Ferenc Puskas - Hungary

Puskas, who held a Major’s commission in the Hungarian Army even though he had never held a gun, was perhaps the outstanding player of the “Magical Magyars” (a nickname that was fully deserved); his fierce left shot made him a threat even from distance, and his stamina meant that there would be no respite during a match. In eighty-four games for Hungary Puskas scored no less than eighty-three goals, usually with his left foot. He remained a member of this most formidable of Hungarian sides until 1956, when the Soviet invasion persuaded Puskas, along with several of his colleagues, who were all on tour overseas at the time, not to return. Incredibly, as it now appears, several Italian clubs turned down the opportunity to sign the “Galloping Major”, who eventually end up playing in the great Real Madrid side of the 1950s. There his partnership with Di Stefano produced a quite lethal goal scoring machine.

Sandor Kocsis - Hungary

Sandor Kocsis scored eleven times for Hungary in the 1954 World Cup, and it might have been more, save that he was played out of position in the Final. In the thirty-two matches before the World Cup Hungary conceded only four draws, winning the rest, often overwhelmingly. In all Kocsis scored seventy-five goals in sixty-eight matches for Hungary. What made him unusual for a continental player of that time was his ability to score with his head, for which he was nicknamed the “Golden Head”. Like Puskas, Kocsis did not return to his native Hungary after the crushing of the Hungarian revolution by Soviet tanks in 1956. Initially practising his trade in Switzerland, Kocsis eventually ended up playing for Barcelona, the great rivals of Real Madrid. He was part of the Catalan side that lost the 1961 European Cup Final to Benfica of Portugal.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.