidegkuti 20 19:56
Ferenc Puskás, on the ground under a challenge from Ramsey, managed to get his pass into the centre, for Hidegkuti to unleash a 12yd right-footed drive that Eckersley failed to stop
[1-3] Ferenc Puskás 24 23:36
'beat Ramsey by simply trailing the ball back with his fooot and' 6yd right-footed strike into the near post
[1-4] Ferenc Puskás 27 26:54
 a 20-yard József Bozsik free-kick that Puskás backheeled in from 12-yds
3.0 Football: England v. Hungary.
4.0 Watch With Mother: The Flowerpot Men 5.0 Children 7.55 Weather.
8.0 Newsreel 8.15 'Time Slip'
Eric Barker Half-hour
9.15 England v. Hungary. 10.45 News.


Alf Ramsey penalty 59 58:56
 aa side-footed penalty kick to Grosics' left

 (Grosics fouled Robb)
[2-4] Sándor Kocsis header hits post 52 51:47
[2-5] József Bozsik 52 51:55
picked up the rebound to strike right-footed a 20-yard drive into the top corner
[2-6] Nándor Hidegkuti 56 55:17

6-yard volley from a Ferenc Puskás looping cross
This week's Music Charts

second half live - Commentator: Kenneth Wolstenholme
Officials from Netherlands England FIFA ruling on substitutes Hungary Party
Referee ("clad in a grey suit")
Leopold Sylvain Horn
37 (29 August 1916), Sittard
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.

Teams presented to the Earl of Athlone, the FA President.
flame flag               Linesmen            orange flag
Klaas Schipper
42 (2 December 1910), Groningen
Johann Bronkhurst
39 (3 March 1914), Velp
England Team
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 3rd to 4th
Colours The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, black socks with white tops.
P 36th of 43, W 20 - D 9 - L 7 - F 97 - A 56.
Captain Billy Wright
Manager Walter Winterbottom, 40 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
record 40th of 90, W 24 - D 8 - L 8 - F 104 - A 58. Trainer: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic FC) P 58th of 139, W 37 - D 12 - L 9 - F 174 - A 77, inc. one abandoned
  ³ Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Harold Shentall on Thursday, 19 November.
England Lineup
  five changes to the previous match (Rickaby, Quixall, Hassall, Lofthouse & Mullen out) league position (19 November)  
  Merrick, Gilbert H. 31
303 days
26 January 1922 G Birmingham City FC (FL2 5th) 17 27ᵍᵃ
first to 27ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 33
307 days
22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 14th) 32 3 ³
16th successful penalty kick (27th overall) oldest to take & score a penalty final app 1948-53
      16 July 1925
3 Eckersley, William 28
132 days
LB Blackburn Rovers FC (FL2 8th) 17 0
final app 1950-53
4 Wright, William A. 29
292 days
6 February 1924 RHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL 2nd) 55 3
most apps 1952-53
5 Johnston, Harry 34
60 days
26 September 1919 CHB Blackpool FC (FL 6th) 10 0
final app 1946-53
6 Dickinson, James W. 28
215 days
24 April 1925 LHB Portsmouth FC (FL 21st) 32 0
7 Matthews, Stanley 38
297 days
1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC (FL 6th) 36 9
725 8 Taylor, Ernest 28
84 days
2 September 1925 IR Blackpool FC (FL 6th) 1 0
the eighth Blackpool player to represent England only app 1953
Mortensen, Stanley H. 32
183 days
26 May 1921 CF Blackpool FC (FL 6th) 25 23
final app 1947-53
Sewell, John 26
305 days
24 January 1927 IL Sheffield Wednesday FC (FL 11th) 5 3
726 11
Robb, George 27
177 days
1 June 1926 OL Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 14th) 1 0
the 22nd Hotspur player to represent England only app 1953
unused substitutes: Bert Williams (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL 2nd)), Joe Kennedy (West Bromwich Albion FC (FL TOP)) and Harold Hassall (Bolton Wanderers FC (FL 5th)).
team changes: Tom Finney (Preston North End FC (FL 12th)) was the original named outside-left, a groin injury forced his withdrawal on 22 November. He was replaced by Robb the day after.
team notes: Ernie Taylor and George Robb become the 74th & 75th players to be fielded by Winterbottom, they also become the 89th and 90th to be named onto the teamsheets.
penalty notes: Alf Ramsey becomes the first player to score from the penalty spot three times. Already the oldest and most experienced penalty-kick scorer.
records: This defeat ended a record sequence of six matches unbeaten at Wembley by England.
goalscoring records: Nat Lofthouse ends the year as top goalscorer for the third successive year. His six goals coming across eight matches.
The England team were set up in their Hendon headquarters prior to this match, training on Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge ground.... at the same time as the dog-racing trials, and at the Bank of England ground at Roehampton the day before the match.
2-3-5 Merrick -
Ramsey, Eckersley -
Wright, Johnston, Dickinson -
Matthews, Taylor, Mortensen, Sewell, Robb.
Averages: Age 28 years 130 days Appearances/Goals 21.0 3.5
=most experienced post-war team so far
Hungary Team
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd to 1st
Colours "Cherry Red" buttoned-up collared jerseys, white shorts, white socks with green/red tops
Captain Ferenc Puskás Selection Selection Committee headed by Gusztáv Sebes
Team chosen in London on Monday, 23 November 1953.
Trainer: Gyula Mándi
Hungary Lineup
1 Grosics, Gyula, injured off 83rd min. 27
294 days
4 February 1926 G Budapest Honvéd SE 28 21ᵍᵃ
no number in the second half
2 Buzánszky, Jenő 28
205 days
4 May 1925 RB Dorogi FC 20 0
4 Lóránt, Gyula 30
292 days
6 February 1923 RCB Budapest Honvéd SE 22 0
6 Zakariás, József 29
245 days
25 March 1924 LCB Vörös Lobogó SE 28 0
3 Lantos, Mihály 25
57 days
29 September 1928 LB Vörös Lobogó SE 27 1
Bozsik MP, József 27
362 days
28 November 1925 DM Budapest Honvéd SE 45 4
Hidegkuti, Nándor 31
277 days
3 March 1922 AM Vörös Lobogó SE 33 24
7 Budai, László 25
129 days
19 July 1928 OR Budapest Honvéd SE 19 7
8 Kocsis, Sándor P. 24
65 days
21 September 1929 IR/F Budapest Honvéd SE 33 35

