Sunday, August 7, 2022

What if Hungary went to the 1950 World Cup

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram


Hungary vs Poland 1949

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Austria 
Hungary
Sweden World Cup1950

Gusztáv Sebes took over the national team of Hungary in 1949. He moulded a team that destroyed every teams on their path from 1950 to 1956, including beating England on the "Match of the Century" at Wembley in 1953 and becoming the first continental European side to beat England on home soil.  Their only defeat came in the 1954 World Cup Final against West Germany, a team that they beat soundly 8-3 in the group stage of the same World Cup.  However, that defeat denied Hungary of a World Cup, and they became one of the greatest side that did not win the World Cup. The "Miracle of Bern" as the Germans called the 1954 World Cup Final was a fly in the ointment for the Mighty Magyars.  

Why did I create an imaginary World Cup Finals in 1950 for Hungary?  At first, I intended to recreate an alternative 1954 World Cup team with Laszlo Kubala, István Nyers and others. However, upon further study of the players, I realised that the 1950 World Cup had a bigger talent pool than in 1954.
The core of the Mighty Magyars namely Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor, József Bozsik and Gyula Grosics already played for the national team in the late 1940's. Laszlo Kubala was touring Spain with his exile team.  He caught the eyes of both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the summer of 1950.  In 1950, Ferenc Deak would be closer to his peak. His goal output sank after 1950.  István Nyers was in the middle of his career in Inter Milan.  By 1954, he left for AS Roma.  Gyula Zsengellér was still around playing in Italy. Sándor Szűcs would still be alive.  Ferenc Rudas had a serious injury in March of 1950, and that injury would end his career early.  In an alternative world,  I could easily "erase" his injury from history if it was only 3 months old.  If I turned this team into the 1954 World Cup team, I would have lost Sándor Szűcs, Gyula Zsengellér and Ferenc Rudas.  I would have question marks regarding Ferenc Deak.  Kubala would be the only realistic addition.  

Prediction
It was almost impossible to predict what would happen to Hungary in the 1950 World Cup.  Let's see their head-to-head against some of the best teams in the tournament.  Hungary never played play against Brazil or Uruguay until the 1954 World Cup Finals.  They eliminated both Uruguay and Brazil.  The match against Brazil was known as the "Battle of Bern".  Hungary played 3rd place Sweden twice in 1949.  They won one and drew the other match.  Hungary only played Spain twice up to that point. They lost on both occasions, but the matches were played in the 1920's.  Hungary of course never beat England, but we all knew about what would happen in 1953. Since losing the World Cup Final in 1938, Hungary played Italy 4 times.  They lost twice while drawing the other two times. The latest match was played in 1949 with a 1-1 draw.  I doubt any of the matches would be indications what would happen in Brazil.  The two heavy favorites heading to the 1950 World Cup Finals ended in agonizing defeats.  Brazil would lose the most important match against Uruguay in the match known as Maracanaço.  England as 'The King of Football" lost to amateurs from the United States.  Even through Hungary would have been one of the favorites on paper, anything could happen in 1950.
Hungary vs England in 1953

Team(only 22 players in 1950)
GK: Gyula Grosics 
Gyula Grosics was part of the legendary Golden Team of the 1950s. He was nicknamed "Black Panther".  He played in three World Cup Finals: 1954, 1958 and 1962.  He won the Olympic Gold medal in 1952.  He was the starting keeper when Hungary beat England in the historical match in 1952.  At the club level, he played for the legendary Honved FC, but transferred to FC Tatabánya after the 1956 Revolution.

Henni Géza started his career in Kiskunhalas. He later played for  Ferencvárosi between 1945 and 1950. from Kiskunhalas. From 1950 to 1956, he played for Újpest FC.  He played in 16 matches for the Hungary national football team from 1948 to 1953. He was also part of Hungary's squad at the 1952 Summer Olympics, but he did not play in any matches. In 1956 he left for the United States . He played for a while, and then he finished active football.

Buzánszky made his debut for Hungary on 12 November 1950 in a 1–1 draw with Bulgaria. He subsequently played 48 times for Hungary and as one of the legendary Mighty Magyars.  Unliked his teammates, he never played for Honved or MTK in his club career.  He started with Pécsi Vasutas SK.  He spent majority of his career with Dorogi between 1947 and 1960.  He was ranked as one of Hungary's greatest rightbacks.

At the age of 16, he played in the Pesterzsébet MTK team for the first time in the league. From 1940 to 1953, he was a footballer for Újpest. Three-time Hungarian champion (spring 1945, 1945–46, 1946–47), runner-up twice (1940–41, 1941–42) and third place twice (autumn 1950, 1951, 1952).  Between 1942 and 1950, he appeared in the national team 24 times. 

CB: Gyula Lorant  
After the War, Gyula Lorant tried to escape to the West, but was captured by the Communists.  He was released from detention so that he could represent Hungary.  He held 37 caps from 1949 to 1955.  He was a member of the Mighty Magyars that won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1952, beat England twice in 1952 and went the World Cup Final in 1954.  He was one of Hungary's most famous defender. At the club level, he also joined the super team Honved during the early 1950's.
Gyula Lorant 
CB: Sándor Szűcs
Sándor Szűcs played the best of his career playing for Újpest FC in the 1940's.  He was capped 19 times from 1941 to 1948.  He played briefly with Ferenc Puskas on the national team. Szűcs was tricked  into defecting by the ÁVÓ.  The state police captured him not far from the border. He was sentenced to death for High treason during a secret, pre-arranged trial and later executed in 1951.  He was only 29 years old.

LB: Mihaly Lantos 
Mihaly Lantos  is also a member of the Mighty Magyars.  He played for MTK Hungária FC and won three Hungarian titles, a Hungarian Cup and a Mitropa Cup. In 1955, as Vörös Lobogó SE, they also played in the first ever European Cup. Lantos, scoring three goals, including two penalties, helped the club reach the quarter-finals..  He was capped 52 times and scored 5 goals. 

Zakariás spent the peak of his career at MTK Hungária FC. Between 1949 and 1954, Zakariás won 35 caps for Hungary. As one of the legendary Mighty Magyars, he helped Hungary become Olympic Champions in 1952,  Central European Champions in 1953 and defeated England twice. He then helped Hungary reach the 1954 World Cup final. During the World Cup finals he played in four of the five games Hungary played in. 

CM: Jozsef Bozsik 
Jozsef Bozsik was considered the second best Hungarian player of all-time after his childhood friend Ferenc Puskus.  He was one of the greatest central midfielders in world football history.  He was also a member of the Mighty Magyars of the 1950's.  At the club level, he played for Honved.  After the Revolution of 1956, he returned to Hungary and continued to play for both Hungary and Honved.  He picked up 101 caps for Hungary between 1947 and 1962.
Jozsef Bozsik 
Between 1942 and 1945, he became a top footballer as a player for Elektromos. In 1946, he played for a short time in Cluj, then signed a contract with MTK. He played there until his retirement. Between 1948 and 1956, he appeared in the national team 23 times. In 1952, he was a member of the Olympic team in Helsinki, but did not play, so he did not receive a gold medal. He was Gyula Lóránt's reserve in the Golden Team.

Béla Sárosi was the brother of György Sárosi. In Ferencváros, he appeared in 326 matches between 1937 and 1946. In 1946, he moved aboard, where he played for Bologna and Bari in Italy.  And then, he went to South America to play for Junior Barranquilla.  He was player-coach with Porto, and finally with Real Zaragoza, Lugano and Millonarios FC.  Between 1939 and 1945, he appeared 25 times in the national team.  He went to the 1938 World Cup, but did not play.

Sandor earned 75 caps between 1949 and 1964 for Hungary, scoring 27 goals. Sándor was a member of the Golden Team, but manager Gusztáv Sebes favored Laszlo Budai in the early 1950's. He also participated in the World Cups in 1958 and 1962. He was their captain from 1962 onward.  Sándor started playing football in Kinizsi Móraváros in his hometown of Szeged.  He then played club football for MTK for the rest of his career between 1947 and 1964.  
Károly Sándor
RW:  László Budai
Budai was born in Budapest and played as a midfielder and forward for Ferencvárosi TC, Honvéd and Hungary. During the 1950s he was a member of the legendary Hungarian national team known as the Mighty Magyars. He won the Olymipic gold in 1952.  Other members of the team included Ferenc Puskás, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik and Nándor Hidegkuti. The stadium of Rákospalotai EAC was named after him.

LW/FW: Istvan Nyers 
Istvan Nyers was of the same age as the members of the Mighty Magyars, but he was not a member of them.  He was capped twice by Hungary between 1945 and 1946. Born in France of Hungarian immigrants, he moved back to Hungary and played for various clubs in Eastern Europe.  He joined Inter Milan in 1948, where he won two Serie A titles and finished as the top scorer of the league. He was considered a legend in Inter Milan.

LW: Zoltan Czibor 
Zoltan Czibor was widely considered to be one of the greatest left winger in history.  He was also a member of the Mighty Magyars of the 1950's.  After 1956. he fled to the West. He joined Ladislao Kubala and Sándor Kocsis to play for FC Barcelona. Together with Ramallets, Evaristo and Luis Suárez, they formed the great Barcelona team of the 1950's. He later played for Espanyol, t FC Basel, FK Austria Wien and Primo Hamilton FC.
Zoltan Czibor 
As of 2021, Szusza was the all-time second-top scorer in Hungary's top division, and the 11th highest among all top division players in the world. He played his entire career with Újpest FC between 1941 and 1960.  Their stadium, Szusza Ferenc Stadium, is named after Szusza. He played 24 times for Hungary scoring 18 goals between 1942 and 1956, but was a surprise omission from the side that won gold at the 1952 Summer Olympics. 

FW/SS/AM: Laszlo Kubala 
Born in Hungary of a multi-cultural background, Laszlo Kubala was known as one of the greatest Barcelona players ever.  He still managed to win 4 Li Liga titles in the 1950's in an era dominated by Real Madrid.  He also played for  Ferencváros, Slovan Bratislava, etc. In 1961, Barcelona eliminated Real Madrid from the European Cup, the first ever loss by Real Madrid at the tournament. He was capped by Hungry, Spain and Czechoslovakia. He was a guest player for Catalonia national football team.
Laszlo Kubala
FW/AM:  Nandor Hidegkuti 
Nandor Hidegkuti was a key member of the Mighty Magyars of the 1950's.  He was best remembered for the game vs England in 1953, where he scored a hat-trick.  Playing as a "False 9", the English defenders did not know how to defend him. A new position was born and the game was revolutionized. Unlike some of his teammates from the Mighty "Mgyars", he stayed in Hungary after 1956 and went to the 1958 World Cup Finals as an aging player.At the club level, he played for MTK Budapest.

Palotás spent all his entire playing career at MTK Budapest FC between 1950 and 1959.  While at MTK that Palotás, together with Nándor Hidegkuti and coach Márton Bukovi, pioneered the deep-lying centre-forward.  In 1955 he scored the first ever hat-trick in a European Cup game. Between 1950 and 1956, Palotás won 24 caps and scored 18 goals for Hungary.  He was a rival with his club mate Hidegkuti in the national team.

ST: Sandor Kocsis 
Sandor Kocsis was a prolific goalscorer for the Mighty Magyars in the 1950's.   He scored 75 goals in 68 appearances for Hungary between 1948 and 1956.  He scored 11 goals at the World Cup in 1954, the second highest for a single tournament.  He played for Honved at home before he went to play for Barcelona after the Soviet invasion in 1956.  With fellow Hungarian exiles Ladislao Kubala and Zoltan Czibor, Barcelona became a force in Europe.
Sandor Kocsis 
With over 795 goals in official matches scored during his career, Deák is the seventh top goalscorer of all time.  He topped the European top scoring list three times, in the 1945-46, 1946-47 and 1948-49 seasons. His best season was the 1945/46 league season, when he scored 66 goals in 34 matches, and because of it, he was voted the Hungarian Player of the Year. He played 20 matches for the Hungary national team from 1946 to 1949, scoring 29 goals, which is the highest goal ratio in international football.

Ferenc Puskas was one of the greatest footballers in history.  He scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, a team known as Mighty Magyars. He became Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup where he was named the tournament's best player.  He played with Honved at home and went to Real Madrid in 1958 after the Soviet invasion.  With Alfredo Di Stefano, Raymond Kapo, etc, Real Madrid became the greatest club team in history.
Ferenc Puskas

Player Pool
Sándor Gellér, János Palotai, István Turai, Sándor Ruzsa, Imre Kovács, Béla Kárpáti, József Kovács, József Újlaki (France), Ferenc Szojka, Béla Egresi, Gyula Szilagyi I, Nandor Banyai, György Babolcsay, Mihály Nagymarosi, Jenő Buzánszky, Gyula Zsengellér. 

