Sweeter than dreaming: Hungary’s unforgettable 1966 World Cup campaign

Sweeter than dreaming: Hungary’s unforgettable 1966 World Cup campaign

NEVER BEFORE HAD one of English football’s great homes resounded with such natural fervour to the praise not of local heroes, but of a foreign team. “Hungary, Hungary,” yelled the crowd through the wet Goodison Park evening.

Perhaps many of the capacity audience that crammed the nooks and crannies of Archibald Leitch’s Merseyside masterpiece had initially been drawn by the allure of the two-time reigning world champions from South America. But the spellbinding, charging play of the Hungarians was irresistible; the crowd crackled with parallel intensity until the final whistle that marked Brazil’s first World Cup defeat since Hungary’s Aranycsapat (Golden Team) had defeated them a dozen years before.

After the match, Hungary’s coach Lajos Baróti insisted that his team had finally emerged, in their second fixture of the 1966 World Cup, from the long shadow of the Aranycsapat. And yet it remains common both inside and outside of Hungary to regard the events of 1956 a decade earlier – when a Soviet intervention crushed the Hungarian uprising – as the conclusion of Hungary’s football excellence.

This does a great injustice to the next decade in which, while the extraordinary heights of the early 1950s were not equalled, the Hungarian national team continued to be one of the world’s very best. In the 12 years that followed, Hungary won two more Olympic football golds to match the 1952 win that had announced its emergence. In 1966, despite falling in the quarter-finals, Hungary produced a legendary World Cup performance.


The aftermath of 1956


One of the sources for the myth of a 1956 coda is an exaggerated sense of the discontinuity that this year produced in the Hungarian game. Certainly, the greatest footballer the Carpathian basin has ever given the world, Ferenc Puskás, was lost to the garnet shirts that autumn. But Honvéd’s Puskás, Kocsis and Czibor were the exception in remaining abroad, after an unofficial tour of South America – which neither the MLSZ nor FIFA would recognise – put them and their teammates under the threat of sanctions.

Most of the top Hungarian footballers were out of the country when the Red Army seized decisive control of Hungary on 4 November – installing a compliant government under János Kádár – with Honvéd, Ferencváros (popularly referred to as Fradi) and MTK all touring Europe. But while the three Honvéd men pursued new careers outside of Hungary, other greats like Jószef Bozsik (Honvéd) and Nándor Hidegkuti (MTK) returned and resumed their international careers, and even in the 1966 squad there were three players – Tichy, Fenyvesi and Mátrai – who had made their national team debut before the ’56 uprising.

More important than the many who came home after the uprising was the sparkling generation of players that rose from its ruins. Half of Hungary’s 1966 World Cup squad had been 16 or younger in November 1956.

Despite continuities, the football context in which this new generation developed was – in keeping with the overall socio-political settlement – a developing via media between the Stalinist policies of 1949 to 1956 and the heady weeks of reform that marked the short-lived uprising. Back in the 1949/50 season, the communist regime had seized direct control of the game, renaming most of its top clubs and placing them under the jurisdiction of various unions and arms of the party-state.

Then, during the uprising and its aftermath, these impositions were mostly reversed: Ferencváros and MTK received back their historic identities, but Ujpest continued under Interior Ministry auspices, while the team formerly known as Kispesti AC remained Honvéd, as the Army’s club. Honvéd and MTK, who had been made the secret police’s team in the early 50s), won every title of the Stalinist period, but this dominance faded in the post-uprising decade with the emergence of Vasas, the revival of Fradi, and a unique surge among regional teams – all of which reflected Kádár’s new era.

Just as Honvéd and MTK players had dominated the Aranycsapat, Ferencváros and Vasas provided the backbone of the national team that reasserted Hungarian prowess in the 60s. It should be said that Honvéd in the early 50s had never relied on the luxury of conscripts as much as has often been intimated. Both Puskás and Bozsik were Kispest lads who were driving their local team to the 1949/50 title before the Army takeover.

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Players who would have boosted other clubs, however, such as László Budai and Sándor Kocsis of Ferencváros, were brought to Honvéd, and the continuity between that side and the national team had assisted the former’s success as much as the latter’s cohesion. As Honvéd faltered – relatively speaking – without its pre-1956 benefits, the post-1956 fortunes of Fradi, the country’s most popular team, were a consequence not of official favour but of being released from the constraints of overt official hostility.


