WORLD CUP: West Germans beat Hungary in ‘Miracle of Bern’

FILE - In this July 4, 1954 file photo, West Germany's Helmut Rahn, center with arms raised, celebrates after equalizing in the World Cup soccer final match against Hungary, at Wankdorf Stadium, in Bern, Switzerland. West Germany would go on to win the match 3-2. The 21st World Cup begins on Thursday, June 14, 2018, when host Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/File)

Never, ever, underestimate the Germans on the soccer field.

That’s a globally accepted truth, one that has its roots in the 1954 World Cup final in Switzerland.

Going into that tournament, Hungary was the overwhelming favorite. After all, Hungary was the Olympic champion, unbeaten in four years, and had arguably the best player in the world in Ferenc Puskas.

The team’s performances throughout the tournament only cemented the idea that Hungary would become the third country to win the World Cup, after the dual successes of Uruguay and Italy. In its first two games, Hungary racked up a total of 17 goals, including an 8-3 win over West Germany.

After beating Uruguay 4-2 in the semifinals, in a match contemporary observers rank as one of the best ever played, Hungary would meet the West Germans again in the final.

With two goals in the first eight minutes from Puskas and Zoltan Czibor, it looked like a repeat of the first encounter was likely. Instead, the West Germans responded almost immediately, with a goal in the 10th minute from Max Morlock. Helmut Rahn, a late addition to the squad, got his team back on level terms in the 18th.

Rahn then sealed the win six minutes from the end. West Germany had incredibly beaten the ”Magical Magyars.”

The match has been dubbed ”The Miracle of Bern” and laid the seeds of one of soccer’s most enduring adages: Never, ever, underestimate the Germans on the soccer field.

England in 1970, the Netherlands in 1974 and France in 1982 are three teams that can attest to that.

For more, see https://youtu.be/E4zup8Oy5Ck?t=7s

AP World Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup