The 8-1 loss in Amsterdam and its possible political consequences

I just read that the last time the Hungarian national football team suffered such a devastating defeat was in 1932 when Austria beat the Hungarians 8-2. Actually, the 8-1 loss to the Dutch team tops the 1932 showing. In itself this defeat is a historic event in the annals of Hungarian football. Perhaps more important, it whipped up especially strong reactions because of Viktor Orbán’s maniacal devotion to and the abnormally high government investment in soccer. Anger over the loss quickly morphed into anger at Viktor Orbán and his government. This defeat may well have serious political consequences.

Ákos Tóth, a journalist for Népszabadság, rightly pointed out that “Viktor Orbán’s regime received a deadly blow from the Hungarian national team.” He succinctly explained why. Other failures of the government could be explained away or simply be engulfed in silence as the prime minister tried to divert attention from the country’s troubles by creating enemies everywhere. Inside as well as outside of the country. But “on the field one cannot lie. There a goal is a goal.” Moreover, Orbán made football “the ethos” of his whole administration. He hoped that near-term success in this sport would justify the expenditure of billions of forints the country doesn’t have on soccer instead of on sports in which Hungarians excel, for example, swimming and kayaking.

An earlier editorial by Attila Ballai in Magyar Nemzet gives us an idea of the value the Hungarian political right places on football success. The author, a great admirer of Viktor Orbán the statesman, kept repeating the importance of at least some success for the present government. He emphasized the “responsibility of the players” because the stakes are high. This game, as all others of the national team, is more than a sporting event. It is politically important for Viktor Orbán and all those who believe in him and his government. Ballai doesn’t expect gold medals. A little win would do, so that “people wouldn’t say that they [meaning the government] are doing all this for these guys [who keep losing]. Are you building stadiums for these football players? Are you spending money on them?”

As we know, the Hungarian national team lost the match in Bucharest. That was bad enough. But with their mortifying defeat against the Netherlands they became a laughing stock. And Viktor Orbán lost face and was perhaps even dealt a serious political blow.

Szilárd Devecseri, one of the Hungarian players, after he kicked an own-goal. The mood of the rest of the players was no better.

Szilárd Devecseri, one of the Hungarian players, after he kicked an own-goal. The mood of the rest of the players was no better.

In times of adversity Viktor Orbán remains silent. In this case some of his underlings spoke in his place. One of his spokesmen, Máté Kocsis, demanded that more heads roll. (The coach, Sándor Egervári, already resigned.) Zsófia Mihancsik, editor-in-chief of Galamus and a football fan, suspects that Kocsis couldn’t have demanded resignations from MLSZ, the Hungarian Football Association, without permission from his boss who is most likely after Sándor Csányi, the president of MLSZ and CEO of OTP, Hungary’s largest bank.

Mihancsik accuses Viktor Orbán of using these players for his own political purposes and thus putting an incredible burden on them. She is alluding to the kind of pressure that was so well expressed by Ballai at the other end of the political spectrum. She feels for these twelve players who are practically paralyzed on the field.

When I visited the University of Florida in Gainesville, an American graduate student delivered me to the airport. It turned out that she is planning to write her dissertation on Hungarian sports and politics during the Rákosi regime. I mentioned to her that the first anti-regime demonstration occurred in 1954 when the Hungarian team failed to win the World Cup. Then just yesterday a friend of mine in Hungary reminded me of the same event, underlining the possible disruptive consequences of the latest Hungarian sports loss. Indeed, a small disturbance broke out after the “The Golden Team” lost to Germany. A crowd attacked the coach’s house, and the members of the team didn’t dare to travel all the way to Budapest and instead left the train in secret in Tatabánya.  He also gave me some details of the close relationship between the party leadership and the Golden Team. Mihály Farkas, minister of defense, kept visiting the players in the dressing room just as today’s bigwigs are doing. That kind of relationship may have unintended consequences. On the one hand, it might intimidate the players, as Mihancsik pointed out. On the other hand, failure on the field may translate into failure at the ballot box.

Here are a few comments from right-wing papers. “The chief honcho said that we like this game. These people don’t like the game but that awful lot of MONEY they receive. Here is the result of the work by a bunch of ignorant parasites, like Csányi and Kubatov.” Kubatov, of Kubatov-lists fame, is currently the head of Ferencváros.