Squad Explanation 
-- Liked all of my blog teams, I am the manager of this team, but I only used Gusztáv Sebes' selections as reference.
-- "A 5-2 pasting away to Czechoslovakia in April 1949 was a watershed moment for Hungarian football. Recently appointed coach Gusztáv Sebes did away with the established stars; in came youthful, malleable fresh faces like Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor," wrote Matthew Watson-Broughton on UEFA.com.  
-- At the beginning of Gusztáv Sebes' term, he dropped many of Hungary's star players. The critics of Hungarian regime said that he dropped players unjustly because of political pressure and correctness at the time.  The dismissals of those players were probably due to political reasons rather than sporting needs, I would say.  Nevertheless, he turned the national team into one of the greatest ever national teams while revolutionizing the tactics at the time.  So were the players really "unjustly" dismissed just as I mentioned?  Sebes' motive behind those dismissals should be considered irrelevant. He must be doing something right on the field as well as inside the locker room.  He was not the first coach in any sport who built a team consisted of his own players whom he believed to fit into his system.  Arrigo Sacchi also dismissed many of the Italian veterans when he took over the Azzurri in 1991(this blog was about Euyro 1992).
Gusztáv Sebes
-- Gusztáv Sebes' selections from 1950 onward might be a much better team than the so-called superstars I tried to form into this super team of 1950 World Cup Finals. Let's be honest.  Only a handful of people in this world who knew and had seen those individual players are still alive. I am not one of them.  Gusztáv Sebes knew all of the players inside out.  His team should be much better than mine.  I do not believe the additional of better players would have changed much in football and the fortune of any team.  It takes more than just better players to win a World Cup. My team I felt was more of an All-Star team with no tactics in mind. So why did I create this team? The pretentious answer would be to showcase the talent level of Hungarian football in the 1950's, but the true answer.... it is just for fun and why not?
-- Brazil's World Cup team of 1982 was a mythical team.  I only wanted to alter it with the minimum changes. The three new players Careca, Emerson Leão and Reinaldo have been mentioned by many people long before I started that blog team. Their inclusion were actually not too revolutionary.  The Mighty Magyars was also a "mythical" team.  But unliked Brazil in 1982, I did not have an actual team in the 1950 World Cup Finals to work with.  So my idea was to add super stars from Hungary in late 1940's while maintaining the core of Gusztáv Sebes' team of the 1950's.  
-- One of Gusztáv Sebes' ideas as the national team coach was to based their strength on having almost the entire national team from one or two clubs.  Ferencvárosi won the league title in the 1948–49 season, but the code of the team was dissolved as a result.  Kispest FC became the army team and was renamed Honvéd. Sándor Kocsis, Zoltán Czibor and László Budai joined them from Ferencvárosi.  Honvéd also added Gyula Lóránt and Gyula Grosics.  Since they already had Ferenc Puskás and József Bozsik, Honvéd became the backbone of Mighty Magyars and the super team in Hungary during the time.  MTK were taken over by the secret police and subsequently the club became known as Textiles SE.  Péter Palotás, Nándor Hidegkuti, Mihály Lantos and József Zakariás were their star players in the 1950's.  They were the other super team of the era. Meanwhile, Ferenc Deák and goalkeeper Henni Géza left Ferencvárosi for Budapesti Dózsa Sport Egyesület (Újpest) the police team.
-- Many of my information came from this website.
-- Ferenc Puskas and Laszlo Kubala were born in the same year. At 18, Puskas was already capped by Hungary A team, but Kubala only played on the B team on the same year.  In 1948, Kubala returned to Hungary and played his only 3 games for the national team.  He shared the same field with Puskas, Deak and Bozsik.  He failed to score any goal.
-- The undefeated streak by Hungary in the 1950's before the "Miracle of Bern" was monumental. I googled "Hungary undefeated record". The result has always been the same. Hungary went undefeated from 1950 to 1954. Their last defeat was against Austria in May, 1950. The RSSSF has the list of the games they played in that period.  In actuality, on May 27th, 1952, Hungary lost to Moscow XI  2-1.  It was the second match of a two game series played in Moscow.  Their opponent was actually the preliminary team of the Soviet Union preparing for the 1952 Olympic.  The game featured Hungary's regulars so I considered it a full team.  I found a Russian match report of the first game that ended in 1-1.  However, it was not a full international game.  The referee was from the Soviet Union.
Goalkeeper
-- No set number of goalkeepers was required for the World Cup in 1950.  Some teams I noticed had one goalkeeper on their team.  My Sweden's alternative 1950 World Cup team had three. 
-- Between 1949 and 1950, Henni Géza and Gyula Grosics were Hungary's goalkeeper of choices.  Géza played more times in 1949 while Grosics took over in 1950.  Both were on the 1952 World Cup team.  Grosics was of course Hungary's first choices throughout their Golden period.  
Gyula Grosics
-- Henni Géza was the best goalkeeper in Hungary after the war.  He helped Ferencvárosi to win the league title in the 1948–49 season, but the core of the team was dissolved for political purposes.  He was one of the players who moved from Ferencvárosi to Budapesti Dózsa Sport Egyesület (Újpest) in 1949.  According to a source, he signed for the police team because Sándor Csáki, the vice-president of Újpest promised to release his brother from prison.  He twice represented Hungary in 1951.  I found no information why he did not represent Hungary after 1953.  His last cap was in 1953 against Bulgaria, but it was the B team.  He left for the United States in 1956.
-- György Tóth was capped 15 times in the 1940's.  He was 34 in 1950.  So I would take a younger goalkeeper.  He was married to a handball goalkeeper.  Their son Zoltan was also an international goalkeeper for Hungary.  His grandson Chris represented the USA in beach soccer. 
-- Sándor Gellér would have been my third goalkeeper (see below for Béla Sárosi). He
 was the backup at the 1952 Olympics.  He earned his first cap in April, 1950.  He entered the field as a sub at the "March of Century" in 1953 against England.  
-- János Palotai, István Turai and Sándor Ruzsa also belonged to this generation. I had no information on István Turai and János Palotai.  Turai was described as spending a short time at the top flight.  János Palotai's brother Karoly captained the 1964 Olympic Gold medal winning team. Sándor Ruzsa only made two substitution appearance for Hungary between 1949 and 1950.  Géza Gulyás was also the backup at the 1954 World Cup.  He earned his first cap in 1952.
Defenders
-- In the 1950's, national teams usually carried less defenders than the modern teams.
-- For my United Kingdom Team of the 1970 World Cup Finals, I did not include Duncan Edwards.  He would be 34 years old in 1970.  I have debated with myself whether it was unethical to include a dead person in my series of alternative teams.  It might be considered to be "giving" the life back to Edwards if I included him, but it would be weird to see Edwards playing against Pele and Franz Beckenbauer in 1970. In the end, I could not include Edwards onto that team. However, Sándor Szűcs was alive in 1950. He tried to deflect in 1951, and was sentenced to death in the same year.  In 1947, he captained Hungary four times.  His record was later erased by the government.  He was probably Hungary's best defender in that period of time.  So I could not deny him of a place on the team. I was giving his life back in a way.
-- Gyula Lorant also tried to escape to the West.  In fact, he was the chief organizer of a group defection of Hungarian players in 1949, but the Communists arrested.  Gusztáv Sebes considered him a big part of the national team.  He himself interfered with the Minister of the Interior and he was set free.  Lorant joined the national team in 1949, and later became a member of Honvéd.
-- Both Mihaly Lantos and Jenő Buzánszky were key players under Sebes.  Lantos made his debut  in 1949 and became a fixture on the team. 
 Mihaly Lantos
-- Buzánszky's first international match did not come until the end of 1950.  He did not play again until a year later in 1951.  In between, he only played two international matches.  He finally played regularly for the nation team in 1952.  In the year 1950 and before, Sándor Balogh was a regular member of the national team.   His last international game was May, 1950. He would be 30 years old at the time of the World Cup Finals.  He was the captain of the national team as late as 1948.  He altered the rightback or leftback position.  He seemed to be the logic player over Buzánszky.  
-- Ferenc Rudas was one of the best defenders in the post-War period. He was the Hungary Player of the year in 1946.  He captained Ferencvárosi as they won the 1948-1949 league title.  Key members of the team were forced to leave the club in a political move that centralised all of Hungary's top players into two clubs, Honved and MTK (see above).  He however remained with Ferencvárosi. His active years with the national team were between 1943 and 1949. He suffered a serious injury in March, 1950.  I took an injured Denis Law to the 1970 World Cup Finals for both United Kingdom and Scotland.  However, Rudas' injury was a career ending one.  He did try to make comeback in 1951 and 1952, but he hardly ever played after his injury.  It was realistic to take him.  So I went back to Buzánszky. He was one of two primary members of the Mighty Magyars who did not play for Honved or MTK.   He was uncapped at the time of the World Cup Finals, but he won't be the first ever uncapped player in the tournament.  He was 25 years old in 1950.
-- CM/CB/LB: Ferenc Sipos was born in 1932.  He was 18 years old in 1950.  He did not make his debut for Hungary until 1957.  His older brother István Sipos a rightback was 22 years old, but he was only capped once in 1953. I did not consider him. Leftback Jenő Dalnoki of the Olympic team in 1952 was 18 years old in 1950, but he was playing on the first team of Ferencváros. Central defender Mihály Kispéter played poorly in a 7-2 loss against Sweden in 1942.  He seldom got selected for the national team after that, but his last cap was in 1953.  He replaced Ferenc Rudas as the captain of after Rudas retired from his injury in Ferencvárosi. They were not selected.
-- Josef Posipal was an important defender on West Germany's national team in the 1954 World Cup, and he was one of the top defenders of his time. He was born in Lugoj, Romania.  His father was a Danube Swabian, living in the Hungarian part of town, and his mother was Hungarian.  The Hungarian spelling of the name Poszipal can be found in the register of the Roman Catholic Church of Lugosch.  He understood Hungarian, and said to be an advisor to German coach Sepp Herberger before and during the 1954 World Cup Finals on the Mighty Magyars.  Ferenc Puskas said to have talked to Posipal during the first World Cup game between Germany and Hungary about defender Werner Liebrich who was guarding and later injured Puskas.  In the 1940's, he had Romanian citizenship not Hungarian before becoming a German citizen.  He was ineligible, but I might have taken him if he had a Hungarian passport at any time.
