Younger football fans may not see Hungary as a footballing superpower, but their all-time greatest squad could mix it with any of the others we have covered in this series. Gold medalists at the 1952, 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games', Hungary have played in two World Cup finals, in 1938 and 1954, reaching the semi-finals of the European Championship's in 1964 and 1972.
It is a miracle that Hungary didn't win the World Cup in 1954, when they were comfortably the best team on the planet, so much so that Germany's victory over them was named the 'Miracle of Bern'. Since the 1960's, Hungary's footballing pedigree has fallen off a cliff, but their all-time squad, with a large number of players from the Golden Team, is a mouth-watering proposition.
Below is Hungary's definite 15 man squad, plus their 8 reserves from which you choose which 3 join the initial 15 to create a final 18 man squad.
Hungary's 'Golden Team' goalkeeper Gyula Grosics
There is much debate about where Gyula Grosics rank among the true all-time greats of goalkeeping, with some suggesting his ability has been over-played down the years, but certainly he was a goalkeeping maverick. One of the first high-profile sweeper-keepers, Grosics liked to act as an extra defender and had few concerns about leaving his area. He won 86 caps for the Magical Magyars, many throughout their unbeaten run in which they lost just once in six years.
A rarity in this series, Karoly Zsak was an amateur footballer. Hungary's number two in this squad, Zsak played 30 games for Hungary, being a member of the countries squads for the 1912 and 1924 Olympics. Like Grosics, Zsak fancied himself with the ball at his feet, and scored 40 goals at club level, and numerous more for the reserves, where he played as a striker.
Hungarian legends Gyula Grosics, Jeno Buzansky and Ferenc Puskas
It was a tricky call between Jeno Buzansky and Karoly Fogl at right-back. Buzansky starred in the Golden Team, but whilst they were scintillating going forwards, they were rarely great value for a clean sheet. Buzansky won 48 caps for Hungary, winning at the Olympics, the Central European Cup and reaching a World Cup final.
It's fair to say Hungary are better known for their centre-forwards than their centre-halves, but Gyula Lorant was a classy sweeper who could play in both defence and midfield. Yet another member of the Golden Team, Lorant won 37 caps for Hungary, as well as playing for Vasas and Honved, the two titans of the era, at club level.
Nicknamed 'the Blond Rock', Kalman Meszoly was a more traditional centre-back or stopper. He spent his entire club career with Vasas, and played in three major tournaments with Hungary. Meszoly played was a member of several 'All-Star' sides during the 1960's and 70's, a mark of his quality. He won 61 caps for Hungary and his son later became a full Hungarian international too.
A stalwart of MTK (then MTK Hungaria, now MTK Budapest), Mihaly Lantos was a highly dependable left-sided defender who won 52 caps for Hungary, all in the era of the Magical Magyars. Lantos scored a number of important goals for Hungary, such as one in their 7-1 defeat of England, one in their 9-0 win over South Korea and another when they knocked Brazil out of the 1954 World Cup in the 'Battle of Bern'.
Following retirement Konrad managed Bayern Munich
Hungary have the fewest number of defenders in their initial 15 of any country in this series, and we are already onto the midfield here. In fact, Kalman Konrad was best known as a winger and attacking midfielder, scoring 88 goals in 94 games for MTK. Born in modern day Serbia, Konrad won just 12 caps for Hungary, but was a national star, and was named by World Soccer magazine as one of the 100 greatest footballers of all-time. Following his retirement, he became a well-known coach, managing the likes of Bayern Munich, Slavia Prague and Malmo.
Many Hungarians regarded Jozsef Bozsik, not Puskas or Kocsis, as the countries greatest ever player, however, having never left Honved for La Liga like those other two, his reputation outside of Hungary perhaps hasn't received the recognition it deserves. Probably the greatest defensive midfielder to have ever lived, Bozsik was intelligent and skilful, initiating wave after wave of Hungarian attack. He wasn't the quickest, but it rarely mattered. He won 101 caps for Hungary.