“A series of losses, building a stadium in Felcsút, murderers who escape, half a million emigrants, tobacconist shops, giving away land to friends and relatives, the face of Pintér and the stupid head of Balog… This is the true face of the Orbán regime.” “The fish begins to rot in the head. Without this GENIUS all the others would have gone by now  to ….[obscenity follows].”

Someone suggested that perhaps a Hungarian referee could have helped the situation. The answer: “Hungarian referee, then the best! Mrs. Szájer.” Referee and judge is the same word in Hungarian: bíró. Or: “I demand that every Hungarian be given a stadium with a narrow-gauge railway and with that talented coach, Sándor Egervári.” Or: “Why didn’t the chief tobacconist of Felcsút tell the Dutch that ‘Hungary is doing better!'”

“Is this the famous community of working people? They are going to lose the election in 2014 with this attitude.” “I imagine that on Sunday morning the people in the West will read in the papers that according to Viktor Orbán the problem is that the Europeans don’t work and don’t pray. RIDICULOUS!!!! The truth is that the Dutch were playing ball (they worked) while the Hungarians were standing by.”

“I suggest to you, völkisch Scythians, to march on October 23 and demand that it be included in the Hungarian constitution that no Hungarian team can get more then four goals during one match.” “Our prime minister said that the Hungarians are football-wise. Can you imagine if they weren’t?” “You are awfully quiet … I know why, because one cannot lie here. It is not like the games of Fidesz-KDNP. This game is played for goals.”

Viktor Orbán put up a picture on his Facebook page. He seems to be carrying a baking pan containing some unidentifiable food. This page is naturally visited by adoring fans with appropriately fawning comments. On the other hand, some comments were from people who are obviously no fans of his. Most of them remarked on the fact that he is showing food here when “your people are starving, more than 3 million people live under the poverty line.” Or “a lot of people are hungry because of him but the most important thing for him is that he can live in luxury.” Another person asked whether he is cooking here for the starving children. One guy said: “He is celebrating the great victory!”

Meanwhile, as the result of very intense campaigning, more people voted in Baja by 3 p.m. than all day long the last time. That is a good sign regardless of the outcome. More people realize that their votes count.

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40 comments

  1. I’m not sure if the non-football fans on HS truly realise just how awful this defeat was (in football terms alone – never mind the politics).

    For a start, large defeats like this aren’t very common, especially at international level (unless you are San Marino!). Typically, if a game is high scoring in the first half, you won’t see many (or any) goals in the second half – much to the fans of the winning side’s disappointment. Players tend to ease off, once they are certain of a win, so they don’t risk injury or getting booked.

    So, for a team to get beaten this badly, they really are rubbish. They weren’t just having an off day or were a bit unlucky, they were quite simply awful.

    Secondly, they were playing a side that had already qualified and had absolutely nothing to prove. Sometimes this can work against the other side, as the team who have qualified relaxes and plays well, but usually it gives the weaker side a better chance of a surprise win (again, no player is going to run the risk of injury or suspension for a game that doesn’t matter).

    So, again, to get thrashed like this by a side that isn’t even in top gear, means you really are very, VERY, bad.

    And lastly, up until very recently, the Hungarian national side had been steadily improving. With so many Hungarian players now playing abroad, the national team was beginning to look pretty good. There was a reasonable expectation of qualifying for an international competition in the next few years – if not next year’s World Cup, then quite possibly Europe in two years time.

    So, this isn’t just another poor Hungarian team getting found out, this is a team who, until recently, were improving, a team who should have been able to at least draw against Romania and put up a good performance, or even snatch a shock win, against the Dutch.

    Orbán hasn’t just failed to produce a good national team, he’s actually taken a decent national team, who were starting to look good, and somehow turned them into a bunch of incompetent losers.

  2. Paul I think the Hungarian team is a shoo-in for the Euro 2016 tournament finals, but only because it’s being expanded to 24 teams, not due to sheer talent alone. If it was still 16 teams, Hungary would have little chance of getting in. But no matter how bad the Hungarian team plays, I think there’s no question that they’re among the top 24 in Europe.

    Or at least, that’s what I thought until a few days ago…

  3. Re Buddy. Lately I read a lot of articles and listened to interviews with people who know Hungarian football very well and they claim that this team is simply hopeless. Always was but the Hungarian football elite and the public fooled themselves. This is not my opinion because I wouldn’t know, but one of the greatest critics is the sportswriter for Népszabadság whom I just heard on ATV’s Szabad szemmel. It will be available on video by tomorrow if you missed it.

