25-11-1953: On this day in 1953 Hungary became the first non-British team to defeat England in England. Hungary won the game 6-3.
Hungary scored four times in the first half. Hidegkuti and Puskas both scored two goals while Sewell and Mortensen scored for England. Puskas’ first goal saw him dragging the ball back to wrong foot Billy Wright. “He (Wright) was expecting me to turn inside. If I had, he would have taken me and the ball off the pitch and into the stands. So I dragged the ball back with the studs of my left boot and whacked it high into the net.”
Bozsik and Hidegkuti – who completed his hat-trick – increased the lead to 6-2 after the break. Alf Ramsey scored a late penalty for England.
Robby Robson remembers the match in this way “We saw a style of play, a system of play that we had never seen before. None of these players meant anything to us. We didn’t know about Puskás. All these fantastic players, they were men from Mars as far as we were concerned. They were coming to England, England had never been beaten at Wembley – this would be a 3-0, 4-0 maybe even 5-0 demolition of a small country who were just coming into European football. They called Puskás the ‘Galloping Major’ because he was in the army – how could this guy serving for the Hungarian army come to Wembley and rifle us to defeat? But the way they played, their technical brilliance and expertise – our WM formation was kyboshed in 90 minutes of football. The game had a profound effect, not just on myself but on all of us.”
The two teams met again in Hungary six months later. Hungary won 7-1 giving England their worst defeat in international football.
Hungary’s style of football with a revolutionary 4-2-4 formation and light low-cut boots heralded a new era in football.