Revival at Ferencváros


The six Fradi men in the 1966 squad included senior players Sándor Mátrai and Máté Fenyvesi, who had both represented the pride of Budapest’s ninth district since 1953. They had featured in the historic December 1956 match against Vojvodina, in which the team played under its true name and in its green-and-white striped shirts for the first time in six years.

Having both donned the national colours at the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, Mátrai and Fenyvesi had also just experienced European club glory. As part of the Ferencváros team that had dispatched Manchester United in the semi-final, they went on to beat Juventus in Turin to win the 1965 Fairs Cup. Likewise in that legendary side were two younger players, Gyula Rákosi and Flórián Albert, who helped set Hungary apart in the summer of ’66.

“Albert, Albert,” was another chant that rose from the Goodison Park throng in July 1966, as the lanky forward imperiously glided through Brazil’s defence. Back in 1952, Flórián had arrived in Budapest with his family from southern Hungary, just as the Aranycsapat was hitting its stride, and he later remarked: “I learned everything I know from that team.” Even more significantly =, the 11-year-old was soon signed by Ferencváros and began working his way through the youth ranks until, on 2 November 1958, he made his first team debut.

That day, only 17 years old, Albert scored twice at the Népstadion as Fradi defeated DVTK 3-1. Also on the scoresheet was Rákosi, who had made his own debut a year before. The Fradi pair then cut their international teeth in the bronze medal-winning Hungary team at the Rome Olympics of 1960, with Albert scoring five goals. By the time they arrived in England, Rákosi and Albert were 1962 World Cup veterans and fixtures in the national side.


The emergence of Vasas


While Albert and Rákosi helped Fradi to titles in 1963 and 1964 that marked the revival of a storied club, the other pillar of the 60s’ national squad, Vasas, were newly emerging at the top, winning their first five championships between 1957 and 1966. Located in the capital’s 13th district, Angyalföld, which separates the centre of Pest from Újpest to the north, Vasas was the long-time sports club of the local ironworkers. Yet between 1949 and 1956, this had not earned Vasas any favours, although it escaped the sweep of identity transformation. The club’s deep socio-democratic heritage actually made it nearly as suspicious to the hard-line Stalinist regime as Fradi and its nationalist connotations.

The post-uprising scene was far friendlier for Vasas. The new ruler, János Kádár, had not only spent part of his childhood in Angyalföld, he had even played centre-half for the Vasas youth team. He later served as club president and, when he was released from prison in 1954, following condemnation on trumped-up charges less than two years earlier, the first stage in his political rehabilitation was the position of Party Secretary for Angyalföld.

Two and a half years later, as Kádár struggled to impose the authority of his new government, league football resumed with a spring 1957 mini-season, so that Hungary could return to a European autumn-spring season from the calendar year version that had been adopted in 1950 to mimic the Soviets. And Vasas, losing only one of its 11 matches, won the championship.

While one cannot view this confluence of events as entirely coincidental, it has, once again, been overplayed. Firstly, Kádár was not nearly as interested in micromanaging football as his fellow communist predecessors. Furthermore, as with Honvéd before 1950, Vasas was already well-placed to challenge prior to the regime change, requiring an improvement, but not a dramatic one, to top the table.

Three months before the uprising of 1956, Vasas had won their first Mitropa Cup in extraordinary style, crushing Rapid Vienna 9-2 before 100,000 fans at Népstadion in a replay after the two-legged final had finished 4-4 on aggregate. This success and the 1957 championship even led to Vasas’ coach, Lajos Baróti, being chosen to replace the legendary Gusztáv Sebes as national team boss.

In the years between that move and the naming of the 1966 World Cup squad by Baróti, Vasas continued to progress under Rudolf Illovszky. The Red and Blues retained their Mitropa Cup crown in 1957 by defeating Vojvodina in the final and reached the semi-finals of the 1957/58 European Cup, knocking out Ajax before succumbing to eventual winners Real Madrid courtesy of an Alfredo Di Stéfano hat-trick. But it was in 1959 that two young players, who would feature prominently in 1966 and beyond, made their senior debuts for Vasas: Mészöly and Farkas.

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The resolute midfielder Kálmán Mészöly and his dynamic striking teammate János Farkas also earned their first Hungary caps together, in a December 1961 friendly in Santiago. Although both were back in Chile that summer for the World Cup, Mészöly played all four games, including the unfortunate last-eight defeat to Czechoslovakia, while Farkas only watched.

