Cup Special: World Cup returns to Europe after 16 years, in the 5th edition of the tournament

In the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, the Germans defeated the Hungarian favourites, and Brazil didn't go very far.
2022-07-28 14:11:33

Sambafoot offers a retrospective of every World Cup edition as a warm-up for the 2022 competition. This week, we discuss the 1954 fifth edition, which took place.

Europe was finally allowed to watch the World Cup on its continent once again after 16 years of waiting. The last one had taken place in France in 1938. This comeback was delayed by the Second World War (1939–1945) and the Brazilian edition in 1950. Switzerland was selected as the tournament’s host nation, since the nation is hosting FIFA’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

That edition included sixteen teams, featuring favourites like Italy and Uruguay. This is due to the fact that, up to that point, just these two nations had won the most significant football championship on earth.

How was the 1954 World Cup?

From June 16 to July 4, 1954, the World Cup’s fifth iteration was held. In 26 games, 140 goals were scored, which remains the highest average of goals (5.38) in Cup history. Brazil, which had previously finished in second place at home, aimed to win their first trophy in order to forget the horrors of Maracanazzo.

But Hungary stood in the way, creating a barrier. The Hungarians, who had previously finished second in 1938, stunned the world with an outstanding performance in the group stage under the leadership of Puskas and Kocsis.

Four groups of four teams each were formed from the 16 teams. While Italy, another feared team, were unable to make it through group play, Uruguay proved their preference by finishing first in group 3.

The groups

Check below which teams qualified from each of the 1954 World Cup groups.

  • Group 1: Brazil and Yugoslavia qualified/France and Mexico were eliminated;
  • Group 2: Hungary and Germany qualified/Turkey and South Korea were eliminated;
  • Group 3: Uruguay and Austria qualified/Czechoslovakia and Scotland were eliminated;
  • Group 4: Switzerland and England qualified/Italy and Belgium were eliminated.

Final phase

Hungary had already established themselves as the most feared team in that tournament after defeating South Korea and Germany in the group stage, 8-3 and 9-0 respectively. In the knockout round, the Hungarian superstars kept winning with ease.

The Hungarian squad, dubbed the “Golden Team,” defeated Brazil and Uruguay, 4-2 in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Germany, who were in the same group as them in the preliminary round, would go on to be their opponent sin the final. But there was a surprise in the German rematch: Germany prevailed by a 3-2 scoreline and claimed the title.

To this day, this is regarded as one of the most unexpected World Cup finals, since Hungary had emerged as the front-runner thanks to their potent offence. The 1954 World Cup had the greatest goal average (5.2) of any team ever with 27 goals in five games.

Brazil’s campaign

Check out, in the list below, how was the campaign of the canarian team in the 1954 World Cup.

  • Brazil 5×0 Mexico (group stage);
  • Brazil 1×1 Yugoslavia (group stage);
  • Brazil 2×4 Hungary (quarterfinals).

Midfielder Didi, known as “Folha Seca”, was already part of that selection, and would go ahead to shine in the two following editions of the World Cup.

Data and curiosities

See below some data and curiosities about the 5th edition of the World Cup, held in Switzerland.

  • The defeat of Uruguay to Hungary, in the semifinal, was the first defeat of the Uruguayans in World Cups;
  • It was the first time that Brazil wore yellow shirts and blue shorts, a uniform that has become a tradition in the country to this day;
  • Years later, it came to light that the German players had been drugged for the big decision, supported by their rulers. The game became known as “The Miracle of Bern”;
  • Hungarians Kocsis and Puskas were the great stars of the Cup. The first was the top scorer (11 goals) and the second was elected the best player in the competition by FIFA;
  • The best attack in the Cup was Hungary (17 goals) and the best defenses were Uruguay and Austria (no goals conceded);
  • The average attendance for the competition was 32,211 people per match.