Midfielders/Wingers
-- Hungary-born Július Schubert was killed in 1949 at the Superga Air Disaster.   He was projected to be Valentino Mazzola's heir apparent in a few years' time.  He only played for Torino less than a year (5 games) and was used as a backup for Mazzola.   Since he was dead in 1950, I would not have selected him.  In the 1945-1946 season, he scored 34 goals for his club team, but barely made it in the top ten scoring table. Ferenc Deák had 66 goals and Gyula Zsengellér with 55 goals.  Ferenc Puskas then 19 years old had 36 goals.  In 1946, he was transferred to ŠK Bratislava, as a part of the resettlement campaign between Czechoslovakia and Hungary.  So he must be a Slovak.  Czechoslovakia capped him while he was playing for ŠK Slovan Bratislava.  So he was ineligible for this team, but he had an interesting story. In 1949, László Kubala was also due to play for Torino on the same trip, but he did not go because his son was ill.  Ferenc Deak was offered a contract by Torino, but he opted to stay in Hungary.  They avoided the air disaster.
-- József Bozsik needed no introduction. I would then take his midfield partner József Zakariás. Gyula Lorant could also play here, but I needed at least a few more midfielder.  Several Hungarian sources described József Zakariás as a leftback, but most English source said that he was a defensive midfielder.  He came from the village of Budafok, where Gusztáv Sebes also considered home.  It was said that Sebes allowed him to drink alcohol before Hungary's matches because of their special Budafok connection.  He made his debut in 1947 and was a key player on the "Aranycsapat".
József Zakariás bicycle kick
-- Imre Kovács and János Börzsei seemed to be the obvious choices.  János Börzsei was well-established from 1948 onward.  After 1950, Imre Kovács played more games, but at the time of the World Cup Finals, he only had two caps.  A third cap was a B international game against Romania in 1948. It was his last cap before his next senior cap in September, 1950. In total, he was only capped 8 times for his entire career.  Börzsei would have 11 caps at the start of the 1950 World Cup Finals.  He was more experienced in 1950 and the more logical choice.
-- Pál Imre Kovács who was born in 1917 retired in 1950. His name was similar with Imre Kovács which caused confusion during my research.  Ferenc Szojka was 19 years old in 1950. He just started with his club team Salgótarján BTC.
-- György Sárosi's brother Béla Sárosi would turn 31 years old a month before the World Cup Finals.  In the 1949-1950 season, he was playing in Serie A's Bari.  His statistics said that he played 21 games that season. He was known for his powerful physique. He was described as strong both defensively and offensively. From 1939 to 1945, he played 25 times for Hungary. He was the youngest member of the World Cup team that finished second in 1938, but did not play a single game.  Basically, he was a player I came across on the internet.  I had no idea about his level in 1950.  He continued to play across Europe after 1950.  His inclusion would depend if I took Sándor Gellér as my third goalkeeper.  Gellér only played once for Hungary right before the World Cup Finals.  So he was inexperienced while Sárosi would bring World Cup experience to the team. I decided to gamble on Sárosi the unknown player.
-- Károly Sándor and László Budai were rivals for the right wing position through their careers.  Budai was 4 months older than his counterpart.  He was the main right winger of the "Golden Team" .  Gusztáv Sebes preferred him over Sandor because he formed a world-famous partnership with Sándor Kocsis at the club level.  In the view of the fact that Budai played in the more high profile games, he was more famous than Sandor outside of Hungary, but Sandor might have a better overall reputation inside Hungary.  Károly Sándor was not even on the 1952 Olympic team, and he was only a non-playing member on the 1954 World Cup team. Between 1949 and 1964, he was capped 75 times and scored 27 goals. In the early fifties, he was mostly a reserve, but he became the captain of the national team from 1962 onward.  Nevertheless, he was recognised one of the greatest Hungarian footballers of that era.   So both were selected.
László Budai 
-- József Újlaki appeared twice with the Hungarian youth national team in 1947.  He played with Sandor Kocsi, Peter Palotas, László Budai and Mihaly Latos.  He is seventh on the French league's all-time scorer list with 190 goals in 438 top-flight matches. However, between 1952 and 1960, he was capped 21 matches for France.  He was a right wing so I did not need him. I did not even ponder about his eligibility nor I looked into his status in 1950. 
-- József Tóth played in all positions of the offensive line in his club team Csepel SC. In the national team, he only played on the right wing.  Mihály Tóth was more famous due to starting in the 1954 World Cup Finals as well as the famous match against Brazil (known as the "Battle of Berne"), but he actually had a total of 6 caps.  The two Toths were not brothers. Critics of Gusztáv Sebes said that he should not start leftwing Czibor Zoltán on the right and the inexperienced Mihály Tóth on the left in the 1954 final against West Germany.  According to Mihály Tóth, Czibor Zoltán played as a right wing alongside him when they were youth players on the railroad team. They had no chance with so many famous wingers on the team despite the fact that they were very famous themselves.   
-- In the 1949-1950, István Nyers scored 30 goals in 36 games for Inter Milan.  He was Serie A's second highest scorer that season.  It was one of his best seasons in Inter Milan.  
-- Béla Egresi was also a winger.  He had no chance with the players ahead of him.  I also came across right wing Mihály Kincses who was on Juventus's 1946-1947 Serie A winning team.  He had 17 caps for Hungary between 1939 and 1943.
Forwards
-- I do not need to get into Nandor Hidegkuti, Sandor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskas.  They became the core of the national team around the time of the World Cup Finals.  They were automatic selections.
Nandor Hidegkuti
-- At MTK, coach Márton Bukovi pioneered the deep-lying centre-forward that turned his club team into a powerhouse in Hungarian football in this period.  Hungary later borrowed this tactics fined-toned by both Nandor Hidegkuti and Peter Palotás at the club level.  Hidegkuti became famous for this position because of the game against England in 1953.  However, Peter Palotás was viewed as the same level with Hidegkuti for both club and country. So I had to take Palotas as well.
-- Ferenc Szusza scored 518 league goals in 472 matches for Újpest FC.  Their stadium Szusza Ferenc Stadium is named after him.  In July 1949, he suffered a serious injury. It was said that he was never the same gain, but I found no information to confirm that.   He continued to play for Hungary until after Hungary's loss in 1952 against Moscow XI (see above for this loss).  He only played once after 1956.  He cited an off field incident after the game in Moscow and a personal difference between him and Gusztáv Sebes as the main reasons for his snub. He was a big name in 1950 so I took him.
-- Laszlo Kubala played three games for Hungary in 1948 featuring alongside Deak and Puskas, but failed to score.  He came into the game as substitute for Nandor Hidegkuti against Romania. I did not know where he played in the game.  In January 1950, Kubala with his brother-in-law Ferdinand Daučík as coach, formed his own team Hungaria, which was made up of fellow refugees fleeing Eastern Europe.  I found almost very very little information on this team, but this team beat Real Madrid and Spain, a team preparing for the 1950 World Cup Finals.   In May 1950, Kubala was allegedly scouted by Real Madrid chairman Santiago Bernabeu in those games, but Josep Samitier took him to Barcelona instead. His fitness level in that summer was not in question.
-- Now, I had to study the two big stars of Hungarian football who posted the biggest question marks for this team.
-- Gyula Zsengellér would be 34 years old at the time of the 1950 World Cup Finals.  By late 1940's, it seemed that Zsengellér had passed his prime.  He only played 6 times for AS Roma in the 1948-1949 season. The following season (the season before the World Cup Finals), he was playing with AC Ancona in Serie C helping them to reach Serie B in that year.  He did not return to Ancona the following year because of a FIFA ban on Hungarian exiles playing professionally abroad around that time. He then joined a group of Hungarian refugee players a team called Hungaria FbC Roma playing exhibition games. He was one of my original reasons to create this 1950 team, but in the end, I would not take him.
-- From 1947 to 1949, Ferenc Deák scored 121 goals in 81 games for Ferencvárosi TC.  In the 1945-1946 season, he scored 66 goals. It remained a world record for the number of goals scored in a single season.  In the late 1940's, his numbers were better than Ferenc Puskas in the Hungarian league.  During the 1948-1949 season, his club team  Ferencvárosi scored 140 goals in 30 matches, and Ferenc Deák scored 59 of them.  However, he was phrased out by Gusztáv Sebes for Nándor Hidegkuti after he fought with ÁVH officers in a party in 1950.  He was considered to be a political risk.  His playing style also did not fit Sebes' system.  He was a physical old-fashioned English type of a striker.  His last international match was on November, 1949.  That year, he scored eleven goals in eight games which would be his last year playing for the national team.  During the 1949-1950 season, Ferencváros (then, known as ÉDOSZ SE) finished second in the league.  I read that he played 23 times only scoring 21 goals, but his statistics was milky.  In wikipedia, he was not listed among the top scorer for the season.  It listed his teammate Sándor Kocsis scoring 21 goals as the 4th highest scorer. But in Kocsis' entry in wikipedia, he scored 30 goals that year, which would make him the second highest scorer.  Another fan's blog also said that he scored 30 goals. I had no clue which was the correct statistic.  His status was unclear in the year 1950, but I would not ignore him given of his reputation at the time.
Ferenc Deak
-- Mentioned above, Sebes did prefer Nandor Hidegkuti over Deak for the national team after 1950.  Hidegkuti was obviously not the old fashioned English type of striker, but what about Sándor Kocsis? Kocsis nicknamed "Golden Header" was also a mainstream of Sebes' team.  His heading technique was celebrated at the time, but he seemed to be similar with Deak who had much better statistics while playing together for both club and country. Upon further inquiry, Kocsis was also described as "mobile", "good at positioning" and "with fine passes" by a Hungarian source.  He seemed to be more than a target man.
-- Désiré Koranyi whose brother Lajos was on Hungary's 1936 World Cup team was still an active player in the French league.  He was 36 years old in 1950.  His prime would have been in the war years.  He was also capped 5 times by France and never by Hungary. 