  4. It wasn’t a mere defeat, it was a national humiliation.
    And to nation of pot smokers.

    Orbanistan should look to the lessons preached by the Ajax youth academy, the basis upon which Holland’s international success has been built.

    Free expression.
    Interchangeability.
    Taking personal responsibility for your own actions.
    Letting the individual free of the constraints of the tactical framework.
    Ability not conformity being the watchword.
    I have just had a very pleasurable vision of Vik’s head exploding at the very mention of those concepts.

    Despite the billions pumped into stadiums and Vik’s personal football academy in Felscut, football in Hungary is well and truly languishing in the sewers.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that the Viktator will slime his way out of any possible linkage but if the regime were hoping for any football dividend next year then they were very sadly mistaken.

  5. Eva, you may be right, but my point is that expanding the European championships to an extra 8 teams is going to bring in a lot of rubbish national sides, so qualifying for Euro 2016 is no longer a sign that your team is any good.

    I mean, let’s look at the 16 teams that qualified in 2012: Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands, Greece, England, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Ireland.

    After those 16, what other teams are there in Europe that are any good? Serbia, and maybe Slovenia. Beyond that, I’m scratching my head as to who else deserves to be at the European finals. Norway? Slovakia? Scotland? Northern Ireland? Belgium? Switzerland? One of the Baltics? I really don’t know, but since they need to find an extra 8 teams, they will have to get them and I figure Hungary is likely to be one of the mediocre teams to get in.

    But maybe I’m wrong and somebody who knows more about football could correct me on this…

  6. ps. looking at UEFA’s official ranking now and it seems some teams are doing better than I originally thought: Belgium, Switzerland, Bosnia, Romania, Norway, Montenegro and Albania(!) are all in the top 24. Hungary is currently ranked #19 in Europe.

  7. oneill :
    It wasn’t a mere defeat, it was a national humiliation.
    And to nation of pot smokers.
    Orbanistan should look to the lessons preached by the Ajax youth academy, the basis upon which Holland’s international success has been built.
    Free expression.
    Interchangeability.
    Taking personal responsibility for your own actions.
    Letting the individual free of the constraints of the tactical framework.
    Ability not conformity being the watchword.
    I have just had a very pleasurable vision of Vik’s head exploding at the very mention of those concepts.
    Despite the billions pumped into stadiums and Vik’s personal football academy in Felscut, football in Hungary is well and truly languishing in the sewers.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that the Viktator will slime his way out of any possible linkage but if the regime were hoping for any football dividend next year then they were very sadly mistaken.

    That would be irony indeed, as the Dutch owe their continuing success to their ‘total football’ revolution of the 70s – which was based on the way Sebes got the Aranycsapat playing back in the 50s.

  8. My 9 year old grand-daughter plays soccer in a league in the US that has a rule that no team is allowed to win by more than 6 goals, or else the coach may be subject to a fine. While it’s controversial., the thinking behind it is to prevent high score runaway defeats that might discourage 9 year old kids from ever playing soccer again.

    Perhaps such a rule would have lowered the Hungarian defeat to only 7:1 🙂

  9. OT:

    but an important reminder. The Senate Democrats – as usual – are about to cave in for the umpteenth time to the Republican radicals, all in the name of “compromise”.

    It is important to watch these events, because it is exactly the same game Fidesz played with MSZP when Fidesz was not in power yet, but Fidesz’ votes were needed for an issue in which a decision required a 2/3s majority to pass. (And this will happen should the current opposition win but lack the 2/3s majority which are needed for practically everything under the new Basic Law.)

    Fidesz always won. MSZP always caved in.

    As a general rule, the left always surrenders. So it is fun to watch how Obama, who told many times that he was not gonna negotiate again and not cave in on this issue (spending levels/debt limit), is being forced to do it, yet again.

    The story is far from over, but Obama thinks he can’t be the president who will be associated with the only US default in history (the history books will not be so subtle to detail the minutiae of the House politics and of course all the Wall Street people around him, which is all economics advisers, will push him to compromise). He does not want that because he will not really have much legacy besides the default, should it happen. So he will rather castrate his own signature law (Obamacare) than to cause default. He is to responsible, thereby weak.

