4 July 2014

ON THIS DAY: West Germany wins 'Miracle of Bern'

In this July 4, 1954 file photo, West Germany's Helmut Rahn, center with arms raised, celebrates after equalising in the World Cup soccer final match against Hungary, at Wankdorf Stadium, in Bern, Switzerland. On this day: West Germany comes back from 2-0 down to beat Hungary 3-2 and win its first World Cup.
On July 4 in history: West Germany surprises Hungary to win 1954 World Cup in Bern, Switzerland; Romario and Bebeto link up for Brazil to beat U.S. on Independence Day at Stanford in 1994.

It was a foregone conclusion. Hungary would lift the Jules Rimet Trophy. After all, Hungary was Olympic champion, unbeaten in four years, and had in Ferenc Puskas the most feared player in the world. And Hungary also defeated West Germany 8-3 earlier in the tournament. Instead, the West Germans came back from two goals down to beat the "Magical Magyars" with a goal from Helmut Rahn six minutes from time in a match that was dubbed "The Miracle of Bern."

On U.S. Independence Day in 1994, the host took on Brazil in the round of 16. Brazil wasn't its usual fluid self even before left back Leonardo was sent off in the 43rd minute for elbowing Tab Ramos. Eventually, though, the tournament's best strike partnership provided the American's undoing — Romario's precision pass to Bebeto was calmly dispatched to keep Brazil on course for its first World Cup triumph since 1970. For the U.S., it was a damp end to a tournament it hosted.