Formation
The importance of Gusztáv Sebes cannot be underestimated. His tactics – especially the concept of a deep lying centre forward – revolutionised a game where the majority of club and international sides had played the WM formation for the previous 20 years. The introduction and success of the Hungarian 3–2–3–2 formation led other managers and countries to experiment with the 3–2–3–2 eventually evolving into the 4–2–4 formation.

Basically, I wanted to play Ferenc Puskas and Ferenc Deak up front.  I am not sure if Laszlo Kubala had ever played as a false 9 and Nandor Hidegkuti was a big part of Hungary's offence in the 1950's.  He could take his position back, and I replaced Ferenc Deak with Kubala.  Deak in the 1949-1950 seemed to have duped in form. Sándor Szűcs was not a leftback, but I wanted to field the best three defenders on the field.


World Cup 1954
Although this team was about the World Cup in 1950, most football history buffs would have imagined what would happen if some of those new players went to the 1954 World Cup Finals.  I could not help not to think about it.  I have not studied the players at the time of the 1954 World Cup so the 22 member squad was not set.  Laszlo Kubala and István Nyers seemed to be the only player who would be selected for my alternative team.  István Nyers had a temporary setback the season before the World Cup. In the 1953-1954 season, he had a disagreement with Inter Milan's management.  He was often benched and managed only 8 goals, but he was considered a big star player at the time.  He moved to AS Roma in the summer of 1954, where he did enjoy two more great seasons. Meanwhile, Ferenc Deak was a shadow of himself while Ferenc Rudas had retired.  Ferenc Szusza, Károly Sándor and Henni Géza might be going to Switzerland on my team, but I needed further research on the subject.
Hungary 1954
I have been doing a series of  alternative teams.  They were just for fun.  The addition of new players might look good on the paper, but it would take more than good players to win a game.  Some of the star players at the time were removed for political reasons, but Hungary without them went through an undefeated run unprecedented in history.  It would be hard to build a better team than the original Mighty Magyars. 

The "Miracle of Bern" happened for many reasons.  Of course, an injured Ferenc Puskas was often cited as the main issue that caused Hungary's defeat in the Final.  He was inserted into the starting lineup when he was not 100% ready.  The new players might be able to replace him in the World Cup final.  However, Puskas probably would have started in the Final regardless of the situation. 

Mario Zagallo did start Ronaldo at the 1998 World Cup final.  According to various source, Ronaldo wanted to play.  I do not know what I would have done if I were Mario Zagello, but I understood why Mario Zagello started Ronaldo. It was the biggest stage of Ronaldo's career at that point, and it would be difficult to deny his biggest star's insistence to start.  Ronaldo's situation in 1998 (he suffered a severe fit, and his heart allegedly stopped beating) was far worse than Puskus' ankle injury.  In fact, Puskas was reportedly ready to start in the semifinal, but Sebes stayed put.  Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also persuaded West German coach Jupp Derwall to start him despite doubts about the player's fitness at the 1982 World Cup final.  So if I were the manager of Hungary in 1954, I probably would have started Puskas even through I had Kubala and possibly Deak or Szuszaat at my disposal.

My starting lineup against West Germany
On the original lineup, Gusztáv Sebes placed Zoltán Czibor on the right wing while benching László Budai and starting Mihály Tóth.  No one was sure why Sebes did this, but playing Czibor as an inverted winger was probably not what he had in his mind. On my lineup, I restored Czibor the left while starting Budai on the right.  Kubala could replace either Kocsis or Hidegkuti.  For me, I started Hidegkuti because he was big part of Hungary's offensive tactics. So I took Kocsis.

Prediction
The outcome of the team was hard to predict.  The rainy weather on the day of the Final favored the Germans' style of play. They also had received newly designed Adidas boots prior to the final that helped them to play in such condition.  It was alleged that the Germans used methamphetamine, a performance-enhancing drugs that was not a banned in 1954.  Ferenc Puskás also scored a late goal, but the  linesman ruled it offside. However, this decision turned out to be more likely wrong.  So it was also down to bad luck that Hungary lost the game.  And Laszlo Kubala or anybody could not change that.