Puskás, Ferenc 26
238 days
1 April 1927 IL/F Budapest Honvéd SE 52 61
most apps & goals
11 Czibor, Zoltán 24
94 days
23 August 1929 OL Budapest Honvéd SE 26 6
Hungary Substitute
scoreline: England 3 Hungary 6
  Gellér, Sándor, on 83rd min. for Grosics 28
136 days
12 July 1925
in Veseuş, Romania
G Vörös Lobogó SE 4 1ᵍᵃ
result: England 3 Hungary 6

unused substitutes:

Imre Kovács (Vörös Lobogó SE), Lajos Csordás (Budapesti Vasas SE), Péter Palotás and Károly Sándor (both Vörös Lobogó SE), Mihály Tóth and Pál Várhidi (Budapesti Dózsa SE).
team notes: Grosics was eventually replaced after 83 minutes because of an arm injury he sustained in attempting to save Ramsey's penalty.
the substitution: "seven minutes from time Grosics appealed to the referee to be allowed to retire with an arm injury, and his deputy Geller, jumping so high for joy, he hit his head on the crossbar, was allowed to take over."
4-(1-1)2-4 Grosics (Gellér) -
Buzánszky, Lóránt, Zakariás, Lantos -
Bozsik -
Hidegkuti -
Budai, Kocsis, Puskás, Czibor.
Averages: (start)
Age 27 years 173 days
27 years 192 days
Appearances/Goals 30.3 12.0
most experienced opposing side so far
              Match Report by Mike Payne

There can be no words to adequately describe the feelings of the 100,000 people present at Wembley Stadium on this dull and grey November afternoon. The game, which was talked about for as long as football is played, produced one of the most exciting and breathtaking team performances the world has ever seen.

The disappointment that was felt by England, at last losing their long and distinguished unbeaten home record against foreign opposition, was certainly tempered by the knowledge that the record was finally taken by such a superb team. The current Olympic champions were simply magnificent!

Hungary tore through the home defence almost at will and the goal tally in no way flattered them. Indeed, England had a rude awakening to the true realities of world football. Many regular supporters had realised before the game that the writing had been on the wall for some time. Recent performances had not been good but the sheer devastation of this result will take some getting over.

Hungary scored after only 60 seconds. A forceful burst by Bozsik, Zakariás and Hidegkuti ended with the centre-forward selling the England defence a perfect dummy before crashing home a fierce shot.

