On 25 November 1953, the footballing landscape was altered forever. In a mist-shrouded Wembley Stadium, the beautiful game’s historic dominant force, England, met the most exciting team of the 1950s, Hungary. What followed sent shockwaves through the very foundations that the sport was built upon.
After years of crumbling decline, the British Empire seemed to be enjoying a resurgence with the coronation of the popular young Elizabeth II. As such, England played with the crushing weight of expectation upon their shoulders, defending their proud, unbeaten home record and protecting the reputation of the nation. Hungary, meanwhile, took on football’s most venerated team in the knowledge that they had the opportunity to make history by emerging victorious – anything less would not be tolerated.
The newspapers called it the Match of the Century before it had even begun. By the time it was over, writers, players and fans were wondering if such a lofty billing had in fact undersold the contest. Now, over sixty years later, the match is imbued with meaning and symbolism far beyond the football pitch. This is the story of a match that would change the course of football history forever.