Great Football Murals: 6:3

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Mighty Magyars Budapest
The Mighty Magyars are immortalised in this Budapest street mural.

Budapest’s Rumbach Sebestyén street is a narrow thoroughfare in the Hungarian capital’s Jewish quarter. It’s a pretty out-of-the-way place to stumble across a celebration of what is arguably the biggest moment in the country’s sporting history.

A mural entitled “6:3” depicts the victory of the Aranycsapat (“Golden Team”) over England at Wembley in November 1953. The “Match of the Century” was the first home defeat for England of any continental side, and was in many ways a watershed for English football, tactically, especially when in a return fixture in Budapest six months later the Golden Team dispatched an England team featuring Billy Wright and Tom Finney 7-1 in front of around 100,000 people. The FA could no longer view the 6-3 as a one-off, England was way behind the best, and this record defeat emphasised this fact.

Depicting the ‘6:3’

The 50-metre-wide, 30-metre-high artwork is Hungary’s largest, which puts the Match of the Century into context. It features Honvéd goalkeeper and captain Gyula Grosics contesting a high ball and a Hungarian shot going in past England ‘keeper Gil Merrick. Both images are surrounded by newspaper cuttings from the time.

It was completed on the 60th anniversary of the match and its creator, Hungarian serial mural creator Neopaint, took three weeks and 400 litres of paint to complete. I stumbled across it quite by chance while on a stag do to the Hungarian capital and was captivated.

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Alongside Puskás, that Aranycsapat team – also known as the “Mighty Magyars” in English – included Sandor Kocsis, József Bozsik, Zoltán Czibor and Nándor Hidegkuti. They had won gold at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and should really have won the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, but fell short to Sepp Herberger’s West Germany in the final. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 pretty much signalled the end of Hungarian footballing dominance, with some of the team moving abroad. Puskás famously went onto win three European Cups at Real Madrid, while Czibor and Kocsis signed for FC Barcelona.

Hungarian football nostalgia

While the English may go on ad nauseum about 1966 and the Scots about 1967, Hungary’s zenith was in the first half of the 1950s, and the national team has not hit those heights since. The Hungary coach of the Mighty Magyars was deputy sports minister Gusztás Sebes, whose chief inspiration had, ironically, been an Englishman, football coach Jimmy Hogan, who’d coached at MTK Budapest during World War I and again in 1920s and was an early pioneer of what became known as ‘total football’.

Though Puskás became remembered widely for this game – and watch the highlights of the game below, his drag-back for Hungary’s third is pure genius – it was Nándor Hidegkuti who bagged a hat-trick that day. Unlike Puskás, Czibor and Kocsis, he stayed in Hungary playing for MTK Budapest so probably did not receive as much international acclaim as he could have.

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