1954 FIFA World Cup

1954 FIFA World Cup
FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft 1954 Schweiz
Championnat du Monde de Football 1954
Campionato mondiale di calcio 1954
Campiunadis mundials da ballape 1954

1954 FIFA World Cup official logo
Tournament details
Host country Switzerland
Dates 16 June – 4 July (19 days)
Teams 16 (from 4 confederations)
Venue(s) 6 (in 6 host cities)
Final positions
Champions  West Germany (1st title)
Runners-up  Hungary
Third place  Austria
Fourth place  Uruguay
Tournament statistics
Matches played 26
Goals scored 140 (5.38 per match)
Attendance 768,607 (29,562 per match)
Top scorer(s) Hungary Sándor Kocsis (11 goals)

The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946.[1] The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.

Host selection

Main article: FIFA World Cup hosts

Switzerland was awarded the tournament unopposed on 22 July 1946, the same day that Brazil was selected for the 1950 World Cup, in Luxembourg City.[1]


The hosts (Switzerland) and the defending champions (Uruguay) qualified automatically. Of the remaining 14 places, 11 were allocated to Europe (including Egypt, Turkey and Israel), two to the Americas, and one to Asia.

Scotland, Turkey and South Korea made their World Cup debuts at this tournament (Turkey and Scotland had qualified for the 1950 competition but both withdrew). Austria appeared for the first time since 1934. Turkey would not participate at a finals again until the 2002 competition, while South Korea's next appearance would be in 1986.

The third and fourth place teams from 1950, Sweden and Spain, both failed to qualify. In a shock result, Spain was eliminated by Turkey: after the two countries had tied a three-game series, Turkey progressed by drawing of lots.[2]

German teams were allowed to qualify again, after having been banned from the 1950 FIFA World Cup. West Germany qualified against fellow Germans from the Saarland (which then was a French protectorate), while East Germany had not entered, cancelling international football games after the East German uprising of 1953. Argentina declined to participate for the third World Cup in succession.



The 1954 tournament used a unique format. The sixteen qualifying teams were divided into four groups of four teams each. Each group contained two seeded teams and two unseeded teams. Only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team. This contrasts with the usual round-robin in which every team plays every other team: six matches in each group. Another oddity was that extra time, which in most tournaments is not employed at the group stage, was played in the group games if the score was level after 90 minutes, with the result being a draw if the scores were still level after 120 minutes.

Two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. The two teams with the most points from each group progressed to the knockout stage. If the first and second placed teams were level on points, lots were drawn to decide which team would top the group. However, if the second and third placed teams were level on points, there was a play-off to decide which team would progress to the next stage.[3]

Qualifying countries

It turned out that two of the four groups required play-offs, and the other two required drawing of lots between the two top teams. The play-offs were between Switzerland and Italy, and Turkey and West Germany: in both matches the unseeded teams (Switzerland and West Germany) repeated earlier victories against the seeds (Italy and Turkey) to progress. In the other two groups, lots were drawn to determine the first-place teams: resulting in Uruguay and Brazil finishing above Austria and Yugoslavia, respectively.

A further unusual feature of the format was that the four group-winning teams were drawn against each other in the knockout stages to produce one finalist, and the four second-placed teams played against each other to produce the second finalist. In subsequent tournaments it has become customary to draw group winners against second-placed teams in the first knockout round.

In any knockout game tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time were played. If the scores had still been level after extra time, in any knockout game other than the final, lots would have been drawn to decide which team progressed. However, if the final had been tied after extra time, it would have been replayed, with lots deciding the winner only if the replay was also tied after extra time.[4] In the event, all the knockout games were decided in either normal time or extra time, with no replays or drawing of lots being required.


Before qualification was complete, the eight seeded teams were determined by FIFA based on world rankings. They were Austria, Brazil, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Uruguay.