Mészöly, the man they call the Szőke Szikla (Blond Rock), would become a national institution, not only playing 61 full internationals for his country but later managing Hungary in as many matches across three spells. But Farkas’ bench-warming in 1962 left him free to do something Mészöly never did; win Olympic gold, as two years later Hungary capped a swashbuckling Tokyo tournament with a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in the final.

Between the Olympic Games of 1960 and 1964 and the World Cup of 1962 – as well as the second European Championships, in which Hungary finished third after a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Spain in the Bernabéu – a new and thrilling Hungary team was coming nicely to the boil. Its up-and-coming players continued to pit their wits against Europe’s best for club and country; in addition to Fradi’s 1965 Turin triumph, the Mitropa Cup returned to Angyalföld three days later when Mészöly’s penalty secured a 1-0 Vasas win over Fiorentina. The stage was set for a classic World Cup qualification campaign of three teams and one group, taking place over five months in front of huge crowds in Budapest, Leipzig and Vienna.


The qualification


The fearsome attacking foursome of Albert, Rákosi, Farkas and Ferenc Bene came together in the qualifying games, with Farkas finally nailing down his place in the team. An away draw against East Germany began qualification, Bene spinning around and hammering a left-foot shot past Lokomotive Leipzig’s Horst Weigang for the equaliser. Then, Fenyvesi headed the only goal in Hungary’s 1-0 win in Vienna. But it was the return match at Népstadion that decisively swung the group Hungary’s way. In the brilliant sunshine of a September Sunday afternoon, Hungary’s attack overwhelmed their old rivals, with goals from Farkas and Mészöly bookending a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

But this comfortable win led to a nervous last game. Hungary needed a point, while the East Germans required both to keep their English hopes flickering until their concluding match against Austria. The fixture had baggage to boot – a 3-3 World Cup qualifying draw two years before, which knocked the GDR out of contention, had included a disallowed Roland Ducke goal that enraged millions of East German television viewers.

It seemed that vengeance might be afoot when Roland’s brother, Peter, opened the scoring, as he had done at Wembley against England in June 1963. After goals from Novák Dezső and Rákosi put Hungary ahead, Peter Ducke scored again to keep stomachs churning before the sweet right foot of Farkas settled matters, smashing the ball into the Népstadion net after Weigang had pushed the ball away from a threatening Albert. “We will be in England!” rejoiced the headlines in Hungary the next morning.


Hungary in transition


Kadar’s Hungary has long been associated with a relatively relaxed form of communism, often referred to as gulyáskommunizmus (goulash communism). But this unique settlement was still being constructed in 1966. The first part of it was the transition from repressions and imprisonments used to restore the regime’s authority after the 1956 uprising to a less ideological and intrusive bargain between party-state and citizens in which only acquiescence was required of the latter.

This had been signalled by the general amnesty for all those caught up in the post-1956 dragnet, announced by Kádár in March 1963 – too late of course for the likes of Imre Nagy, who was executed in June 1958. It was represented by Kádár’s infamous bon mot taken from the Bible: ’Who is not against us, is with us.’

The essential second element was a new economic model that could make such popular acquiescence worthwhile. The post-war Stalinist years had buried Hungary under the consequences of disastrous investment decisions, which had mimicked Soviet practices and disregarded Hungarian realities. If Kádár’s regime could usher in economic growth and consumer benefits, it could earn the space for that political peace it sought.

Historian Rudolf Tőkés calls this a transition from “coercive consolidation” to “system-management”. So it was that a package of major economic reforms, the New Economic Model (NEM), was proposed in November 1965 and approved two months before the World Cup, in May 1966. It would come into effect on the first day of 1968. The mid-60s, in other words, marked yet another transitional but unusually calm period in Hungary’s long and fraught 20th century.

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For Hungary’s footballers, the World Cup caught them mid-season – the MLSZ oddly reverted to a calendar-year season for a few years in the 60s – with Vasas top and unbeaten, as they would be at the season’s end. The Angyalföld club were also reigning champions, having wrested the title back from Ferencváros in 1965. It was no surprise, then, that, in addition to its six Fradi players, Baróti’s World Cup 22 likewise included six from Vasas.

