Switzerland, neutral during the Second World War, hosted the 1954 World Cup.
West Germany returned to the international fold and the Ferenc Puskas-inspired Hungary, who had handed England a historic 6-3 defeat at Wembley prior to the finals, were installed as strong favourites.
The 1950 group format was abandoned, with a return to the group system followed by knockout quarter- and semi-finals.
The Hungarians demolished a tactically weakened German side 8-3 in the opening round, adding to a 9-0 demolition of South Korea.
In the quarter-finals their match with Brazil turned ugly. The Battle of Berne, as the match was later labelled, saw two Brazilians and a Hungarian sent off and continued fighting in the dressing rooms after the match, which Hungary won 4-2.
In the final they were to face West Germany again, surely a formality.
It was not to be. Hungary were soon 2-0 ahead through Puskas and Zoltan Czibor and seemingly cruising to victory, but they reckoned without the determination of the West Germans who were level within ten minutes.
The German winner came five minutes from the end when Helmut Rahn scored his second goal to clinch their first World Cup triumph.
1954 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Hungary: b. 1922, d. 2002
Deep-lying centre-forward who played behind Puskas and Sandor Kocsis in the era of the Magic Magyars.
Captured the world's attention with three goals against England at Wembley in Hungary's famous 6-3 win in 1953, and all told scored 39 goals in 68 internationals.
The high point of his career came when he was over 30 and was known as the Old Man because of his bald patch. He had been a contested choice when first capped in 1945 and it was only in 1952 that he won a regular place. He won a gold medal in the Helsinki Olympics and two years later was the brains in the Hungarian side that everyone expected to win the World Cup.
Hidegkuti scored twice in the 8-3 group win over Germany, once in the shameful quarter-final against Brazil, despite having his shorts torn off in the process of shooting, and a brilliant diving header against Uruguay in a classic semi-final.
Coached in Italy, Hungary and Poland when his playing days were over.
Hungary: b. 1929, d. 1979
Prolific goal-scoring inside-forward of Hungary's great 1950s side. Scored 75 goals in 68 internationals, including 11 at the 1954 World Cup.
Imaginative, good with both feet but, above all, sensational in the air. Known as Golden Head, scored seven hat-tricks for Hungary, including four goals in the 1954 World Cup group game against Germany.
Had to spearhead the attack when Puskas was injured during the 1954 World Cup, scoring three against South Korea, four against Germany, two against Brazil and two headers in extra-time against Uruguay in the semi-finals.
At the end of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 he was on Honved's South American tour and like many of his team-mates decided not to return.
He joined Young Fellows of Switzerland before moving to Barcelona where he played in the 1962 European Cup final they lost 3-2 to Benfica of Portugal, sharing the goals with his old Hungarian team-mate Czibor.
Hungary: b. 1927, d. 2006
Supreme scorer for Hungary with 83 goals in 84 internationals and when most people thought his great days were behind him he embarked on another dazzling career in his 30s for Real Madrid.
Short and stocky, he could not shoot with his right foot and headed the ball only when he had to -- but his left foot was something else.
Incredible ball control allied to a quick, alert mind made him exploit openings before opponents had even seen them.
The power of his left foot became a legend.
A likeable personality off the field, the 'Galloping Major' -- as he became known -- was not always a favourite with the Hungarian fans because of his occasionally unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Even blamed for Hungary's 1954 World Cup final defeat to Germany because he insisted on playing when he knew he was not fit, having been injured in the group game against Germany.
1954 WORLD CUP SCORERS
Sandor Koscis (HUN) 11
Max Morlock (GER) 6
Josef Hugi (SWI) 6
Erich Probst (AUT) 5
Ferenc Puskas (HUN) 4
Nandor Hidegkuti (HUN) 4
Hans Schafer (GER) 4
Ottmar Walter (GER) 4
Helmut Rahn (GER) 4
Carlos Borges (URU) 4
Ernst Stojaspal (AUT) 4
Robert Ballaman (SWI) 4
1954 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- This was the first tournament to be televised.
- Four groups of four teams was the playing format used and FIFA decided for the first time to seed the top two in each group. They were never to meet, therefore each country only played two matches instead of the normal three.
- Scotland's first World Cup game ended with a 1-0 defeat by Austria in Group Three.
- Hungary registered the highest goals total in a World Cup match when they beat South Korea 9-0 in Zurich. Sandor Kocsis scored three and later hit four goals in an 8-3 demolition of West Germany.
- West Germany deliberately fielded a weaker team in the 8-3 group-stage loss to Hungary, saving their strongest team for the play-off against Turkey. The plan worked as they beat the Turks 7-2.
- Switzerland caused a sensation almost as great as England's defeat against the USA four years earlier when they eliminated Italy 4-1 in Basle.
- Hungary's violent 4-2 quarter-final win over Brazil was the first time in the World Cup that both sides had scored from the penalty spot; Mihaly Lantos for Hungary and Djalma Santos for Brazil.
- Before the final against West Germany, Hungary were unbeaten for four years, spanning 32 matches, of which they had won 28.
- West Germany recorded the highest goals tally for a winning team, scoring 25 in their six matches. They also conceded the most, 14, which was another record.
- Top scorer was Kocsis of Hungary with 11, who became the first player to score over 10 in the tournament.
1954 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Heinz Kwiatkowski, Anton Turek
Defenders: Hans Bauer, Werner Kohlmeyer, Bernhard Klodt, Fritz Laband, Werner Liebrich, Karl Mai, Paul Mebus, Josef Posipal
Midfielders: Horst Eckel, Maximilian Morlock, Alfred Pfaff, Fritz Walter (capt)
Forwards: Richard Hermann, Helmut Rahn, Hans Schaeffer, Ottmar Walter
Coach: Josef Herberger