Hungary, the fall of one of the best national teams in history
The Hungarian national team was once one of the best teams in the world, but currently, it is considered a weak team.
Nowadays, if someone mentions the Hungarian national team to us, surely we will all think the same, a weak team. It is not a team as weak as San Marino or the Faroe Islands, but it is enough not to be considered a rival to fear. However, not many know that Hungary, in its glory days, was one of the best national teams in the world. It even came very close to winning a FIFA World Cup. The golden age of Hungarian football occurred between 1930 and 1970. 40 years of splendor and today, almost nothing remains of that legacy. At the beginning of the century, the Hungarian team was a very poor team but showed slow but steady growth. They participated in the 1912 and 1924 Olympic Games, where they did not win a medal, but gained experience.
In 1930, they were invited to participate in the first World Cup in Uruguay, but the Hungarian team decided not to participate, considering it inappropriate for such a tournament to be played so far from Europe. In Italy 1934, Hungary participated in its first World Cup and finished in sixth place. Four years later, his first international achievement came, reaching the final of a World Cup. However, in the decisive game, the defending world champions, the Italian team, prevailed 4-2, making useless the Hungarian goals and the performances of György Sárosi and Zsengellér, the team's scorers.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, World War II began in 1939 and for 10 years there were no tournaments between national teams. Although many countries took a long time to rebuild their teams, the Hungarian team quickly recovered and was ready to compete again when activity returned. Between 1948 and 1956, the Hungarian team played 52 international matches, of which they only lost one, precisely the one that would consecrate them as the best team in the world and, possibly, in the history of European football, a new World Cup final. In Switzerland 1954, Hungary reached a new World Cup final, beating Brazil and Uruguay, but unfortunately, lost the final 3-2 to West Germany. At least, the Hungarians won the gold medal at the 1952 Olympics.
At that time, everyone was talking about the feared Hungarian team. It was a different team, fast, dynamic, and the forerunner of total football. This football with which it astonished Europe earned him the nickname "Golden Team", or "Magical Magyars". The squad was led by Gusztáv Sebes, who found players like Ferenc Puskás, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and József Bozsik. The team remained undefeated for 32 consecutive matches between 1950 and 1954. Thanks to this structure, the Hungarian national team won five Olympic medals, 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze, in six editions of the Olympic Games. Despite the political problems that the country was experiencing, the team remained one of the best in the world. Another important achievement was third place in UEFA Euro 1964.
Sadly, in 1972 the fall of Hungary began. This decline was slow but progressive. In the beginning, they played all the tournaments but their results were poor. Eventually, their level was so low that they never qualified for a national team tournament again. In fact, Mexico 1986 was their last participation and from then on, they never qualified again. The same thing happened in the European Championship, they went 10 consecutive UEFA Euros without participating.
The reason for the fall of the "Hungarian giant" was due to political problems. Hungarian clubs were the basis of such a successful national team, but after constant political instability, they began to lose their income and football ceased to be important. Also, it is important to note that many star players defected and left Hungary. An emblematic case is Ferenc Puskás, who due to political problems, left his country, became a Spanish citizen, and joined Real Madrid.