Uniquely among the 16 World Cup teams, however, Hungary only took 18 of its squad to England, leaving four on standby in Budapest (one of whom, Kálmán Ihász, did fly over mid-tournament). The 18 left Hungary at the end of June, initially for France, then on 2 July, a Hungary XI/Budapest Selection played Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch city. Farkas scored twice, along with Bene and Molnár, in the 4-1 win. Finally, on 4 July, the squad flew across the North Sea from Amsterdam, touching down in Manchester.


A first game to forget


It was the toughest group of the tournament that awaited them in the north-west. In addition to the champions and bookies’ favourites, Brazil, Group Three contained Eusébio’s Portugal and Bulgaria, managed by the man who had led Czechoslovakia to the 1962 final, Rudolf Vytlačil.

On 12 July, Pelé and Garrincha got Brazil off to the start everybody expected when their goals gave Brazil a 2-0 victory over Bulgaria at Goodison, but it was at Group Three’s other ground, Old Trafford, that Hungary played Portugal the next day.

The team sheet held few surprises, although Jószef Gelei, who had kept goal in all of Hungary’s qualifiers, was relegated in favour of the man he had previously displaced, Antal Szentmihályi. It would not prove an auspicious move. For Hungary, it was one of those ill-fated games that even the best can endure at the beginning of a major tournament; the starting pistol fires, and the sprinter stays in the blocks.

After three minutes, Szentmihályi inexplicably attempted to catch a flat corner behind an unmarked Augusto, who simply headed into the unguarded goal. It seemed like a strange drill, and the Hungarian defenders looked at each other in bemusement.

Between the boxes, Hungary’s attack flowed and took the initiative, but the finishing spluttered and misfired. “Hungary never will forgive themselves for the opportunities they wasted this night,” concluded The Guardian’s match report. “Albert and Farkas schemed and raided with unrelenting insistence, but they fell short of glory time and again.”

Indeed, the great Albert missed a hat-trick of excellent first-half chances, hitting the bar with one of them. And when Hungary finally equalised in the 60th minute, it was a gift from the Portuguese goalkeeper who made a meal of Rákosi’s over-hit through ball to Albert, presenting it to Bene, who side-footed the ball where it belonged.

After the equaliser, Farkas resumed the theme with a howler of his own, fluffing a free header from eight yards out. Moments later, the unfortunate Szentmihályi dropped a ball that was landing benignly into his arms at chest-height in front of Augusto, who nodded the ball gratefully back past the keeper. It was that kind of game. The decisive Portuguese third came from a corner that looped to the back post, where the gigantic and unmolested Torres placed his header over a back-pedalling and haplessly stranded Szentmihályi.

No doubt any home media would savage its national team today for such a disappointment, but the press back in Hungary was philosophical. In most of the things that mattered, Hungary had shown their quality, and the mishaps at either end could be corrected. But returning to their splendid Victorian pile by the sea, the soon-to-be-demolished Palace Hotel of Southport, the Hungarians could not have been buoyed by their prospects. Not only did they now need a win against mighty Brazil to stay alive, the quirks of that World Cup’s scheduling gave them just one day to prepare. On Friday, they had to make the short drive down the coast to Liverpool and beat the best team in the world.


A World Cup in need of a saviour


There was no fever pitch of national excitement in England as its World Cup began. July is cricket season after all (Garfield Sobers’ wonderful West Indies team were in the midst of a successful tour), and, astonishingly, Wembley was far from full for England’s Monday night tournament opener against Uruguay. Those who failed to show up could count themselves fortunate – it was a dire goalless draw greeted with universal displeasure. There had been concern before kick-off that the increasingly popular defensive style of play would dampen an already soggy July, and the first few days’ fixtures did nothing to dispel that apprehension.

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But Liverpool did not share in the scepticism. Merseyside had witnessed a huge demand for the Goodison Park tickets, aided by all of Brazil’s group matches being staged there. And though Hungary’s fine reputation remained, few doubted, even when it was confirmed that Pelé would miss the contest, that Brazil would play their way into the knockout stages that Friday night.

Hungary’s side contained three changes: Szentmihályi made way for Gelei, Szepesi replaced Sóvári, and the midfield boots of an injured István Nagy were filled by Imre Mathesz.

