1954 FIFA World Cup

The 1954 FIFA World Cup was the fifth edition of the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football tournament for senior men's national teams of the nations affiliated to FIFA. It was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was selected as the host country in July 1946.[1] At the tournament several all-time records for goal-scoring were set, including the highest average number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated tournament favourites Hungary 3–2 in the final, their first World Cup title.

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 countrySwitzerland
Dates16 June – 4 July
Teams16 (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 played26
Goals scored140 (5.38 per match)
Attendance768,607 (29,562 per match)
Top scorer(s) Sándor Kocsis (11 goals)

Host selection

Switzerland was awarded the tournament unopposed at a meeting in Luxembourg City on 22 July 1946, the same day Brazil was selected to host the 1950 World Cup.[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). South Korea became the first independent Asian country to participate in a World Cup tournament. Austria appeared following a hiatus from 1934. Turkey would not participate at a finals until the 2002 tournament; South Korea's return appearance would be in 1986.

The third and fourth place teams from 1950, Sweden and Spain, both failed to qualify. In a shocking result, Spain was eliminated by Turkey: after the two countries had tied a three-game series, Turkey progressed by drawing of lots [2] by a blindfolded Italian boy.[3]

German teams as well as Japan 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 successive World Cup.

List of qualified teams

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament.



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.[4]

Qualifying countries

Two of the four groups would require 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.[5] 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. 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.[6]

Notable results

West Germany, who had been reinstated as full FIFA members in 1950 and were unseeded, convincingly won the first of two encounters with the seeded Turkish side at Wankdorf stadium in Berne. The South Koreans, the other unseeded team, lost 7–0 and 9–0, 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 8–3; so they had to play off against Turkey, a match that West Germany 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 Hungary's next two matches. Puskás played for Hungary in the final, despite still being in a questionable condition.[7]

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 knockout 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 equaliser 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 equaliser.

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 (a scandal broke because the first stanza was sung, the atmosphere became tense[8]). 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[9] 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.[10]

Most controversial was the offside ruling for Puskás's intended 87th-minute equaliser. 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.[11] However, since then, unofficial footage surfaced evidencing no offside (shown on North German regional public channel NDR in 2004.[12])


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

All matches in one tournament

  • highest average goals per game (5.38)

Team records for one tournament

  • most goals scored (Hungary, 27)
  • highest average goals scored per game (Hungary, 5.4)
  • highest aggregate goal difference (Hungary, +17)
  • highest average goal difference per game (Hungary, +3.4)
  • most goals scored, champions (West Germany, 25)
  • most goals scored per game, champions (West Germany, 4.17)
  • most goals conceded, champions (West Germany, 14)
  • most goals conceded per game, champions (West Germany, 2.33)
  • most goals conceded (South Korea, 16)
  • lowest aggregate goal difference (South Korea, −16)
  • most goals conceded per game (South Korea, 8, tied with Bolivia 1950)
  • lowest average goal difference per game (South Korea, −8.0, tied with Bolivia 1950).

Records for a single game

  • most goals in a single game (both teams) (Austria 7 Switzerland 5)
  • greatest margin of victory in a single game (Hungary 9 South Korea 0) (subsequently equalled by Yugoslavia winning 9–0 against Zaire in 1974 and again Hungary winning 10–1 against El Salvador in 1982).
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 three 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.

Bern Basel Lausanne
Wankdorf Stadium St. Jakob Stadium Stade Olympique de la Pontaise
46°57′46″N 7°27′54″E 47°32′29″N 7°37′12″E 46°32′00″N 006°37′27″E
Capacity: 64,600 Capacity: 54,800 Capacity: 50,300
Geneva Lugano Zürich
Charmilles Stadium Cornaredo Stadium Hardturm Stadium
46.2091°N 6.1182°E / 46.2091; 6.1182 (Charmilles Stadium) 46°01′25″N 8°57′42″E 47°23′35″N 8°30′17″E
Capacity: 35,997 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

Group stage

All times listed are local time (CET, UTC+1).