England were stunned and never really fully recovered. To be fair they did have their moments and they equalised after 15 minutes play. Just before that goal, though, Hungary produced a brilliant move between Czibor and the marvellous Puskás which was finished off by Hidegkuti. Thankfully, from England's point of view, it was disallowed by the Dutch referee for offside, but if it had counted it would have been one of the greatest goals ever. As it was, England came away and somehow snatched an equaliser.

This too came following a splendid move. Harry Johnstone picked the ball up in his own half and fed a good pass forward for Stan Mortensen to run on to. He, in turn, found Jackie Sewell and the inside-left scored with a lovely left-foot shot wide of the driving Grosics. Any thoughts England had of victory were soon nipped in the bud as within 13 devastating minutes Hungary had forged a 4-1 lead.

They ripped open the heart of the England defence with some scintillating football. On 20 minutes superb play by Puskás, Czibor and Kocsis gave Hidegkuti the chance to score from close range, Straight after that, Kocsis sent Czibor away down the right. Bill Eckersley had no answer to his skills and the winger passed inside to Puskás. The podgy inside-forward then produced a piece of sheer magic, a drag back that totally fooled Billy Wright, and enabled him to drill home a ferocious left-foot shot into the roof of the net between Gil Merrick and the near post.

Minutes later, Bozsik took a free-kick and the ball flew past Merrick off of Puskás heel. England were in total disarray, having no answer to the cherry red shirted marvels. To their credit and mainly due to the skills of Stanley Matthews and Mortensen they managed a slight rally which brought them a second goal. George Robb forced Grosics into a spectacular save and then Mortensen sped through after receiving a throw-in to score with a glorious shot. The crowd rose to that goal and it was reminiscent of earlier glory days of English football.

Alas, it was the only glimpse the crowd would get this day of England at their beast as after the break the Hungarians put the finishing touch to their famous victory. Only ten minutes of the second half had gone when the score was 6-2. First Boszik hit a tremendous rising shot for number five and then Hidegkuti completed his personal treble when he volleyed home after a lob by Puskás.

Although England had the last say in the goalscoring they never looked like producing the miracle they needed to come back from such a scoreline. The final goal came from the penalty spot after Mortensen was brought down on the hour. Alf Ramsey was the scorer.

England's proud record was shattered. They were beaten in every aspect of the game and history must now be rewritten. Hungary had everything and their game was made up of long and short passing with absolutely lethal finishing. The capacity crowd would never forget them.

              Match Report by Norman Giller

This was England's first defeat by foreign opponents on home territory, and the match that changed the face of English football. The Hungarians, Olympic champions and on a run of twenty-nine successive matches without defeat, played to a flexible 4-2-4 formation and made England's 2-3-5 pattern seem about as outdated as a hansom cab on a motorway. Nandor Hidegkuti, a deep-lying centre-forward, nipped in for a hat-trick as two-goal Ferenc Puskás pulled the defence inside out. England were flattered by the 6-3 scoreline. Alf Ramsey, Bill Eckersley, Harry Johnston, Ernie Taylor, Stan Mortensen and George Robb never played for England again. Taylor and Robb were making their debuts. Hungary had given just a taste of what was to come in the first minute when Hidegkuti collected a through ball from Puskás, deceived centre-half Johnston with  a distracting dummy and then fired the ball high into the net from twenty yards. Gil Merrick was left flapping at mid-air. Moments after Sewell had equalised in the fifteenth minute England were flattened by a thirteen minute burst of Magyar magic. Two goals from the purist Puskás and another from the elusive Hidegkuti made it England 1, Hungary 4. The 100,000 Wembley spectators could not believe their eyes. Stan Mortensen pulled it back to 4-2 by half-time. But any hope England had of getting back into the game died within ten minutes of the second half. First the cultured Jozef Bozsik scored with a rising drive, and then Hidegkuti completed his hurricane hat-trick when he put the finishing touch to a dazzling succession of passes that ripped the England defence apart. Alf Ramsey scored a late penalty after his Tottenham team-mate George Robb, a schoolmaster, was pulled down by goalkeeper Grosics. The final scoreline could easily have read 10-3 to the Hungarians. Billy Wright had never been given such a chasing in all his life as the one he got from Ferenc Puskás.