    So he will cave in, as always, because the Republicans just like the Fidesz don’t care about any consequences and that is their strength. They display a credible threat that they rather let everything fall apart, but they will still not surrender. So eventually it is always the right wing that wins and always the left that loses.

  10. Background to English speakers:

    The Fidesz leadership of Fradi [Ferencvaros, FTC] condemned the hooligans’ open support for the 1944 Kosice ghetto commander, so the hooligans declared a ban on loud rooting for the team.

    In the meantime, the prosecutors ruled in favor of the police decision not to initiate an investigation into the hooligans’ huge banner supporting the war criminal.

    http://fradimob.hu/index.php/friss/aktualis/item/3837-végleg-lezárult-a-csatáry-molinó-ügye

  11. “the percentage of employed respondents in each country who are thriving, struggling, and
    suffering”

    Thriving:

    Denmark: 81%
    Norway: 79%
    Netherlands: 68%
    Brazil: 63% [!]

    US: 58%
    UK: 55%
    Germany: 47%
    France: 44%
    Spain: 37%

    Italy: 31%
    Slovakia: 31%
    Czechia: 29%
    Poland: 28%

    Bosnia: 18%
    Hungary: 13%

    pp. 114-115

    http://www.gallup.com/file/strategicconsulting/164735/State of the Global Workplace Report 2013.pdf

  12. The Hungarian Team’s defeat reminded me of the hockey series between Canada and the U.S.S.R. in 1972. Inspite of all the NHL-ers, the Canadian team was no match for the Soviets–they were better conditioned, had a superlative system, and had the best player in the world by the name of Kharlamov (…well, Bobby Orr aside). Once Bobby Clarke hacked Kharlamov’s ankle so he couldn’t even walk, there were still problems. But, when ‘push-came-to-shove’ the Canadian team prevailed. Why? Well, I thought then and do now, that there’s a palpable difference for an athelete playing for his country…and being proud of that country. The Canadian team rose above themselves because they wanted it for Canada. The Soviets, it can be said, were nowhere near as proud of their country. It’s as simple as that. Now, extrapolate that to the drubbing of the Hungarian soccer team by the Dutch.

  13. Back a couple of years ago, noone thought that Russia would win the right to host the World Cup in 2018. They won the right. Moreover, at the same meeting, that soccer power–Qatar–defeated US efforts to win the 2022 rights. Ahh, the power of the ‘oil-billions’!

    In a couple of days we’ll know if the US debt ceiling will be lifted. If not, the American dollars primacy will be in question.

    So, the question is this: have the GOP Reps been subjected to the allure of millions?

  14. (Ah Pandarus, Pandarus…even in the technological wonders of today one has to light a match to see the light.)

  15. Dr Balogh writes: ” Then just yesterday a friend of mine in Hungary reminded me of the same event, underlining the possible disruptive consequences of the latest Hungarian sports loss. Indeed, a small disturbance broke out after the “The Golden Team” lost to Germany. A crowd attacked the coach’s house, and the members of the team didn’t dare to travel all the way to Budapest and instead left the train in secret in Tatabánya. ”

    From a Hungarian standpoint, where non-government sponsored demonstrations were unheard of, it was not a minor disturbance. Th crowd gathered very fast at the Szabad Nep office and marched to the Rakoczy street, without much ado. When they turned into the Rakoczy street marching toward the Keleti RR Station finally police response arrived and they used their trunchens to disperse the crowd. It took the police about half an hour to chase them into side streets on both sides of Rakoczy street.

  16. Everybody is missing the point. Hungarian football is in the rise. 8:1 is a direct result of the past8years. Gyurcsany is resposnsible, after all he was Sport Minister! Eight goals for each of the past8years. (Emutnyocev) Once the stadiums are ready, and Vitya Orban is in power for another eight years, Hungary will rise from the dead and will win in Brazil!

  17. The nexy goal is 1:16.
    Extra 8 for the bad 8 Orban years.

    “Thomas
    October 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm | #26 Quote
    Everybody is missing the point. Hungarian football is in the rise. 8:1 is a direct result of the past8years.”

  18. It’s a minor point, but the railway being rebuilt at Felcsút is not narrow-gauge. It may be referred to in Hungarian as a “kisvasút” but as far as I can tell it would be accurate to call it a “branch line” in English, but not a narrow gauge one, as it is not.
    Sorry to be pedantic but you keep writing this, and as a fan of narrow gauge railways it irks me. Also, if any really narrow gauge railway should be re-opened, it should be the one from Kecskemét to Kiskőrős, as that one was one of the longest in the world.