These seedings were thrown into disarray when, in an unexpected result, Turkey eliminated Spain in qualification. FIFA resolved this situation by giving Turkey the seeding that had previously been allocated to Spain.[5]

Notable results

West Germany, who had been reinstated as full FIFA members only in 1950 and were unseeded, convincingly won the first of two encounters with the seeded Turkish side at Wankdorf stadium in Berne. The Koreans, the other unseeded team, lost 0–7 and 0–9, with West Germany being denied the chance to play such an easy opponent. Sepp Herberger, the West German coach, gambled against the seeded team of Hungary by sending in a reserve side, and lost 3–8; so they had to play off against Turkey, a match that they easily won. Hungary's team captain Ferenc Puskás, considered by many as the best player in the world in that time, was injured by West German defender Werner Liebrich, and had to miss the next two matches of his team, only to show up in the final again, still being in a questionable condition.[6]

In the quarter-finals, the favourites Hungary beat Brazil 4–2 in one of the most violent matches in football history, which became infamous as the Battle of Berne. Meanwhile, the World Cup holders Uruguay sent England out of the tournament, also by 4–2. West Germany dispatched Yugoslavia 2–0, and Austria beat the host nation Switzerland in the game that saw the most goals in any World Cup match, 7–5.

In the first semi-final, West Germany beat Austria 6–1.

The other semi-final, one of the most exciting games of the tournament, saw Hungary go into the second half leading Uruguay 1–0, only for the game to be taken to extra time with a score after 90 minutes of 2–2. The deadlock was broken by Sándor Kocsis with two late goals to take Hungary through to the final, with Uruguay finally losing their unbeaten record in World Cup Final matches. Uruguay then went on to be beaten for a second time as Austria secured third place.

Final: "The Miracle of Bern"

The Wankdorf Stadion in Berne saw 60,000 people cram inside to watch the final between West Germany and Hungary, a rematch of a first round game, which Hungary had won 8–3 against the reserves of the German team. The Golden Team of the Hungarians were favourites, as they were unbeaten for a record of 32 consecutive matches, but they had had two tough play-off matches. It started raining on match day – in Germany this was dubbed Fritz-Walter-Wetter ("Fritz Walter's weather") because the West German team captain Fritz Walter was said to play his best in the rain. Adi Dassler had provided shoes with exchangeable studs.

Card autographed by coach Sepp Herberger and the 11 German players that appeared in the final

Hungary's Ferenc Puskás played again in the final, even though he was not fully fit. Despite this he put his team ahead after only six minutes and with Zoltán Czibor adding another two minutes later it seemed that the pre-tournament favourites would take the title. However, with a quick goal from Max Morlock in the 10th and the equalizer of Helmut Rahn in the 19th, the tide began to turn.

The second half saw telling misses by the Hungarian team. Barely six minutes before the end of the match, the popular German radio reporter Herbert Zimmermann gave the most famous German piece of commentary, recommending that "Rahn should shoot from deep", which he did. The second goal from Rahn gave West Germany a 3–2 lead while the Hungarian reporter György Szepesi burst into tears. Later, Zimmermann called Puskás offside before he kicked the ball into Toni Turek's net with 2 minutes left. While referee Ling pointed to the centre spot, linesman Griffiths signalled offside. After a one-minute consultation, referee Ling disallowed the claimed equalizer.

The West Germans were handed the Jules Rimet Trophy and the title of World Cup winners, while the crowd sang along to the tune of the national anthem of West Germany. In Germany the success is known as "The Miracle of Berne", upon which a 2003 film of the same name was based. For the Hungarians, the defeat was a disaster, and remains controversial due to claimed referee errors and claims of doping.

One controversy concerns the 2–2 equaliser. Hungarian goalie Gyula Grosics jumped to catch Fritz Walter's corner shot, but in plain sight of the camera, Hans Schäfer obstructed him, and so the ball reached Rahn unhindered. The second controversy concerns allegations of doping to explain the better condition of the West German team in the second half. Though teammates steadfastly denied this rumour, German historian Guido Knopp claimed in a 2004 documentary for German public channel ZDF[7] that the players were injected with shots of vitamin C at half-time, using a needle earlier taken from a Soviet sports doctor, which would also explain the wave of jaundice among team members following the tournament. A Leipzig University study in 2010 posited that the West German players had been injected with the banned substance methamphetamine.[8]

Most controversial was the offside ruling for Puskás's intended 87th minute equalizer. The camera filming the official footage was in a bad position to judge the situation, but eyewitnesses claimed that the referee was wrong, including West German substitute player Alfred Pfaff.[9] However, since then, unofficial footage surfaced evidencing no offside (shown on North German regional public channel NDR in 2004.[10])


The following all-time records were set or equalled at this tournament, and have not subsequently been surpassed:

All matches in one tournament

Team records for one tournament

Records for a single game

Other landmarks

For the first time there was television coverage, and special coins were issued to mark the event.