Conclusion
The Revolution of 1956 would eventually the downfall of Hungarian football.  They had missed their golden opportunities in 1950 and 1954 to win the World Cup.  In the 1950's, West Germany was a country that needs healing for its wartime past.  The "Miracle of Bern" gave the nation its hope, but it would take 18 years before West Germany could claim its football to be the best in Europe. The 1972 European Championship was often perceived to be the turning point in European football.  In quarterfinal, West Germany first beat England for the first time in history, and then displaced the Soviets as the top team in Europe by winning the Final.  Ironically, Hungary's "last dance" at the top of European football also came at the 1972 European Championship.  They reached the semifinal with star players such as Ferece Bene and Florian Albert. No other star player was produced after that generation. They never reached the same height again.  In fact, it took them another 34 years before they qualified for the next European Championship Finals, and they only managed to play in three World Cup Finals since then.










Thursday, May 5, 2022

Northern Macedonia Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram


Euro 2020 Finals
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Historically, Yugoslavia is loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. They only reached two European Championship Final in the 1960's and an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960.  After the breakup of Yugoslavia,  CroatiaSerbiaSlovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have qualified for major tournaments.  I have created individual all-time teams for them.  This is the all-time team for Northern Macedonia.

In 1994, the Republic of Macedonia became a single member of FIFA and UEFA after the independence and split of the Yugoslavia. They recorded their first match as a 4–1 victory against Slovenia in a friendly on 13 October 1993 under coach Andon Dončevski. They went on to win their next two friendlies against Slovenia and Estonia.  

North Macedonia made their Euros debut in 2020, postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All three Group C matches ended up in a loss, to Austria, Ukraine and the Netherlands; Goran Pandev equalized against Austria in the 28th minute and Ezgjan Alioski scored against Ukraine. North Macedonia was the second debutant, after Finland.

This is my all-time team for Northern Macedonia. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  
First ever World Cup Qualifiers in 1996

Team 
GK: Blagoje Vidinić (Yugoslavia)
Vidinić played for FK Vardar, Radnički Beograd and OFK Beograd in Yugoslavia, and then with FC Sion of Switzerland. In 1967, he joined Los Angeles Toros, and the team became San Diego Toros in the newly formed NASL, before moving to St. Louis Stars. He played for Yugoslavia in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, winning silver in the former and gold in the latter. He also played in the 1960 European Championship when Yugoslavia finished second.
Blagoje Vidinić 
GK: Blagoj Istatov (Yugoslavia)
In 1963 he started playing for FC Belasica. He played for FC Belasica until 1968, when he signed for FC Pobeda from Prilep, and for which team he played 31 matches. In 1973 he signed for Partizan, for which team he had played 44 matches, and with this team he won first place in the 1975-1976 season in the Yugoslav First Football League. From 1976 to 1978 he played for FC Utrecht. 

GK: Petar Miloševski (Northern Macedonia)
Petar Miloševski was capped over 50 times for Northern Macedonia.  He made his senior debut for Macedonia in a March 1998 friendly match against Bulgaria and has earned a total of 59 caps, scoring no goals. His final international was a February 2009 friendly against Moldova.  He started football in FK Pelister club and later,  played for FK Vardar in the 1997-1998 season.  He transferred to Trabzonspor from FK Vardar in 1998 .  After 3 years of playing in Trabzonspor, he was transferred to Malatyaspor. 

RB/CB: Vujadin Stanojkovic (North Macedonia)
Vujadin Stanojkovic was capped 21 times and scored 1 goal for Yugoslavia between 1988 and 1992, including two matches at the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. Between 1994 and 1995 he got 7 caps for the newly established Macedonian national team.  His main club was FK Partizan where he played between 1989 and 1993. Later, he played in Sweden for Degerfors IF and Trelleborgs FF. He retired in 1998. Born in what is now Macedona, he is an ethnic Serb.
Vujadin Stanojkovic
CB/LB: Ilija Najdoski (Yugoslavia/Northern Macedonia)
Ilija Najdoski played for Red Star Belgrade and was part of their European Cup victory in 1991. He also played in Spain for Real Valladolid in Spain's La Liga and Denizlispor in Turkey's Super Lig.  He represented both Yugoslavia and Republic of Macedonia in international matches. He played in the first ever official match of Macedonia, played on 13 October 1993, against Slovenia.

CB: Kiril Dojčinovski (Yugoslavia)
Dojčinovski started playing in the youth team of FK Vardar in 1958. He successfully made his way into the senior squad, and after a few seasons he made a transfer to Red Star Belgrade. During his club career he played for Vardar Skopje, Crvena Zvezda, Troyes and Paris FC. With Red Star he won one Yugoslav championship and one cup. Between 1968 and 1970, he played 8 times for Yugoslavia.

CB: Nikolče Noveski  (Northern Macedonia)
Noveski moved from FK Pelister Bitola to F.C. Hansa Rostock in 1998, but did not play much. He then played in the lower divsion around Germany.  After Mainz 05 was promoted to the Bundesliga, they signed him in 2004.  He beame their captain during the 2007–08 season.  He held the second appearance record for the club.  For the Macedonian national team Noveski played 64 international matches and scored five goals. 

CB: Goce Sedloski (North Macedonia)
Goce Sedloski started his career at Pobeda Prilep at home in 1994 before leaving it for Hajduk Split. He then played for Sheffield Wednesday in England before joining Dinamo Zagreb in 1998.  He also played for Japan's Vegalta Sendai, Turkey's Diyarbakirspor and Germany's SV Mattersburg.  Sedloski made his debut for the Northern Macedonian national team in 1996, earning a total of 100 caps and scoring 8 goals from then until 2010.
Goce Sedloski 
LB: Kiril Simonovski (Yugoslavia) 
Kiril Simonovski started with a local club in Skopje named FK Jug, before moving to Gragjanski Skopje in 1938.   He also played with Macedonia Skopje, FK Vardar and FK Partizan.  He played two matches for the Bulgarian national team (as Kiril Simeonov) in 1942 when the region was occupied by Bulgaria.  After the war, he was capped 10 times by Yugoslavia between 1946 and 1949.

LW/LB: Nikica Klinčarski  (Yugoslavia)
Nikica Klinčarski  played a total of 518 matches for FK Partizan between 1978 and 1985 being by this the second player with most games played in the club, behind Momčilo Vukotić with 752. He played in the Major Indoor Soccer League in the United States under the name of Nicky Klincarski in the mid-1980's.  He also played in Sweden. He played 8 times for Yugoslavia between 1980 and 1983.  He went to the 1980 Summer Olympic.

DM: Dragi Kanatlarovski (Yugoslavia/Northern Macedonia)
Kanatlarovski played for FK Pelister before moving to FK Vardar where he will play 4 seasons. In 1989, he moved to Red Star Belgrade. He played one season in Belgrade., After that season he moved to Spain where he helped Deportivo La Coruña to be promoted back to La Liga.  He earned his only cap for Yugoslavia in 1990. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia he represented Macedonia 9 times between 1993 and 1995. He played in the first ever official match of Macedonia in 1993.

DM: Boško Gjurovski (Yugoslavia/Northern Macedonia)
Boško Gjurovski was a long-time servant of Red Star Belgrade, where he played for eleven years. He was very much loved by Red Star fans, especially after his brother, Milko, joined bitter rivals FK Partizan.  Between 1989 and 1995, he played for Servette in Switzerland.  He earned a total of 4 caps for Yugoslavia. In 1994, he accepted a call-up to represent Northern Macedonia. He earned a total of 7 caps, scoring 3 goals.

