Despite not being in the top of European football for a while and not being there now either, Hungary's national team has a glorious history. In the post-WWII era, Hungary established itself as the team to beat, going on a four-year unbeaten streak that lasted 31 games. This team became known as the Mighty Magyars, and it’s still considered by many to be one of the greatest national sides in the history of football. Hungary has two second-place World Cup finishes (1938 and 1954).

Let’s look into the history of the early days of Hungarian football:

The Hungarian Football Federation was founded in 1901. Though Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, both countries decided to form separate associations. The Hungarian team’s first showing at a major tournament arrived in 1912, where they were trounced by England 0-7. Following this loss, Hungary played two friendly matches against Russia, winning them both 9-0 and 12-0.

After another unsuccessful showing at the 1924 Olympics, Hungary participated at its first World Cup in 1934. They defeated Egypt 4-2 in their debut, but were then eliminated by neighbors Austria 1-2 in the quarter-finals. Four years later, a much improved Hungary squad defeated Dutch East Indies, Switzerland, and Sweden on the way to the country’s first World Cup finals. However, they were no match for Italy, losing the match 2-4.

The Mighty Magyars – Or as the Hungarians call them, The Golden Team 

With WWII resetting the football hierarchy, Hungary pulled out in front of the pack with one of the most influential teams in the history of the game. This team was characterized by the silky ball skills and the dynamic link-up play by its legendary quartet of strikers: Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, and József Bozsik. This team went undefeated from 1950 to 1954, recording a streak of 31 games without a loss (that included winning the 1948-1953 Central European International Cup).

In 1953, the Mighty Magyars became the first team to defeat England at Wembley. Furthermore, they did so in dominant fashion, winning the match 6-3 and hiding the ball for the final 30 minutes of the game. Once they’ve won the rematch 7-1, they cemented themselves as the number one favorite at the upcoming 1954 World Cup. The first round of the tournament went swimmingly, as they thrashed South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3).

In the quarter-finals, Hungary had to go over Brazil. In a match later referred to as the Battle of Berne due to its violent reputation, the Mighty Magyars prevailed 4-2. They then needed the extra time to beat Uruguay, with Kocsis scoring a brace to set the final score at 4-2. The finals brought a rematch with West Germany, but the result was vastly different. Though Hungary led 2-0 early on, the Germans overcame the deficit and ultimately triumphed 3-2.

Are you feeling some pressure now, knowing the history of Hungarian football? 

But we are just getting started here, in the next article we will continue the story of the football history of Hungary, so you can come prepared once you make the decision to spend your holiday here.

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