The 11 goals scored by Kocsis of Hungary not only led the World Cup but bettered the previous record (set by Brazilian Ademir in the previous tournament) by two goals. Kocsis' mark was broken by Just Fontaine's 13 goals in 1958. Despite not winning the 1954 tournament, their fourth-place finish and their two previous World Cup titles made Uruguay the most successful World Cup nation for eight years, until Brazil won their second title in 1962. Hungary's 9–0 win against Korea during the group stages remains the biggest margin of victory in FIFA World Cup history, later equalled by Yugoslavia over Zaire (9–0) in 1974 and Hungary over El Salvador (10–1) in 1982.

West Germany also became the first team to win the World Cup after having lost a match at the finals (losing 8–3 to Hungary in the group stage). This feat was subsequently repeated by West Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978 and Spain in 2010, who all lost group matches 1–0. Coincidentally, all three teams won against Netherlands sides in the final.

West Germany's 1954 victory remains the only time that a team has won the World Cup without playing any team from outside its own continent (Turkey is geographically partly in Asia, but qualified from Europe and has always been affiliated with UEFA).

West Germany's victory in the final is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time and one of the finest achievements in German sporting history. The West German team was made up of amateur players, as Germany did not have a professional league at this time, while the Hungarians were de jure amateurs, like all the communist countries at that time, but playing football as professionals, mainly for Budapesti Honvéd FC and later for major clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, and were ranked best in the world. This is the only time a team has won the World Cup with amateur footballers.


Six venues in six cities (1 venue in each city) hosted the tournament's 26 matches. The most used stadium was the St. Jakob stadium in Basel, which hosted 6 matches. The venues in Bern, Zurich and Lausanne each hosted 5 matches, the venue in Geneva hosted 4 matches and the venue in Lugano only hosted 1 match.

Basel Bern Geneva
St. Jakob Stadium Wankdorf Stadium
Charmilles Stadium
Capacity: 54,800 Capacity: 64,600 Capacity: 35,997
Lausanne Lugano Zürich
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise
Cornaredo Stadium Hardturm Stadium
Capacity: 50,300 Capacity: 35,800 Capacity: 34,800


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1954 FIFA World Cup squads.

Match officials


Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4


First round

Group 1

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 Brazil 2110613
 Yugoslavia 2110213
 France 2101332
 Mexico 2002280

16 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Brazil  5–0  Mexico
Baltazar  23'
Didi  30'
Pinga  34', 43'
Julinho  69'
Charmilles Stadium, Geneva
Attendance: 13,470
Referee: Raymon Wyssling (Switzerland)

16 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Yugoslavia  1–0  France
Milutinović  15' Report
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

19 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Brazil  1–1 (a.e.t.)  Yugoslavia
Didi  69' Report Zebec  48'
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne
Attendance: 24,637
Referee: Charlie Faultless (Scotland)

19 June 1954
17:10 (CET)
France  3–2  Mexico
Jean Vincent  19'
Cárdenas  49' (o.g.)
Kopa  88' (pen.)
Report Lamadrid  54'
Balcázar  85'
Charmilles Stadium, Geneva
Attendance: 19,000
Referee: Manuel Asensi (Spain)

Group 2

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 Hungary 22001734
 West Germany 2101792
 Turkey 2101842
 South Korea 20020160

17 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
West Germany  4–1  Turkey
Schäfer  14'
Klodt  52'
O. Walter  60'
Morlock  84'
Report Suat  2'
Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Jose da Costa Vieira (Portugal)

17 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Hungary  9–0  South Korea
Puskás  12', 89'
Lantos  18'
Kocsis  24', 36', 50'
Czibor  59'
Palotás  75', 83'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich
Attendance: 13,000
Referee: Raymond Vincenti (France)