AM/RW: Eljif Elmas (Northern Macedonia)
Elmas started his career at FK Rabotnički in his native Macedonia.  After two seasons with Fenerbahçe, he moved to Napoli in 2019.  Elmas was born in Macedonia to a family of Turkish descent.  He represented Northern Macedonia in football.  At the time of writing, he has 38 caps.  He is one of the country's best players.  He helped the national team to reach the Finals of Euro 2020 as well as a wonderful run in the World Cup Qualification for Qatar 2022.
Eljif Elmas 
AM/LW: Enis Bardhi  (Northern Macedonia)
Bardhi started his career for KSF Prespa Birlik in Sweden.  From 2014 to 2017, he played for Ujpest in Hungary.  In 2017, he joined Levante in Spain.  He became a star with the team.  He was eligible to represent North Macedonia , Albania or Kosovo in football.  Since 2015, he played for Northern Marcedonia.  He was Macedonian Footballer of the Year in 2017.  He is one of the country's best players.  He helped the national team to reach the Finals of Euro 2020 as well as a wonderful run in the World Cup Qualification for Qatar 2022.

WF: Metodije Spasovski (Yugoslavia)
Spasovski played a total of 647 games in all competitions between 1963 and 1974 for hometown club Vardar, scoring 212 goals and ranking him second on both the club's record appearances and scorers lists. He later played for  FC Saarbrücken in Germany.  He made his senior debut for Yugoslavia in a December 1968 friendly match against Brazil in which he immediately scored a goal and has earned a total of 3 caps, scoring 3 goals. 

AM: Dragoslav Sekularac (Yugoslavia)
Dragoslav Sekularac was considered one of the best player in Yugoslavia and Red Star Belgrade history.  From 1955 to 1966, he played for Red Star Belgrade. He later played for Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia for five seasons, before transferring to Millonarios from Bogotá and ending his playing career in the German Bundesliga with Karlsruher SC.  For Yugoslavia, he played 41 times. He played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals, where his team reached the semifinal in 1962.  
Dragoslav Sekularac
CM : Toni Savevski (Yugoslavia/Macedonia)
Savevski is widely regarded as one of the best foreign players to have played in the Greek football league. He started his career in Pelister Bitola and then played for Vardar Skopje until 1988.He spent 13 years with AEK, winning the Greek championship 4 times (1989, 1992, 1993, 1994) and the Greek cup (1996, 1997, 2000) 3 times. He earned  2 caps for Yugoslavia before debuting for Macedonia in1994. He earned another 8 caps for Macedonia.

FW Vasil Ringov (Yugoslavia)
Ringov played with FK Partizan and FK Teteks. where he would become the club's main star. From 1977 to 1983, he played for FK Vardar. He became the main player at the club, having played until 1986.  He had a half season spell in NK Dinamo Zagreb, and near the end of his playing career, another half season spell, this time in 2. German Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig.

FW: Kuzman Sotirović (Yugoslavia)
Sotirović first started playing in youth sections at BSK Belgrade, and, after becoming a standard first-team member, won the best championship scorer in 1928, scoring 6 goals in 5 appearances. The very next season he went to France and played for FC Sète and Montpellier SC.  Between 1928 and 1931 Sotirović also played for Yugoslavia. He is considered to be the first player born on the territory of modern-day North Macedonia to play in the Yugoslav national team.

FW/LW: Goran Pandev (North Macedonia)
Goran Pandev was the greatest and the most important footballer for North Macedonia after the post-Soviet era,  He began his football career with FK Belasica.  He played for Lazio from 2004 to 2009.  He also played for Inter Milan, where he won the 2010 Champions' League Final, starting in the Final match on the left side.  He also played for Napoli, Galatasaray and Genoa.  With Napoli, he won Coppa Italia: 2011–12, 2013–14. He was capped over 100 times for Macedonia. 
Goran Pandev 
ST: Sokrat Mojsov (Yugoslavia) 
Sokrat Mojsov started his career with Vardar as a youth player, and quickly moved up the ranks to the senior team. He played 362 times and scored 166 goals in all competitions for them. He played 2 years in France for Stade Rennais, in Ligue 1 and retired in 1973.  He played 3 times for Yugoslavia between 1964 and 1966.  He was known for his header ability.  His first international was against the Soviet Union.

ST: Milko Gjurovski (Yugoslavia/North Macedonia)
Djurovski started out at Red Star Belgrade, making his senior debut in 1979, aged 16. He spent a total of 7 seasons in their first team, winning two national championships.  In 1986, Djurovski made a controversial move to rivals Partizan. He stayed for four years.  Internationally, Djurovski represented both Yugoslavia and Macedonia. He earned six caps for Yugoslavia between 1984 and 1985, scoring two goals. He briefly played for  Macedonia, making 3 appearances in 1994. 

ST:  Darko Pancev (Yugoslavia/North Macedonia)
Darko Pancev was the European Golden Boot winner in 1991 when he scored 34 goals.  With Red Star Belgrade, he scored 84 goals from 91 league appearances, and winning the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in 1991.  In 1992, he made a move to Inter Milan, but his career never took off after the European Cup. He also played for Fortuna Düsseldorf in Germany. He was capped 27 times for Yugoslavia and 6 times for Macedonia.
Darko Pancev 

Honorable Mention
Stole Dimitrievski, Oka Nikolov, Jane Nikolovski, Tome Pachovski, Igor Mitreski, Boban Babunski, Čedomir Janevski, Stefan Ristovski, Nikica Klinčarski, Branko Klenkovski, Artim Šakiri,Veliče Šumulikoski, Spasoje Nikolic, Vanco Balevski, Kuzman Sotirović, Milko Gjurovski, Ezgjan Alioski, Mitko Stojkovski, Agim Ibraimi, Ilija Nestorovski, Gjorgji Hristov, Ilija Nestorovski and Saša Ćirić, Aleksandar Trajkovski.