Group 1

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Brazil 2 1 1 0 6 1 +5 3[lower-alpha 1] Advance to knockout stage
2  Yugoslavia 2 1 1 0 2 1 +1 3[lower-alpha 1]
3  France 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 2
4  Mexico 2 0 0 2 2 8 6 0
Source: FIFA
  1. Brazil finished ahead of Yugoslavia on drawing of lots.
Brazil 5–0 Mexico
Baltazar  23'
Didi  30'
Pinga  34', 43'
Julinho  69'
Attendance: 13,470
Referee: Raymon Wyssling (Switzerland)

Yugoslavia 1–0 France
Milutinović  15' Report
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

Brazil 1–1 (a.e.t.) Yugoslavia
Didi  69' Report Zebec  48'
Attendance: 24,637
Referee: Charlie Faultless (Scotland)

France 3–2 Mexico
Vincent  19'
Cárdenas  46' (o.g.)
Kopa  88' (pen.)
Report Lamadrid  54'
Balcázar  85'
Attendance: 19,000
Referee: Manuel Asensi (Spain)

Group 2

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Hungary 2 2 0 0 17 3 +14 4 Advance to the knockout stage
2  West Germany 2 1 0 1 7 9 2 2[lower-alpha 1]
3  Turkey 2 1 0 1 8 4 +4 2[lower-alpha 1]
4  South Korea 2 0 0 2 0 16 16 0
Source: FIFA
  1. Second place decided over through play-off: West Germany 7–2 Turkey.
West Germany 4–1 Turkey
Schäfer  14'
Klodt  52'
O. Walter  60'
Morlock  84'
Report Suat  2'
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Jose da Costa Vieira (Portugal)

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

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'
Attendance: 56,000

Turkey 7–0 South Korea
Suat  10', 30'
Lefter  24'
Burhan  37', 64', 70'
Erol  76'
West Germany 7–2 Turkey
O. Walter  7'
Schäfer  12', 79'
Morlock  30', 60', 77'
F. Walter  62'
Report Mustafa  21'
Lefter  82'
Attendance: 17,000
Referee: Raymond Vincenti (France)

Group 3

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Uruguay 2 2 0 0 9 0 +9 4[lower-alpha 1] Advance to the knockout stage
2  Austria 2 2 0 0 6 0 +6 4[lower-alpha 1]
3  Czechoslovakia 2 0 0 2 0 7 7 0
4  Scotland 2 0 0 2 0 8 8 0
Updated to match(es) played on unknown. Source: [citation needed]
  1. Uruguay finished ahead of Austria on drawing of lots
Uruguay 2–0 Czechoslovakia
Míguez  71'
Schiaffino  84'
Attendance: 20,500

Austria 1–0 Scotland
Probst  33' Report
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: Laurent Franken (Belgium)

Uruguay 7–0 Scotland
Borges  17', 47', 57'
Míguez  30', 83'
Abbadie  54', 85'
Attendance: 34,000

Austria 5–0 Czechoslovakia
Stojaspal  3', 65'
Probst  4', 21', 24'
Attendance: 26,000
Referee: Vasa Stefanovic (Yugoslavia)

Group 4

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  England 2 1 1 0 6 4 +2 3 Advance to the knockout stage
2   Switzerland 2 1 0 1 2 3 1 2[lower-alpha 1]
3  Italy 2 1 0 1 5 3 +2 2[lower-alpha 1]
4  Belgium 2 0 1 1 5 8 3 1
Source: [citation needed]
  1. Second place decided over through play-off: Switzerland 4–1 Italy
Switzerland  2–1 Italy
Ballaman  18'
Hügi  78'
Report Boniperti  44'
Attendance: 40,749[14]
Referee: Mario Vianna (Brazil)

England 4–4 (a.e.t.) Belgium
Broadis  26', 63'
Lofthouse  36', 91'
Report Anoul  5', 71'
Coppens  67'
Dickinson  94' (o.g.)
Attendance: 14,000
Referee: Emil Schmetzer (West Germany)

Italy 4–1 Belgium
Pandolfini  41' (pen.)
Galli  48'
Frignani  58'
Lorenzi  78'
Report Anoul  81'
Attendance: 24,000
Referee: Carl Erich Steiner (Austria)

