Hungary’s Golden Team: Why Were the Mighty Magyars So Good?

April 13, 2022

The BBC nominated Hungary’s golden team between 1953 and 1955 for its super dominance in football in the early 1950s. The researchers considered goals scored, the number of goals conceded, and the opposition’s strength. The Hungarian team played for four years without defeat, making them the best team back in the day, and they shone in glory.

Since then, Hungarians have been waiting for the golden days to return. It would be a significant comeback if they ever manage to get to the level of skill and tactical prowess known by the world’s top football nations. Trusted sportsbooks in Hungary routinely grant the Hungarian national team high odds, which means they consider them to be an underdog against Europe’s football elite.

Why were the mighty Magyars so good, and what can be done to bring the golden days back today? Stick around and know why they were untouchable.

The Reasons ‌the Mighty Magyars Were Great

Some factors led the mighty Magyars to dominate the football victories for years. Here are the best elements that made them play uniquely and the best.

The Team Changed the Playing Style

Under Gusztav Sebes, the Hungarian national team changed the style of playing, which also brought significant wins to the team. For four consecutive years, they broke the records as Puskas took on-pitch leadership.

During his leadership, the Hungarian national team was unbeaten from 1949 to 1954. They played quick and direct attacking football, where they would beat their opponents without strain. They defeated Italy 3-0, Turkey 7-1 during the 1952 Olympic cup, and they beat Sweden 6-0 during the finals.

Even after Puskas suffered an ankle fracture, the Hungarian team had to carry on without him. They advanced to the finals, scoring 4-2 against Uruguay.

Six Good Golden Players

What made the mighty Magyars so great were ‌the six best players, namely Puskas, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, and Czibor, where the midfielder was Jozsef Bozsik and their excellent goalkeeper Gyula Grosics. They rated these players the best players of the day, while Puskas took the 5th position of the best player in history.

Sebes introduced the golden team. He adopted the 2-3-3-1 formation, which was flexible. Their tactic confused the opponent defenders, who looked close to the Hungarian number 9 Hidegkuti. Hidegkuti played as an attacking midfielder and not a conventional center-forward. The tactic would lead the opposition team to pull out, paving the way for Puskas and Kocsis.

Rigorous Training

Sebes trained the team thoroughly that they would play anywhere on the field, and from these, the team could attack the opponent comfortably. This tactical practice is called total football. The players were at their peak in physical fitness.

Unlike other coaches, Sebes chose players from two teams which made players understand each other’s game quickly, and he only chose the best players.

Meticulous Planning

Sebes was known for planning, leaving no loophole for a ‌defeat. For example, when he was preparing for the 1953 match against England, he changed the size of the training pitch to match the Wembley stadium. He also introduced a heavier ball during the practice than the England team match.

A fortnight before the match, he prepared his team to play against Sweden, which had an English manager. He arranged more matches between his team and other teams that played the English style. After thorough preparation, the Hungary team scored 6-3 against England and later beat them 7-1, leaving the English team humbled and shaking the rest of the world.

In 1954, Hungary’s team went to Switzerland for the world cup, where they defeated South Korea 9-0 and 8-3 to West Germany.

Collaboration of the Team Members

The Hungarian national team had a good relationship with players; they would play so well and finally win. They played not as an individual but as one team. The communist spirit helped team performance. The team knew each other as a team, and they would face the opponents, unlike the many players who would want to shine above their squad.

Players knew each other’s weaknesses, so they looked toward team performance rather than individuals. It worked effectively for the team, and that’s why they would be unbeaten for the next four years.

Continued success

After four golden victories, the Hungarian team became a good football team. In 1962, they won against England and Bulgaria, qualifying for the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, they lost to Czechoslovakia. After two years, they qualified for the inaugural European Championship.

Later in the 1966 world cup, they qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Brazil and Bulgaria, where the Soviet Union defeated them. Later, they took part in three world cups, but they never went past the group stage. In 1972, the Hungarian team qualified for Euros, taking third place.

Why the Decline?

After the fall of the communist in 1989, the Hungarian team entered a dark stage because of financial issues in the Hungarian football clubs, which sucked the life out of the national team. Things declined from bad to worse to a point where the team became 87th in 1996.

And from 1990 to 2014, the Hungarian national team never qualified for any international tournaments. Is there hope for the Hungarian team? What did the mighty Magyars do that the current Hungarian team is not doing?


The mighty Magyars were one team that Hungary celebrated back in the 1950s, and there has never been a comeback. Though most Hungarians are hungry for the revival of the golden days unless they go back to the drawing board, they can never match such a powerful team of players. Their spirit, oneness, good management, and vigorous training brought them trophy after trophy. After Sebes left the team, it experienced a decline that has never been recovered. It means there’s more to football than playing on the pitch. A team comprises an excellent manager and exemplary players.


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