Battle of Berne
June 27, 1954: Hungary and Brazil meet in a quarter-final game of the FIFA World Cup series. The 1954 FIFA World Cup was played in Switzerland at six different cities with this day’s match held at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne. Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, and Zürich also hosted games. The Wankdorf Stadium had the largest seating capacity at 64,000. Geneva’s stadium, Charmilles, only held 9,250. The FIFA World Cup was founded in 1930 as a worldwide competition for football/soccer. The tournament is played every four years (with 1942 and 1946 cancelled due to World War II). Brazil has been included in every single FIFA match (the only team to do so) and been the most successful team with five titles.
Thirty-two teams compete in the tournament which lasts about a month. The 1954 games were played between June 16 and July 4 – a period of 19 days. There were 26 matches played with a total of 140 goals scored for an average of 5.38 per match, a record. Brazil had already beaten Mexico (5-0) and tied with Yugoslavia (1-1). Hungary had already beaten South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3). The day’s weather was pouring rain which led to slippery conditions and difficulty controlling the ball. Within minutes of the start, Hungary took the lead and before ten minutes had gone by, the score was 2-0 Hungary. Brazil made a goal on a penalty kick and at half time the score was 2-1.
Soon after the start of the second half, Hungary was awarded a penalty and scored to bring the score to 3-1. Brazilian journalists and officials were outraged and had to be ushered off by the police. The game became a battlefield with increasingly nasty fouls and borderline tactics. A Hungarian player was fouled and he and his opponent got into a fight on the field and both were sent off. The final score was 4-2 Hungary. There were 42 free kicks and 2 penalties awarded during the game along with 4 cautions and 3 dismissals. The end of the game did not mean the end to the hostilities. After the game, the Brazilian players entered the Hungarian dressing room to continue the fight. The game became known as the Battle of Berne.
The final match for the 1954 FIFA World Cup was a rematch between West Germany and Hungary. West Germany won (their first win) and Hungary was in second place with Austria and Uruguay in third and fourth places respectively. Brazil was out of the top four but came back to win the 1958 Cup. They went on to win again in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Hungary has made nine appearances at the World Cup with the first in 1934. Their best outcome has been as runners up in 1938 and in this event. The German team has been in 18 World Cup tournaments and took first place in this one as well as 1974, 1990, and 2014.
One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it. – Knute Rockne
I would advise all youths aspiring to athletic fame or a professional career to practice clean living, fair play and good sportsmanship. – Major Taylor
Sportsmanship and easygoing methods are all right, but it is the prospect of a hot fight that brings out the crowds. – John McGraw
Professionalism is not sportsmanship. If you don’t succeed, you won’t be in your profession for long. In our society, it’s not about good or bad. It’s about who’s on top. – Chili Davis
Also on this day: The Oscar of the Children’s Library – In 1922, the Newbery Medal was first awarded.
Collinswood – In 1966, Dark Shadows premiered.
ATM – In 1867, the world’s first ATM was installed.
Helen Keller – In 1880, Helen was born.
High Score – In 1899, the highest score in cricket was made by AEJ Collins.