Kicking off, Brazil charged immediately toward the Gwladys Street End, nearly scoring within 30 seconds when Lima’s extraordinary shot from fully 40 yards arrowed to the top left corner of Gelei’s goal. The keeper looked more like a gymnast as he sprung to tip the scalding ball over the bar. This time, however, the early goal would come from Hungary – and what a glorious goal it was.

Two minutes in, veteran defender Mátrai snuffed out a Brazilian thrust before passing to the skipper, Sipos, in midfield. As Sipos took the ball forward, Bene made an urgent run to the near right corner of the Brazilian box between two opponents, and the captain threaded it into his path. In two swift movements, Bene took the ball inside on his right foot and then outside on his left, putting Altair on his back. As he then darted towards the goal and Bellini charged across to cover the danger, Bene cut inside again with his right before sliding the ball into the net past Gilmar with his left.

It was pure wing wizardry from Ferenc Bene, of the kind that made Englishmen raised on the masterful Stanley Matthews exult. In style, talent and longevity, the comparison between Matthews and Bene is apt. At 19, Bene had been the star of Hungary’s Tokyo gold medal winners, scoring 12 goals in the tournament, including a double hat-trick in the opening match against Morocco as well as the final’s winning goal.

His international career would span 17 years, as would his service in an Újpest shirt, for which he received his reward in the late-60s when, under Baróti himself, Újpest’s glory days arrived. The Lilacs would eventually win seven successive titles, and in three of those seasons, Bene was the top scorer. After his Újpest days were over, Bene even played down the leagues into his mid-40s. But that was all a long way off as he enraptured Goodison Park and wheeled away to be engulfed by red shirts.

From that moment, Hungary took sweeping, scintillating charge of the first half, putting the Brazilian goal under constant danger. But, incredibly, the teams were tied at half-time. Brazil had equalised somewhat fortuitously in the 14th minute when a free-kick ricocheted into the path of Pelé’s replacement, Tostão, who lashed it into the same corner Lima had troubled earlier. In fact, the champions nearly took an undeserved lead just before the break, denied by a desperate, hooking goal-line clearance from Sipos.

Perhaps this fright, combined with the scant reward for a dashing and dominant half, chastened the Hungarian team at the start of the second stanza. For a few minutes, Hungary lost the initiative they had seized at the game’s beginning. That is until another immortal moment fully regained it.

It started again with Mátrai winning the ball at the back, after which Káposzta played it into the feet of Albert, who flicked the ball instinctively and decisively into the path of an onrushing Bene on the right flank. Bene looked up as he advanced and, seeing Farkas charging through the middle, swung in a long cross around the Brazilian back line, which found Farkas in full stride, and the Vasas forward’s right foot thumped it on the volley into the Gwladys Street goal: 2-1. “A lovely goal by Farkas, a great goal,” sang the BBC’s Kenneth Wolstenholme. “We are not afraid of the wolf,” exclaimed the legendary György Szepesi mischievously on Hungarian radio.

Today’s so-called football purists seem to prefer play that draws attention to managerial ‘philosophies’, eliciting chin-stroking admiration. But this was a goal no less aided by quality coaching that, as the best footballing brilliance does, makes a grown man leap into the air and punch the sky. It was an adrenalin rush of a masterpiece – flowing, irresistible, explosive.

This time there really was no coming back for Brazil. Ten minutes later, with garnet shirts harrying and probing the holders, Albert picked up the ball from Szepesi in his own half and coasted past yellow to the edge of Brazil’s penalty area, passing it into Bene’s stride before the winger was tripped by Enrique for a penalty kick. While some of the Hungarian players looked away, Mészöly passed the ball coolly into the corner to Gilmar’s right: 3-1. “We want four,” shouted the Merseysiders, and it was extraordinary they did not get it.

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The crowd had rightly latched onto Flórián Albert as the jewel in the crown, turning indignant when he was fouled, and it was the Fradi man who once more made the move. Again picking up the ball in Hungary’s half after winning it himself, Albert slalomed through Brazilian resistance all the way into their area, where he teed it up for Farkas. This time on his left foot, Farkas drove the ball into the near corner. “Well, they’ll argue about that one,” Wolstenholme commented diplomatically. “Was Farkas offside?” He appeared to be yards onside, and it was a great shame for such a delightful goal to be expunged.

