Has English football ever been more affected by a single football match? Probably not. On 25th November, 1953, 105,000 spectators thronged the Empire Wembley Stadium. England, the inventors of the beautiful game and best team in the world, lined up to face Hungary – Olympic Gold medalists from 1952 and unbeaten for previous three years. A major portion of massive crowd was convinced that Hungary’s unbeaten run was about to come to an end. England boasted of the proud record of never losing a game against a non-British team at Wembley for 90 years. Walter Winterbottom’s men also lined up with Alf Ramsey, Billy Wright and Bill Eckersley – possibly the best defensive line in the world. However, the confident English crowd was in for a massive shock.
Hungary made their intentions clear by scoring a goal within the first minute of kick-off, as Nandor Hidegkuti opened his account. Hidegkuti would eventually prove to be England’s biggest head-ache with his unprecedented role as withdrawn centre-forward. The rigid English defense was unable to cope with Hungary’s fluidity and was simply torn apart. Hungary was 4-1 up within the first 30 minutes of the match, with Hidegkuti, Puscas, Czibor and Kocsis running riots in the English penalty box.
The match eventually finished 6-3 to Hungary as England suffered a rude awakening as to how the game had progressed in the 50s. Wholesale tactical changes were performed – English football would never be the same again.
Few months later, England visited Budapest in order to exact a revenge. This time, their loss was even more emphatic – 7-1, England’s worst ever defeat in a football match. Puscas’ performance in this game earned him unequivocal praise from English media which dubbed him as the man with a “golden left foot”.