The attacking threat of this Hungary squad is now starting to show itself. Laszlo Kubala was an exceptional attacking midfielder or second striker, who was named as Barcelona's greatest ever player in 1999, with some still maintaining Lionel Messi is yet to overtake him in that regard. Kubala scored 131 goals in 186 games for Barca, where he won four league titles. Born in Budapest, Kubala played international football for Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Spain, but never played in a major finals. If he had, he may well be considered one of the greatest footballers of all-time.
Sir Stanley Matthews played in Hungary's 6-3 thrashing of England
Nandor Hidegkuti cannot lay claim to having invented the number 10 position, but he could fairly be described as its greatest exponent since Matthias Sindelar. Hidegkuti was a very clever footballer who bewildered defenders and deep-lying midfielders for more than a decade. He scored a hat-trick in Hungary's 6-3 demolition of England. It was said that if you stopped Hidegkuti, you stopped Hungary - very few did. He scored 39 goals in 69 games for his country.
Diminutive winger Zoltan Czibor can rival the likes of George Best and Francisco Gento for the title of greatest left winger of all-time. The Hungarian maestro was an integral part of the Magical Magyars, twinning his lightning speed with exceptional close control. He played for MTK, Roma, Barcelona and more, winning 43 caps for Hungary and scored 17 goals.
When we think of complete footballers, we probably think of the likes of Alfredo di Stefano and Duncan Edwards, but Gyorgy Sarosi was another, and arguably even more versatile. Second striker was his preferred role, but he was also known to operate as a holding midfielder or centre-back. He captained Hungary to the 1938 World Cup final, where he scored 5 goals. Named the 60th Greatest European Player of the Century by IFFHS, Sarosi scored 351 goals in 383 games for Ferencvarosi and 42 goals in 62 games for Hungary.
This Hungary squad is littered with world class players, but none have the same international fame and recognition of Ferenc Puskas. Regarded by many as the greatest forward of all-time, Puskas was deprived of probably his two to three best years as a footballer by a UEFA ban, but still managed to score 352 goals in 341 games for Honved and 156 goals in 180 games for Real Madrid, playing for Los Blancos up until the age of 39. Hungary's all-time leading goal scorer, Puskas scored 84 goals in 85 games for his country, won the European Cup three times and was named the European Player of the Twentieth Century by L'Equipe.
Image from the funeral of the great Sandor Kocsis
Whilst Puskas is Hungary's leading goal scorer, it is Sandor Kocsis who has the more impressive international goal scoring ratio, with 75 goals from 68 caps. Kocsis won the Golden Boot with 11 goals, including two hat-tricks, at the 1954 World Cup. Prolific for every team he ever played for, Kocsis won league titles with three different clubs, including Honved and Barcelona.
Puskas and Kocsis were easy selections, but choosing Hungary's third forward from a raft of superb candidates for the initial 15 was a tricky task. Ultimately, Imre Schlosser gets the nod. His goal scoring record in phenomenal, 417 goals in 320 games at club level and 58 goals from 68 caps for Hungary. Schlosser won the Hungarian title 13 times, seven times with Ferencvarosi and six times with MTK, being the divisions top scorer on seven occasions and Europe's top scorer on four.
That's it for Hungary's definite 15, now it's over to you to pick which three reserve players get the nod and join the likes of Puskas and Kubala in Hungary's final 18. The eight reserve players to choose from are as follows:
1. Ferenc Plattko - Former Barcelona goalkeeper - 6 caps
2. Karoly Fogl - Former Ujpest defender - 51 caps
3. Erno Solymosi - Former Ujpest midfielder and defender - 38 caps
4. Gyorgy Orth - Former MTK midfielder and forward - 32 caps
5. Istvan Nyers - Former Inter Milan and Roma winger - 2 caps
6. Florian Albert - Former Ferencvaros forward - 75 caps
7. Gyula Zsengeller - Former Ujpest and Roma forward - 39 caps
8. Ferenc Deak - Former Ferencvaros and Ujpest forward - 20 caps
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