Hungary continued to bubble with verve in the remaining minutes, although the Szőke Szikla finished the game in agony. He had crashed down on his left shoulder making a clearing header, and when Baróti came on to check his player, the coach ran from the field with his head in his hands, convinced that Mészöly had broken his collarbone. But soon after heading to the dressing room, Mészöly returned to complete the 90 minutes with his left arm in a sling. Later, Baróti insisted of his Vasas man of steel that “if he is alive he will play” in the final group game. It was symbolic of a Hungary team whose exquisite skills on the ball were matched by a gutsy and indefatigable solidity.

And so it finished Hungary 3-1 Brazil. The world champions were defeated, and 10 years of Hungarian football development had been vindicated. “This was the best game Hungary has played since the 1954 World Cup,” Baróti concluded, and who could argue. It was the greatest performance that many had ever seen.

The reaction in Hungary was rightly rapturous. The Hungarians had played with “heart and soul” proclaimed Népsport in the morning: “Disciplined, intelligent, and creative.” Their goals, the Sporting Daily rightly stated, were “unforgettable”. Meanwhile, Népszava could not help picking up on the vociferous support that Hungary’s glorious play had inspired from the English crowd: its roars, the paper commented, had even exceeded the backing that Népstadion had given the team in recent years. Above all, the paper reflected, “Hungarian football is gleaming again.”

Desperate for a spectacle to match the stage and mostly still unashamedly romantic about sporting endeavour, the English press was no less breathless. “Take into account the absence of Pelé and the fact that the Brazilians did not enjoy the conditions, and even then it is difficult to diminish the magnificence of the Hungarians’ victory,” Eric Todd wrote in Saturday’s Guardian. “Not often have I seen better team work,” he added. “Not often have I had such welcome confirmation of the belief, old fashioned though it may be, that there is nothing like honest, uninhibited attacking football.”

A day later, in The Observer, Hugh McIIvanney was still delightfully flush with the glow of it. “It was an incredible occasion … filled with the archetypal elements of the great game – skill, heart, atmosphere, an awareness of immortality being earned.” Reflecting on the naysayers who had grumbled through the Cup’s tepid prologue, McIIvanney continued: “Now no one will dare to ask what all the fuss is about. Friday night at Goodison Park gave a gloriously comprehensive answer.”

Insisting that a rampant Hungary “would not have been flattered if they had won by six goals,” he observed that “there is no side better equipped to counter the threat of negative play that hung a cloud of anti-climax over the initial exchanges of the competition … It might be a reasonable gesture to give free tickets for Hungary’s next game to all who endured England’s goalless draw with Uruguay last Monday.”


Gleaming again


It was one game, but despite the fact that Hungary fell in the last eight, this marvellous match was the opposite of a fluke. Many footballing eras never receive the confirmation and acknowledgement they deserve, their products shrinking on the biggest stages. But this team and this glittering performance against the best was an accurate reflection of the brilliance that Hungarian football continued to exude and develop in the decade after 1956.

They sealed their qualification for the knockout rounds by beating Bulgaria 3-1 at Old Trafford, thanks to Mészöly and Bene goals, thereby also confirming Brazil’s much-mourned departure. In the Roker Park quarter-final, it was the return of inexplicably calamitous goalkeeping – which had sunk them in 1962 and against Portugal in Manchester – that sealed the Hungary team’s fate against, of all teams, the Soviet Union. While all hell was breaking loose down south at Wembley between England and Argentina, another Ferenc Bene goal could not overcome two extraordinary blunders and Hungary lost 2-1.

Yet it is no mistake that this is largely forgotten and the glories of Goodison live on for those who saw them. “If the World Cup were awarded for entertainment,” John Arlott wrote in The Observer, “it would go to Hungary.” The Népsport correspondent reported that after the players had returned to the hotel after the Brazil game, receiving a heroes’ welcome from the staff and watching the BBC highlights, they could not go to sleep. The adrenalin still flowed and the feeling lingered.

As the accompanying Hungarian headline admirably put it: ‘It was sweeter than dreaming’. Indeed the best and longest-lasting dreams occur with eyes wide open. Recalling that World Cup many years later, journalist Rupert Cornwell described Hungary’s golden victory as his most vivid memory of the tournament. “The volley by János Farkas that sealed Hungary’s 3-1 victory over the reigning champions is one of the greatest ever goals. I was spellbound as I watched it live 44 years ago on black and white television. And it makes me shiver now.”

By David Reynolds

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