England 2–0  Switzerland
Mullen  43'
Wilshaw  69'
Attendance: 43,119[15]
Referee: Istvan Zsolt (Hungary)
Switzerland  4–1 Italy
Hügi  14', 85'
Ballaman  48'
Fatton  90'
Report Nesti  67'
Attendance: 28,655[16]
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

Knockout stage


27 June – Geneva
 West Germany2
30 June – Basel
 West Germany6
26 June – Lausanne
4 July – Bern
 West Germany3
27 June – Bern
30 June – Lausanne
 Hungary (a.e.t.)4
26 June – Basel
 Uruguay2 Third place
3 July – Zürich


Austria 7–5  Switzerland
Wagner  25', 27', 53'
A. Körner  26', 34'
Ocwirk  32'
Probst  76'
Report Ballaman  16', 39'
Hügi  17', 19', 60'
Attendance: 30,340[17]
Referee: Charlie Faultless (Scotland)

Uruguay 4–2 England
Borges  5'
Varela  39'
Schiaffino  46'
Ambrois  78'
Report Lofthouse  16'
Finney  67'
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Carl Erich Steiner (Austria)

West Germany 2–0 Yugoslavia
Horvat  9' (o.g.)
Rahn  85'
Attendance: 17,000
Referee: Istvan Zsolt (Hungary)

Hungary 4–2 Brazil
Hidegkuti  4'
Kocsis  7', 88'
Lantos  60' (pen.)
Report Djalma Santos  18' (pen.)
Julinho  65'
Attendance: 40,000


West Germany 6–1 Austria
Schäfer  31'
Morlock  47'
F. Walter  54' (pen.), 64' (pen.)
O. Walter  61', 89'
Report Probst  51'
Attendance: 58,000
Referee: Vincenzo Orlandini (Italy)

Hungary 4–2 (a.e.t.) Uruguay
Czibor  13'
Hidegkuti  46'
Kocsis  111', 116'
Report Hohberg  75', 86'
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: Benjamin Griffiths (Wales)

Third place play-off

Austria 3–1 Uruguay
Stojaspal  16' (pen.)
Cruz  59' (o.g.)
Ocwirk  89'
Report Hohberg  22'
Attendance: 32,000
Referee: Raymon Wyssling (Switzerland)


West Germany 3–2 Hungary
Attendance: 62,500


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

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

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.[18][19] The rankings for the 1954 tournament were as follows:

R Team G P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1 West Germany265012514+1110
2 Hungary254012710+178
3 Austria354011712+58
4 Uruguay35302169+76
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
5  Switzerland44202111104
6 Brazil1311185+33
7 England431118803
8 Yugoslavia1311123−13
Eliminated in the group stage
9 Turkey231021011−12
10 Italy4310267−12
11 France121013302
12 Belgium4201158−31
13 Mexico1200228−60
14 Czechoslovakia3200207−70
15 Scotland3200208−80
16 South Korea22002016−160

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. "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 978-0-8108-5905-0.
  3. Murray, Scott (8 August 2002). "Lucky tossers". The Guardian.
  4. Risolo, Donn (2010). Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore, and Amazing Feats. University of Nebraska Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8032-3014-9.
  5. Christian Jessen: Die Qualifikation aus Fußballweltmeisterschaft 1954, pp.27 ff.
  6. "History of the World Cup Final Draw" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  7. "FERENC PUSKAS – International Football Hall of Fame". Ifhof.com. 2 April 1927. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  8. German Anthem -1954 Soccer Worldcup, retrieved 23 June 2021
  9. "Das Wunder von Bern – Die wahre Geschichte". broadview.tv (in German). Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  10. "Germany's 1954 World Cup winners 'were doped'". Agence France-Presse. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  11. Ewiger Knaben Wunderhorn (DER SPIEGEL, 18/2004)
  12. "Das Trauma von Bern: Die unbekannte Seite des legendären Endspiels". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  13. "European football teams database - Group 2 - Tutkey v South Korea".
  14. "European football teams database - Group 4 - Switzerland v Italy".
  15. "European football teams database - Group 4 - Switzerland v England".
  16. "European football teams database - Group 4 Play-off".
  17. "European football teams database - Quarterfinal - Switzerland v Austria".
  18. "page 45" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  19. "FIFA World Cup: Milestones, facts & figures. Statistical Kit 7" (PDF). FIFA. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013.