20 June 1954
16:50 (CET)
Hungary  8–3  West Germany
Kocsis  3', 21', 69', 78'
Puskás  17'
Hidegkuti  52', 54'
J. Tóth  75'
Report Pfaff  25'
Rahn  77'
Herrmann  84'
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 56,000
Referee: William Ling (England)

20 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Turkey  7–0  South Korea
Suat  10', 30'
Lefter  24'
Burhan  37', 64', 70'
Erol  76'
Charmilles Stadium, Geneva
Attendance: 4,000
Referee: Esteban Marino (Uruguay)

23 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
West Germany  7–2  Turkey
O. Walter  7'
Schäfer  12', 79'
Morlock  30', 60', 77'
F. Walter  62'
Report Mustafa  21'
Lefter  82'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich
Attendance: 17,000
Referee: Raymond Vincenti (France)

Group 3

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 Uruguay 2200904
 Austria 2200604
 Czechoslovakia 2002070
 Scotland 2002080

16 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Uruguay  2–0  Czechoslovakia
Míguez  72'
Schiaffino  81'
Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Attendance: 20,500
Referee: Arthur Ellis (England)

16 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Austria  1–0  Scotland
Probst  33' Report
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: Laurent Franken (Belgium)

19 June 1954
16:50 (CET)
Uruguay  7–0  Scotland
Borges  17', 47', 57'
Míguez  30', 83'
Abbadie  54', 85'
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 34,000
Referee: Vincenzo Orlandini (Italy)

19 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Austria  5–0  Czechoslovakia
Stojaspal  3', 70'
Probst  4', 21', 24'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich
Attendance: 26,000
Referee: Vasa Stefanovic (Yugoslavia)

Group 4

Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
 England 2110643
  Switzerland 2101232
 Italy 2101532
 Belgium 2011581

17 June 1954
17:50 (CET)
Switzerland   2–1  Italy
Ballaman  18'
Hügi  78'
Report Boniperti  44'
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne
Attendance: 43,000
Referee: Mario Vianna (Brazil)

17 June 1954
18:10 (CET)
England  4–4 (a.e.t.)  Belgium
Broadis  26', 63'
Lofthouse  36', 91'
Report Anoul  5', 71'
Coppens  67'
Dickinson  94' (o.g.)
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 14,000
Referee: Emil Schmetzer (West Germany)

20 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Italy  4–1  Belgium
Pandolfini  41' (pen.)
Galli  48'
Frignani  58'
Lorenzi  78'
Report Anoul  81'
Cornaredo Stadium, Lugano
Attendance: 24,000
Referee: Carl Erich Steiner (Austria)

20 June 1954
17:10 (CET)
England  2–0   Switzerland
Mullen  43'
Wilshaw  69'
Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Attendance: 43,500
Referee: Istvan Zsolt (Hungary)

23 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Switzerland   4–1  Italy
Hügi  14', 85'
Ballaman  48'
Fatton  90'
Report Nesti  67'
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 30,000
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

Knockout stage

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
27 June – Geneva        
  West Germany  2
30 June – Basel
  Yugoslavia  0  
  West Germany  6
26 June – Lausanne
      Austria  1  
  Austria  7
4 July – Bern
   Switzerland  5  
  West Germany  3
27 June – Bern    
    Hungary  2
  Hungary  4
30 June – Lausanne
  Brazil  2  
  Hungary (a.e.t.)  4 Third place
26 June – Basel
      Uruguay  2   3 July – Zürich
  Uruguay  4
  Austria  3
  England  2  
  Uruguay  1


26 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Austria  7–5   Switzerland
Wagner  25', 27', 53'
R. Körner  26', 34'
Ocwirk  32'
Probst  76'
Report Ballaman  16', 39'
Hügi  17', 19', 58'
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Charlie Faultless (Scotland)

26 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Uruguay  4–2  England
Borges  5'
Varela  39'
Schiaffino  46'
Ambrois  78'
Report Lofthouse  16'
Finney  67'
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Carl Erich Steiner (Austria)

27 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
West Germany  2–0  Yugoslavia
Horvat  9' (o.g.)
Rahn  85'
Charmilles Stadium, Geneva
Attendance: 17,000
Referee: Istvan Zsolt (Hungary)