  19. Pistefka :

    It’s a minor point, but the railway being rebuilt at Felcsút is not narrow-gauge. It may be referred to in Hungarian as a “kisvasút” but as far as I can tell it would be accurate to call it a “branch line” in English, but not a narrow gauge one, as it is not.
    Sorry to be pedantic but you keep writing this, and as a fan of narrow gauge railways it irks me. Also, if any really narrow gauge railway should be re-opened, it should be the one from Kecskemét to Kiskőrős, as that one was one of the longest in the world.

    I know there are guys who are really into railways and railroads. I have a good friend originally from Ireland who is a real enthusiast. On certain weekends he puts on a uniform and goes to run old locomotives.

    However, I know nothing about railroads and my very large (and let me add very bad) dictionary (Országh) says that kisvasút is “narrow-gauge” and I not being an expert thought that he knew what he was talking about. Well, it seems he didn’t.

    But there is another online dictionary “Sztaki szótár” which doesn’t even have an entry “kisvasút” but has only “kisvasúti szárnyvonal” which means “dinkey line” (mispelled!) in English.

    Naturally I’m willing to correct it. But to what: dinky line? branch line?

  20. ‘Minor line’ or ‘branch line’ would be fine (technically a branch line connects to a more important line, whereas a minor line is just a little used railway that may be part of a larger system or may be isolated).

    The whole question of rail gauges and loading gauges (not the same thing!) is endlessly fascinating to railway enthusiasts (myself included), but probably of no interest at all to ‘normal’ people!

  21. To illustrate just how obsessed we get with such things, I nearly got arrested in the railway station at Csap because I was trying so desperately to get a shot of the track at the international platform with a telephoto lens!

    From the booking hall in the international station you can only just see the track and you are too far away to see how they manage to combine the two gauges. Russian/Ukrainian railways use a gauge slightly wider than Hungarian/European railways, but the difference in gauge is too small to allow the usual solution of a third rail – so I couldn’t work out how it was done!

    (For those few who might be interested – the answer is a stepped rail. The ‘standard’ gauge train runs on the lower/inner part of the rail, whilst the broad-gauge trains run on the higher/outer part of the step. Very ingenious.)

  22. Paul :
    To illustrate just how obsessed we get with such things, I nearly got arrested in the railway station at Csap because I was trying so desperately to get a shot of the track at the international platform with a telephoto lens!

    They must have have been more relaxed when I was there the other month. I have a few photos of Chop/Csap station, and the entrance to Ukraine at the end of the Tisza bridge (taken from the back of the train – we were coming into Hungary). The border guards were very determined to know what we doing, but as soon as we explained that we were changing on to the Záhony train and showed our passports it was job done for them. Seems like even the local Ukrainians getting off just because they live there had to show identity papers as well – maybe the whole area round the EU border is some kind of special security zone. (I heard from a Polish friend that their border with Ukraine is like a kind of high-capacity cigarette pipeline).

    The international platform is now four-rail dual-gauge. “International” makes it sound so glamorous – but this “international train” is just an 8-minute shuttle across the river: one MÁV coach hitched up to a shunter. Though its takes longer than that to get off at Záhony, as every bag gets checked for cigarettes. Took ages for us, partly because one woman ahead of us had decided that hiding individual packs around her suitcase would fool the customs people. I don’t know what the Hungarian for “you really must be a bit of an idiot” is, but if I’d been the customs guy I’d have been tempted to mutter it.

    Perhaps by “international platform” you mean the platform for the through long-distance trains into Hungary – I didn’t see that.

    I’ll get my anorak… 😉

  23. sebt – no I meant the platform where you disembark from Záhony. Although it’s very close to the international booking hall, you have to go upstairs and, even with a long lens, it’s still quite hard to see the details of the tracks. The contortions involved in this are what attracted the attention of the ‘authorities’. Luckily, they were so bemused by an Englishman being there, that they gave up questioning me when it became obvious that it was going to be a long, and very confusing, business.

    That shuttle train across the border has got to be the most bizarre train ride I’ve ever taken. We were pulled by a mainline diesel, not a shunter – the engine was longer than the coach. It was a boiling hot day and the kids were pretty fed-up even before we boarded (we had to wait ages just to get on the train, as they were checking everyone, one at a time, as they got on). Then, after further, entirely unexplained delay, we very slowly trundled across the border.

