Bern braces itself for Switzerland 1954
With a record 173,850 crowd having been recorded at the 1950 FIFA World Cup™ Final four years previously, these officials at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium were anticipating a full house when measuring crowd capacity ahead of Switzerland 1954.
One of six host venues at the 1954 World Cup, the Wankdorf Stadium had its capacity specially increased ahead of the tournament, where it would it go on to host five enticing matches, including the Final. Over 60,000 would gather in the stadium to witness ‘Das Wunder von Bern’ (‘The Miracle of Bern’) where West Germany pulled off one of the most iconic shocks in World Cup history by defeating Hungary’s Golden Team in the Final.
The Hungarians were in formidable form ahead of the showpiece event. Not only were the firm favourites on a remarkable unbeaten streak dating back to 14 May 1950, they had dispatched the Germans 8-3 in the group stage. It seemed certain that the Magical Magyars would get their hands on the Trophy for the first time.
In rain-soaked Bern, it looked as if the Hungarians would storm to victory when star man Ferenc Puskas and Zoltan Czibor gave them a two-goal lead after just eight minutes. The spectators, however, witnessed a thrilling comeback from the underdogs, and with the score poised at 2-2 on 84 minutes, striker Helmut Rahn converted from range to seal the Germans’ first world title in dramatic fashion.
Broadcasting to millions of German listeners from the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, radio commentator Herbert Zimmermann’s words: "Rahn has to shoot from distance, Rahn shoots... Goal! Goal! Goal!” are immortalised in Germany, before signing off his report of Germany's maiden title win with: “It's over! Over! Over! Germany are the World Champions."
Did you know? An original ticket from this iconic FIFA World Cup Final in Bern can be found at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich.