– Like in the rest of Europe football is very popular in Hungary. In the current world ranking Hungary is on place 47. The last time Hungary has been able to qualify for a world cup or for the European championships was in 1986.
However during the 1950’s Hungary was the leading football team in the world and they were nicknamed the Magical Magyars.
1953 “match of the century” a Danube on Thames event – When they played England in 1953 the British press labelled the game the “match of the century”. The game took place in Wembley Stadium in London. Hungary before the game had been undefeated for 24 games. And England had only once before lost a game on home ground (against Ireland). Hungary won the game 6:3 being both tactical and technical superior to the English team.
1954 World cup – In 1954 Hungary were seen as favourites to win the world cup. They also remained unbeaten on their way to the final in Bern.In this game they played Western Germany whom they had beaten 8:3 in their group game. Germany however turned around Hungary’s 2:0 lead and won 3:2.
The love for water polo is one of the things that unites the Danube region. Countries like Croatia, Serbia and Hungary are among the best in the world. Hungary has won the most titles of any nation in the history of water polo. They for example won the Olympic Games 15 times.
1956 “blood in the water match” – A very special occasion for Hungarian sport fans and also the most famous match in the history of water polo was the semi-final of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. In this game Hungary beat the Soviet Union. The match was strongly influenced by political tensions between the two countries. Only weeks before Russian troops had killed 5000 Hungarians after protests for independence and freedom.
From the beginning the atmosphere in the stadium was tense and the players fought fiercely. In the final minutes when Hungary was leading 4-0 Ervin Zador was hit by a Russian player. His bleeding wound was caught by the media and the match was titled the “blood in the water match”
Hungary later went on to win the Olympic title.