    It can’t be much more than a kilometre of line, but it takes about 15 minutes. And the border, once you cross the river, is like nothing I’ve seen before. The Hungarian side looked pretty normal, but the Ukrainian side had high wire fences all along the bank and the railway line itself was completely fenced in. Hard to believe we were entering a country you no longer even need a visa for.

    And then there was the usual, pointless, delay at Csap. Hanging around for no reason for ages, then queuing single-file to be checked one by one, VERY slowly – including being shouted at by a guard because they opened up a second kiosk for us, as the children were pretty obviously distressed by then, but we didn’t realise! That wait was so long, that I had to use the loo – not something I would recommend, as the toilets in the Csap International station are easily the worst I’ve ever encountered.

    The trip back was a bit easier, especially once we were over the bridge (this was in pre-smoking control days), but the wait before we were allowed to board the train seemed endless. Ukraine certainly don’t give you the impression that they welcome visitors!

    I vowed during that wait that the next time we’ll go by road. The road crossing can be bad, I know, but never anything like the rail crossing. If someone had included a description of that crossing in a cold-war era spy book, you would have assumed they were exaggerating it!

  24. Breaking On ATV press conference (from 10.005am) with Csanyi Sandor. I wonder if he tries to explain why we won and did no loose the game..

  25. Hungary couldn’t win this game for the very same reason they cannot make their country into a succes. Hungarians are unable to team up and work for a common goal. There is no sense of community present in this country whatsoever. Hungarian don’t think in common goals but only consider ‘what is in it for me?’. No one really cares about the problems the country is facing or at least is not interested in doing anything against it. Hungarians rather hide behind their garden fence and leave the pet dog to bark to the big and bad outside world while they themselves feast on pörkölt and pálinka. Harsh words and perhaps overstated, but here you have it: Hungary’s problem in a nutshell.

  26. That would be irony indeed, as the Dutch owe their continuing success to their ‘total football’ revolution of the 70s – which was based on the way Sebes got the Aranycsapat playing back in the 50s.

    I think you missed the point here. Maybe the Dutch did indeed copy the Hungarian gameplay (we all know that everything in one way or another originates from the Great Country of the Magyars, don’t we?) but the country could benefit from teamplay and taking responsibility for one’s actions, and not only when it comes to football.

  27. Pedants corner – the success of the Golden Team wasn’t really based do much on teamwork, but mainly on fitness and flexibility.

    We take fitness in sport for granted these days, but back in the 50s that was far from the case. Players used to eat whatever they liked and smoke and drink – often before and after a game. Goalkeepers were even known to smoke during the game! The Hungarian team were the first to have fitness training and to follow a dietary regime – primitive by today’s standards, but revolutionary at the time. They literally ran rings round the English team at Wembley in 53.

    In those days, football was a bit like American football, in that players were very specialised – strikers were only there to score goals, the were not expected to work to get the ball or fall back to help the midfield, midfield players weren’t expected to score many goals and certainly weren’t expected to be any good in defence, and defenders were there solely to stop the other side’s forwards – by any means! The idea of strikers working back to get the ball, or midfielders training to score goals or defend, or (especially) defenders being anything other than thugs, would have seemed bizarre.

    But that’s what the Hungarians did. Goals could come from anywhere, the strikers were free to do whatever they wanted, so defenders didn’t know where they’d pop up from next, and defenders were fit and skilful footballers. Traditionally, if a defender got the ball, he just hoofed it up the pitch, but Hungarian defenders could pass the ball – or they might run up the wing with it (whilst the midfielders covered them by dropping back to defend). The effect of all this on traditional football players was catastrophic – it was almost like the Hungarian side were playing a different game, with different rules! (Some English commentators, typically, claimed it was unfair!)

    And, of course, the Golden Team also had the luck to have several of the most talented footballers in the word in their squad.

  28. Yes, the Hungarians played really good football/soccer 60 years ago!

    A bit OT:
    I still remember that final game 1956 that we (West-) Germans won. One of our neighbours had the only tv set in the block and my parents were invited to sit in the living room while we children were standing behind them fascinated – tv really was something special at that time.

    My grandmother later was the first in the family to own a tv – it cost around 1000 Marks, much more than my father made in a month, so we had to wait a few more years.

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