Remembering the Golden Head of Hungary

Hungary's Sandor Kocsis in 1954
© Getty Images

Trying to comprehend Sandor Kocsis' prowess in front of goal, what with some of staggering scoring statistics, is enough to give you a headache. Ironically, he more than likely incurred a similar side-effect when accruing his impressive numbers, such was his dominance in the air.

Known as 'Golden Head', the Hungarian forward was a devastating force in the opposition's box and would have turned 85 today. He remains arguably the most deadly striker in FIFA World Cup™ history, having scored 11 times in just five games. No-one who has played more than just a single match has bettered his ratio of 2.2 goals per game set at Switzerland 1954.

“There has never been anybody better with his head. He had a great leap and then combined fierce power with pinpoint accuracy,” Kocsis' Hungary coach Gusztav Sebes said of his forward.” But he was also a very complete striker who held the ball up and could finish with both feet. His performances in 1954 deserved the Trophy.”

They very nearly did help earn that. Only Germany's Final revival in a match now dubbed 'The Miracle of Bern' could deny the Mighty Magyars reaching the pinnacle of world football during a period of absolute dominance. It ended a run of 31 successive wins, and was their only defeat between 1950-56, which featured 49 games. That run also included two famous victories over England, including the first team from outside Britain to win at Wembley. Victory two years earlier in the Men's Olympic Football Tournament proved to be Kocsis sole global title, despite trailing for just six minutes during the two competitions combined.

He had already put four past the German's earlier in Switzerland, becoming the first player to ever score back-to-back World Cup hat-tricks after hitting a treble against Korea Republic, as well as hitting four more in the latter stages. Gerd Muller is the only man since to have replicated the feat of successive sets of three goals, and the German hitman is one of few to rival the Hungarian's proficiency on the international stage, pipping Kocsis' tally of seven international hat-tricks with eight of his own – a record shared with Iran's Ali Daei.

An astonishing 75 goals in 68 caps sees him sit behind only the iconic Ferenc Puskas in terms of national goalscoring charts, while only Pele separates the two when it comes down to the top scorers on the international stage throughout the entire 20th century.

You can read more about Kocsis, his time with Hungary, spells with Ferencvaros and Honved, career with Barcelona and his rivalry with Puskas by following the link to 'The Hungarian head king'.

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