              Match Report by Glen Isherwood

Hungary were the Olympic Champions. They had beaten England 2-1 in 1934 in Budapest but had suffered heavy defeats in all their other meetings. England still held their proud unbeaten home record against foreign opposition (discounting the mainly British-based players of the Republic of Ireland in 1949 at Goodison Park) but the Hungarians had built a formidable side and they showed it in the opening minute when Nandor Hidegkuti's dummy took Johnston out of the way and enabled him to shoot past Merrick into the top corner.
Hungary kept on the pressure but England broke away to equalise when Johnston intercepted a Hungarian attack and ran upfield, eventually releasing a perfect pass to Mortensen, who provided Jackie Sewell with a chance to drive a low shot past Grosics. This was merely a stay of execution.
Within the next quarter of an hour, England were ripped to shreds by an overwhelming display of world-class skill and finishing. A Czibor cross was flicked on by Kocsis for Hidegkuti to score again. Ferenc Puskás made Wright look amateurish when he pulled the ball back as the defender committed himself and then smashed it into the roof of the net in the same movement. Five minutes later, a Bozsik free-kick was diverted past Merrick by the heel of Puskás.
England, typically, refused to lie down. Stan Mortensen forced his way through to score England's second before the interval but Hungary were just too good for them. A Czibor header was pushed onto the post by Merrick but Jozsef Bozsik drove home the rebound and then Puskás lobbed the ball up from Hidegkuti to complete his hat-trick with a volley.
Fifty six minutes had gone. England were 6-2 down and beginning to face up to the fact that Hungary were in a different class to them.
Alf Ramsey scored a penalty for England four minutes later after Robb had been brought down by Grosics, who went off injured ten minutes from time but the scoreline flattered England and the manner of their defeat made them realise that they would have to change their attitude and approach to succeed in world football.
The Hungarians emphasised their superiority by thrashing England 7-1 in Budapest six months later.
They went to the World Cup in Switzerland as odds-on favourites, but after being unbeaten for four years lost the final to West Germany despite being two goals up after eight minutes.


              Match Report as appears in the F.A. Yearbook 1954-55, page 24

This time the scoreboard unfortunately reflected only too fairly the rival strengths of the teams. It is but sparse compensation to be able to reflect that England lost her unbeaten home record to a team that played with brilliance, flair, and zest; and it is but painful irony to note that the Hungarians largely owned their victory to their mastering of the 'English Style'—interchanging forwards, a mingling of short and long passes, the same defensive tactics, but all performed with almost geometrical accuracy and ball control amounting to elegance. Apart from all this they overcame the traditional Continental weakness at finishing and shot four of their six goals from outside the penalty area.
Within 60 seconds the Hungarians took the lead when Hidegkuti successfully sold the dummy to Johnston before sending in a devastating shot. England then drew level after Mortensen made a well timed pass for Sewell to find the net. Three more Hungarian goals followed in quick succession: the first from Hidegkuti following a poor clearance by the English defence, the second from Puskas after juggling skilfully with a diagonal pass, the third also from Puskas who diverted a free-kick by Bozsik. Then shortly before half-time Mortensen dashed forward from a throw-in to score England's second goal.
Ten minutes after the interval Bozsik scored again and he was quickly succeeded by Hidegkuti who completed Hungary's triumph with a hat-trick. Though Ramsey converted a penalty to make the final score 6-3, the issue by then was no longer really at stake and a new page in the history of football had already been turned.

Domestic Football Results (25 November 1953)
FA Cup First Round Replays:
Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic 3 Southampton 1
Dean Court, Bournemouth
Fidler, Stephens, Cheney ~ Purves
Bradford City 0 Crewe Alexandra 1
Valley Parade, Bradford (6,733)
Mansfield Town 0 Hartlepools United 3
Field Mill, Mansfield
Wildon, Richardson, Linacre
The eyes of the south coast were diverted from Wembley by the Hampshire derby in which Bournemouth came from behind and got the better of the more-famous Saints in only their second meeting, the first being the drawn game at Southampton, four days earlier.


              In Other News....
It was on 25 November 1953 that Brian Little was born in Peterlee, County Durham. He spent his entire playing career with Aston Villa. It ended with a knee injury when he was only 26, but he had scored the goals that won them the Football League Cup in 1977, and he also won the competition as their manager in 1996. Little won one England cap, in 1975, coming on as a substitute for the last 17 minutes of a British Championship fixture against Wales at Wembley, and provided the cross for David Johnson's equaliser with five minutes left. France beat the Republic of Ireland, 1-0 in Paris to qualify for their first World Cup finals since the war.
              Source Notes
Original newspaper reports
Official matchday programme
The Complete Book of the British Charts
  Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record

Norman Giller, Football Author
Glen Isherwood's Wembley: The Complete Record
British Pathé