27 June 1954
17:00 (CET)
Hungary  4–2  Brazil
Hidegkuti  4'
Kocsis  7', 88'
Lantos  60' (pen.)
Report Djalma Santos  18' (pen.)
Julinho  65'
Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Arthur Ellis (England)


30 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
West Germany  6–1  Austria
Schäfer  31'
Morlock  47'
F. Walter  54' (pen.), 64' (pen.)
O. Walter  61', 89'
Report Probst  51'
St. Jakob Stadium, Basel
Attendance: 58,000
Referee: Vincenzo Orlandini (Italy)

30 June 1954
18:00 (CET)
Hungary  4–2 (a.e.t.)  Uruguay
Czibor  13'
Hidegkuti  46'
Kocsis  111', 116'
Report Hohberg  75', 86'
Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

Third-place match

3 July 1954
17:00 (CET)
Austria  3–1  Uruguay
Stojaspal  16' (pen.)
Cruz  59' (o.g.)
Ocwirk  89'
Report Hohberg  22'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich
Attendance: 32,000
Referee: Raymon Wyssling (Switzerland)


4 July 1954
17:00 (CET)
West Germany  3–2  Hungary
Morlock  10'
Rahn  18', 84'
Report Puskás  6'
Czibor  8'
Wankdorf Stadium, Bern
Attendance: 62,472
Referee: William Ling (England)


With 11 goals, Sándor Kocsis was the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 140 goals were scored by 63 different players, with four of them credited as own goals.

11 goals
6 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
Own goals

FIFA retrospective ranking

In 1986, FIFA published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition.[11][12] The rankings for the 1954 tournament were as follows:

R Team G P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1  West Germany 2 6 5 0 1 25 14 +11 10
2  Hungary 2 5 4 0 1 27 10 +17 8
3  Austria 3 5 4 0 1 17 12 +5 8
4  Uruguay 3 5 3 0 2 16 9 +7 6
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
5   Switzerland 4 4 2 0 2 11 11 0 4
6  Brazil 1 3 1 1 1 8 5 +3 3
7  England 4 3 1 1 1 8 8 0 3
8  Yugoslavia 1 3 1 1 1 2 3 −1 3
Eliminated in the group stage
9  Turkey 2 3 1 0 2 10 11 −1 2
10  Italy 4 3 1 0 2 6 7 −1 2
11  France 1 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 2
12  Belgium 4 2 0 1 1 5 8 −3 1
13  Mexico 1 2 0 0 2 2 8 −6 0
14  Czechoslovakia 3 2 0 0 2 0 7 −7 0
15  Scotland 3 2 0 0 2 0 8 −8 0
16  South Korea 2 2 0 0 2 0 16 −16 0

In film

The final scene of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film The Marriage of Maria Braun takes place during the finals of the 1954 World Cup; in the scene's background, the sports announcer is celebrating West Germany's victory and shouting "Deutschland ist wieder was!" (Germany is something again); the film uses this as the symbol of Germany's recovery from the ravages of the Second World War.

Sönke Wortmann's 2003 German box-office hit The Miracle of Bern (in German: Das Wunder von Bern) re-tells the story of the German team's route to victory through the eyes of a young boy who admires the key player of the final, Helmut Rahn.


  1. 1 2 "Host announcement decision" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  2. Lisi, Clemente Angelo (2007). A history of the World Cup: 1930–2006. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8108-5905-X.
  3. Risolo, Donn (2010). Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats. University of Nebraska Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-8032-3014-1.
  4. Christian Jessen: Die Qualifikation aus Fußballweltmeisterschaft 1954, pp.27 ff.
  5. "History of the World Cup Final Draw" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  6. "FERENC PUSKAS – International Football Hall of Fame". Ifhof.com. 2 April 1927. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  7. "Das Wunder von Bern – Die wahre Geschichte". broadview.tv (in German). Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  8. "Germany's 1954 World Cup winners 'were doped'". google.com. AFP. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  9. Ewiger Knaben Wunderhorn (DER SPIEGEL, 18/2004)
  10. "Das Trauma von Bern: Die unbekannte Seite des legendären Endspiels". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 3 September 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  11. "page 45" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  12. "FIFA World Cup: Milestones, facts & figures. Statistical Kit 7" (PDF). FIFA. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013.

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