Squad Explanation
-- The blog team was created in 2014 as the "former Yugoslavia all-time team without Croatia and Serbia" team.  In 2020, I decided to separate Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia from this team.  Thus, the team became Northern Macedonia/Monetenegro/Kosovo all-time team.  Finally, I created a separated team for 
Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, but Kosovo is a difficult team top research.
-- Northern Macedonia is relatively new to international football. So I found this team very hard to research.  So I am unsure if I got my selections correctly.
-- The ethnic issue is very sensitive in the region.  I used both birthplace and/or ethnicity as criteria for players who played under the former Yugoslavia.  I used national team as the criteria for the players after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
-- Kiril Simonovski is known as the first Macedonian to play for the national team of Yugoslavia.  However, researchers later concluded Kuzman Sotirovic who was born in Gostivar but grew up in Belgrade was the first footballer capped by Yugoslavia.  He represented the country in the 1928 Olympics. He played for Sete and Montpellier in France between 1928 to 1932.
-- The Euro 2020 was Northern Macedonia's first major tournament that they had qualified.  After the tournament, North Macedonia reached the UEFA World Cup qualifying play-offs by finishing second in their group behind Germany.  They won five of their ten games, including a 2-1 victory over the Germany.  In the playoff, they beat the defending European Champion Italy 1-0 before losing to Portugal in the final playoff match.  I selected three players from that generation.  They were Eljif Elmas, Enis Bardhi and Goran Pandev.  Pandev is probably the greatest player ever from this region in terms of contributions.   
Goalkeeper
-- Blagoje Vidinić was often mentioned as their greatest goalkeeper. He played in the 1960 European Championship Final against the Soviet Union.  The Soviet goalkeeper on that match was Lev Yashin.
-- Petar Miloševski is the most capped goalkeeper for Northern Macedonia. He edged out another post-Yugoslavia goalkeeper Tome Pachovski.
Petar Miloševski
-- The big question was Dragan Mutibarić.  He actually was born in Serbia.  He joined Varder in 1966 at the age of around 20 years old.  However, he was often honored as an all-time great in Macedonia even through he was not from the region.  He simply played club football over there.  For the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, I found many such cases.  I decided to stick with birth place and ethnicity as the criteria for almost all cases.  So I decided not to select Mutibarić.  I needed to be consistent with all of my teams.
-- So the third goalkeeper was difficult.   I decided to go with Blagoje Istatov.  I did not see his name being ranked by anybody in the English language source. However, I found several source talking about his greatness from Macedonian source.  One Macedonian source mentioned that Dragan Mutibaric considered Istatove one of the greatest goalkeepers from here.  According to his wikipedia profile page in Macedonian, he played for the Yugoslavian national team. However, I found no information on it. His Obituary from Partizan made no mention of it. 
-- Stole Dimitrievski was the starting goalkeeper at Euro 2022.  At the time of writing, he is the starting goalkeeper at Rayo Vallencano.  However, most of his career was spent on the lower division. The German-born Oka Nikolov's career was between between the top two divisions.  I also looked into Jane Nikolovski.  
Defender
-- The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) listed Kiril Dojčinovski and Ilija Najdoski as their starting central defenders on their Northern Macedonia All-Time Best XI team.  I took both of them. I was going to take Najdoski without looking at IFFHS.  He was a member of my Red Star Belgrade All-Time team.  
-- Then, I selected Goce Sedloski who had played 100 times for Northern Macedonia and served many times as their captain. He was their second most capped player. 
-- I took Nikolče Noveski over Čedomir Janevski.  Jenevski appeared in many lists, but he did not play much during his club career in Belgium.  Noveski, on the other hand, had a long career with Mainz 04.  He is the second most appearance record holder over there. So Jenevski only made honorable mention.
Nikolče Noveski 
-- Then, I took Vujadin Stanojkovic who played as both central defender and rightback.  He had experience playing in the World Cup. He is a ethnic Serb, but he chose to play for Macedonia, where he was born. So he is eligible due to his national team.  Ideally, I should take another rightback. Stefan Ristovski of their Euro 2020 team made honorable mention.
-- Kiril Simonovski (North Macedonia) was the first Macedonian to play for the post-1945 Yugoslav national team.  He was the first Macedonian captain of the national team .  I honoured him with a spot for his historical role.  Nikica Klinčarski is the second player with most games played in the Partizan.  He was listed as a left wing, but I believed he was also a leftback.  Ezgjan Alioski had been an important player for Leeds United, but he mainly played in the lower division.  He made honorable mention along with Mitko Stojkovski who played in the Bundesliga. 
-- Boban Babunski was also mentioned.  Babunski had two sons, David and Dorian.  The former played youth football with FC Barcelona, whilst the latter did the same at Real Madrid.  They might be the only brothers who had played for the two rivals in La Liga.
Midfielders/Wingers
-- I did not have many choices for defensive midfielders.  I selected Dragi Kanatlarovski and Boško Gjurovski.  Both were mentioned frequently.  Kanatlarovski seemed to be one of FK Vardar's greatest midfielders.  Boško Gjurovski was a legend with Red Stars Belgrade. His brother Milko made honorable mentions as a forward (see below). 
Arijan Ademi was banned by UEFA for two years after he failed a drug test.  This did not affect his status with this team, I just did not select him. Veliče Šumulikoski was another option at this position.  
-- Branko Klenkovski who spent many seasons playing for Red Stars Belgrade was listed among the greatest from here.  He was one of the most decorated players in the club's history.  I believed that he was a defensive midfielder.  I did not take him because he was born in Belgrade.  I did not know how he was connected to the region.
-- CM Toni Savevski was considered one of the three greatest foreign players ever graced the Greek league.  He played for them during AEK's most successful period.  A fan poll chose him as AEK's greatest foreign player over Rivaldo.  I discovered this player while doing a research on AEK Athens.
-- I also looked into Blerim Džemaili who was born in Northern Macedonia, but grew up in Switzerland..  He made 280 appearances in Serie A, but he was ineligible because he played for Switzerland.
-- Dragoslav Sekularac was born in modern day Northern Macedonia to a Montenegrin father.  Since I considered ethnicity an important factor, I ruled him eligible.   He was also on my Montenegro All-Time team because of his father. He was nicknamed "King of Dribble".  He made the Team of the Tournament in Euro 1960, where Yugoslavia finished second, and Yugoslavia also reached semi-final of the 1962 World Cup.  He was one of the best ever players from Yugoslavia.
-- At the time of writing, Eljif Elmas is only 22 years old, but he has done enough to be on this team.  He already made his mark for Napoli in Italy.  He was Northern Macedonian Footballer of the Year in 2019.  He played in a major tournament (Euro 2020) and contributed to Northern Macedonia's great World Cup qualifying campaign in 2022 as one of their most important player.  
-- Enis Bardhi is a versatile player.  He is an attack or central midfielder, but he can also play as a left winger.  He is one of Levante's greatest footballers.  He is their highest ever foreign scorer.  He is probably one of greatest player ever from here.
Enis Bardhi
-- I do not know which side of the wing Metodije Spasovski played on, but he was mentioned many times as one of Northern Macedonia's greatest footballers.
-- Vasil Ringov was a hero of Vardar.  He was selected by the IFFHS on their All-Time Northern Macedonia Best XI.
-- Spasoje Nikolic played in Italy and France during the 1950's.  He was a pioneer in football, but I only put him on honorable mention.
-- Agim Ibraimi won Northern Macedonia Player of the Year twice.  
He was left footed, but played on the right wing.  I decided not to select him.  
Forwards
-- Goran Pandev had a long successful career playing in Italy, including winning the Champions' League with Inter Milan. His national team career lasted for more than 20 years.  He led them to Euro 2020 Finals. He is the most important player ever from here.  He is the country's all-time top scorer with 38 goals.
-- Darko Pancev was the European Golden Boot winner in 1991 when he scored 34 goals.  His career after Red Star Belgrade did not go well, but nevertheless, he was selected as Macedonia's UEFA Jubilee player as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.
-- Andon Dončevski is FK Vardar's all-time leading scorer.  I rewarded him for being a local hero.  I also selected Sokrat Mojsov for the same reason.
-- Kuzman Sotirović might be a surprise selection.  He was the first player born here to have represented Yugoslavia.  He played in the French league.
Kuzman Sotirović
-- Aleksandar Trajkovski is the second all-time leading scorer for Northern Macedonia.  He was named North Macedonia Player of the Year in 2015.  He scored the winning goal against Italy that sent the national team to the UEFA World Cup playoff against Portugal in 2022.  His career within the top flights in Italy and Spain did not standout.  He spent more time in lower division over there.  I only out him on honorable mention.
-- When Milko Gjurovski moved to Partizan from Red Stars Belgrade, it caused a big controversy in Yugoslavia at the time.  His transfer was ranked the 13th most important and significant in the history of Yugoslav football.  I did not have a spot for him. He was the 23rd player taken. 
-- I also studied Gjorgji Hristov, Ilija Nestorovski and Saša Ćirić.

 Formation