The Miracle of Bern, a party that changed history

The Miracle of Bern, a party that changed history
The captains of Germany and Hungary greet each other before the final of 1954 (Radio Miter)

Last update November 2, 2019 by Javier Argudo

The 4 July 1954 the Wankdorf Stadium attracted the world football focus, the mythical stadium of Bern hosted the World Cup final. Hungary, the undisputed favorite to win the planetary pointes, faced West Germany, the surprise of the tournament. Some papers today, nearly seventy years later, no one disputes that they would perform backwards.

In the fifties the Hungarian team was the great soccer power. The so-called Golden Team, with a modern and precious game and with footballers of the stature of Puskas, Czibor O carter, had wiped out all his rivals for six years and accumulated a total of 33 matches without losing. While, the German team was a gray team, a reflection of a country lacking a national and international identity and reappearing in international competition after serving a politicized FIFA sanction.

Both teams met in the very final after an uneven path. Hungary attended the world championship without a fight, when Poland did not appear, afraid of being ridiculed. Meanwhile, an amnesty West Germany managed to sneak into the final phase of the tournament. They met in a first phase where Hungary literally swept their opponents, 8-3 the Teutons themselves and 9-0 a Korea. Germany would get through as second in the group after a playoff game with Turkey. Hungary's path to the final was thorny, got rid of Brazil in a tremendous match known as the Battle of Bern and in the semifinals he managed to beat an undefeated Uruguay in official competition. For its part, Germany surprisingly managed to defeat Yugoslavia and Austria, and was planted at the very end under a thick layer of lamb.


It has always been said that football is the most important of the least important things, however that afternoon in July, on the green rectangle, something more than a sports trophy was played. The governments of both countries needed a great victory as a propaganda framework for their transgressive policies that would help bring to fruition the severe internal transformation processes initiated after the war..

Germany it was a morally sunken country, drowned in desolation and misery. The "liberating" forces far from helping the population, I had subdued and ridiculed her. Germany was divided in two, being the western part oriented towards a social market and with a democratic parliamentary government, but without identity.

Enjoy the war, peace will be terrible "

A German joke that became famous in the postwar period and reflects the despair of the German people of those years.

Meanwhile, Hungary lived a chaotic political-social plane fruit of a transformation that led him to be a member of the Axis a Communist People's Republic. President Nagy's weak position, that through a centrist policy tried to distance itself from the more orthodox communist slopes, needed a great victory for the Magyar team to strengthen its position against the looming Soviet hand.


What makes this blessed sport special came to the fore stronger than ever on that very special day.. The mother of all surprises, the father of all miracles.

A Hungary that knew itself superior quickly took the lead on the scoreboard with goals from Puskas Y Czibor. Under heavy rain, the field got muddy, conditions that favored German physical play that, with five minutes to go, managed to turn the game thanks to a great Rahn. Then the Magyar attacks and bad luck will follow, a goal disallowed, the pole and the giant Toni Turek under sticks they made the Germans shove into the wagon of football history. Germany had managed to win against all odds. It was a miracle. The Miracle of Bern.

“Stopped her, stopped her. Toni, Toni, you are a football god!”

The scream of German public television broadcaster Herbert Zimmermann, it became the cry of an entire town and was sold on microgroove records in any corner of the country.

It was not long before it became known that the German brand Adidas had supplied his national team with some new boots with replaceable cleats. A technical advance that the Germans took advantage of at the break of the match to wear longer studs that allowed them a better grip on the muddy terrain and that, coupled with intravenous intake of vitamin C, made them clearly superior in the second half.

Anyway, everything seemed to change from that day on. The German victory provoked jubilation among the population, the nationalist spirit soared in a country that raised its head for the first time after the defeat in World War II. An event that the German historian himself Ullrich Prehn points out as a determining factor for the triggering of the so-called German Economic Miracle that allowed the emergence of Federal Republic of Germany, and that the Teutonic country began an unprecedented recovery process until it reached the status of a world power.

While, Hungary, sunk by sports failure, was plunged into total political instability. Nagy was overthrown and a strong oppressive regime was established that caused the Golden Team come undone. Those fabulous footballers were escaping, renouncing their nationality and reviving Spanish football, Italian or French at the same time as the Hungarian was sinking. A Hungarian football that, more than six decades later, from the distance, glimpse the dazzling international record of a Germany unified, presided over by that cup that escaped from his hands.

That miracle that changed the fate of football and the political future of Europe, today, almost seventy years later, is questioned. The anti-doping fight placed the magnifying glass on those supposed vitamins. But it's too late, the story is already written.

The Miracle of Bern movie
Image from the film The Miracle of Bern (2003)

There are two post-war German events in which Germans remember precisely where they were when they occurred: the fall of the Berlin wall and the surprising triumph of the '54 world championship″

Sonke Wortmann. Movie director, film director The Miracle of Bern.

Jose Quesada

Historian, Grenadian and granadinista. In search of the "anti-heroes" of the League, because they are the grim stories that give a touch legendary football. Puedes seguirme en @JxQuesada Autor de “Los Antihéroes del Granada C.F.”

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