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The Battle of Berne is a name used to refer to the infamous football match played between Hungary and Brazil, a quarter-final at the 1954 World Cup. It was played on June 27, 1954 at the Wankdorf Stadiummarker in Bernemarker, Switzerlandmarker.

The game became notorious for its violent tactics, brutal challenges and spiteful petulance. Hungary, with their legendary team of Mighty Magyars and Brazil, runners up at the 1950 World Cup, were two of the most outstanding teams at the 1954 World Cup. However, what could have been an outstanding match between two excellent sides degenerated into an ill tempered contest. It was dubbed the Battle of Berne by the British press. Never in my life have I seen such cruel tackling, observed The Times correspondent. During the match, English referee Arthur Ellis sent off three players after several punch ups on the pitch.

The match

Despite the absence of forward Ferenc Puskás, who missed the game due to injury, Hungary got off to a better start and quickly established a 2-0 lead: after three minutes Nándor Hidegkuti forced the ball into the net after a scramble and then he set up Sándor Kocsis to make it 2-0 after seven minutes. Brazil then began to fight back, but their attempts were frustrated by niggling fouls. However, after one such challenge Índio earned Brazil a penalty kick, which Djalma Santos converted to make the score 2-1. From then on, the match grew progressively more violent.

In the second half, Hungary restored their two goal lead after Mihály Lantos scored from the penalty spot only to see Julinho go on a meandering run and make it 3-2. Shortly afterwards the game erupted. József Bozsik was tackled unfairly by Nilton Santos and Bozsik responded by punching him. After a protracted boxing match, both were sent off. Didí then struck the bar for Brazil, while Djalma Santos allegedly gave up playing and pursued Zoltán Czibor around the pitch in a rage. In the dying minutes of the game, Czibor provided a cross for Sándor Kocsis who guided it into the Brazilian goal to give Hungary a 4-2 victory. Before the game ended, Humberto became the third player to be sent off after he kicked out at Gyula Lóránt.

After the game finished, the violence continued. Puskás allegedly struck Pinheiro of Brazil with a bottle, causing a three-inch cut. Other reports blame a spectator and not Puskás. The incensed Brazilians invaded the Hungarian dressing room and a pitched battle ensued with fists, boots and bottles all being used. At least one Hungarian player was left unconscious and their coach Gusztáv Sebes ended up with four stitches after being struck by a broken bottle.

Match details

GK 1 Gyula Grosics
DF 2 Jenő Buzánszky
MF 3 Gyula Lóránt
DF 4 Mihály Lantos
DF 5 József Bozsik
MF 6 József Zakariás
FW 7 József Tóth
FW 8 Sándor Kocsis
FW 9 Nándor Hidegkuti
FW 11 Zoltán Czibor
FW 20 Mihály Tóth
Gusztáv Sebes

GK 1 Castilho
DF 2 Djalma Santos
DF 3 Nílton Santos
DF 4 Brandãozinho
MF 5 Pinheiro
MF 6 Bauer
FW 7 Julinho
FW 8 Didi
FW 9 Baltazar
FW 17 Maurinho
FW 18 Humberto
Zezé Moreira
Assistant referees:

William Ling

Raymon Wyssling

See also


  • Terry Crouch: The World Cup, The Complete History (2002)

External links

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