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.

In 1949, Gusztáv Sebes assumed the helm of the Hungarian national team. From 1950 to 1956, Sebes meticulously constructed a formidable squad that would define an era. Their achievements were nothing short of extraordinary, highlighted by a legendary victory over England at Wembley in 1953. It was a historic moment, as they became the first continental European team to defeat England on their own soil.  owever, their sole defeat came in the 1954 World Cup Final against West Germany, a team they had previously defeated 8-3 in the group stage. This loss prevented Hungary from claiming the World Cup title and solidified their status as one of the greatest teams to have never won the tournament. The Germans referred to it as the "Miracle of Bern," which cast a shadow over the otherwise exceptional record of 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 Mighty Magyars had a formidable core of players, including Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor, József Bozsik, and Gyula Grosics, who had already been representing the national team since the late 1940s. During that period, Laszlo Kubala was touring Spain with his exile team, catching the attention of both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the summer of 1950. In 1950, Ferenc Deak was nearing his peak, but his goal output declined after that year. István Nyers was in the midst of his career at Inter Milan, later moving to AS Roma in 1954. Gyula Zsengellér continued playing in Italy, while Sándor Szűcs remained alive. Unfortunately, Ferenc Rudas suffered a serious injury in March 1950, which prematurely ended his career. In an alternative scenario, if we consider these players for the 1954 World Cup team, Sándor Szűcs, Gyula Zsengellér, and Ferenc Rudas would not be available. Additionally, there would be uncertainties regarding Ferenc Deak. The only realistic addition would be Laszlo Kubala.

Predicting the outcome of Hungary's performance in the 1950 World Cup would have been highly challenging. Their head-to-head record against some of the tournament's top teams provides interesting insights. It is notable that Hungary did not face Brazil or Uruguay until the 1954 World Cup Finals, where they eliminated both teams. Their match against Brazil, famously known as the "Battle of Bern," was a significant victory for Hungary. Against 3rd place Sweden, Hungary played two matches in 1949, winning one and drawing the other. Their encounters with Spain were limited to two matches in the 1920s, both resulting in losses for Hungary.

Regarding their history with England, Hungary had never defeated them until the iconic 1953 match. Prior to that, their encounters had not yielded positive results. Against Italy, since losing the World Cup Final in 1938, Hungary had faced them four times, with two losses and two draws. The most recent match took place in 1949, ending in a 1-1 draw. It is unlikely that these past matches would have been clear indications of what was to come in the 1950 World Cup.

The 1950 tournament saw many unexpected outcomes, as the two heavy favorites, Brazil and England, suffered agonizing defeats. Brazil's loss to Uruguay in the famous Maracanaço match and England's defeat against amateurs from the United States demonstrated that anything could happen in that World Cup. While Hungary might have been considered one of the favorites on paper, the unpredictability of the tournament made it impossible to foresee the final outcome.
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 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  
During the early stages of Gusztáv Sebes' tenure, he made the decision to drop several of Hungary's star players, a move that drew criticism from those who believed it was influenced by political pressure and correctness of the time. While it is suggested that these dismissals may have been politically motivated rather than based on sporting needs, it is important to recognize the remarkable transformation that took place under Sebes' leadership. He successfully molded the national team into one of the greatest in history, simultaneously revolutionizing tactical approaches of the time. The question arises: were the players truly "unjustly" dismissed, as previously mentioned? It becomes apparent that Sebes' motives behind these dismissals, whether political or sporting, should be considered irrelevant. What truly matters is the success that Sebes achieved both on and off the field. He must have been doing something right in terms of team performance and fostering a positive environment within the locker room.  It is worth noting that Sebes was not the first coach, across any sport, to build a team consisting of players he believed would 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.
-- 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.
-- 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 him.  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.
-- 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 un Hungary, 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, which led to him representing Czechoslovakia at the international level.  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 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.
-- 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 netted 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.  In the 1948-1949 season, his club team Ferencvárosi scored a staggering 140 goals in 30 matches, with Deák contributing 59 of them.  However, his career took a downturn when he clashed with ÁVH officers at a party in 1950, leading to his replacement by Nándor Hidegkuti and branding him a political risk. Additionally, his playing style, reminiscent of a physical, old-fashioned English striker, did not align with Gusztáv Sebes' system. 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
-- As mentioned earlier, Gusztáv Sebes favored Nándor Hidegkuti over Ferenc Deák for the national team after 1950. Hidegkuti, known for his versatility and adaptability, did not fit the mold of an old-fashioned English striker like Deák.  Known as "Golden Head", Sándor Kocsis's 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. 

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.

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.

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.


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  2. I would like to post this article on the website if you can give me permission, please

  3. I want to publish this formation on the website I ask for authorization

  4. Just want to say how interesting your articles are. I haven't read this yet but much respect to you! A great success when I found your blog when I search info about belarus football

  5. 1 Grosics
    2 Buzánszky
    3 Lantos
    4 Lorant
    5 Balogh
    6 Bozsik
    7 Kubala
    8 Hidegkuti
    9 Kocsis
    10 Puskas
    11 Nyers

    Sándor Szűcs was not Lajos Szűcs. Also Rudas was injured, as mentioned by Lincoln himself. Balogh was player of the year in 1945. He seems like a good lock on the door versus the South American teams. Perhaps using a modern formation hacks/corrupts the realism of this hypothetical team. If so, maybe Sárosi can replace Lorant or Buzánszky to play WM.