Football

Published: Monday June 30, 2014 MYT 11:52:37 PM
Updated: Monday June 30, 2014 MYT 11:53:35 PM

Hungary bids farewell to Magical Magyars' Grosics

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban joined actors, celebrities and former players to bid farewell on Monday to Gyula Grosics, a member of the country's Magical Magyars team.

Grosics, goalkeeper for the Hungary side that famously defeated England 6-3 at Wembley in 1953, died this month at the age of 88. [ID:nL5N0IK36H]

The mourners at the funeral on a wet, windy Budapest afternoon included Jeno Buzanszky, now the last living member of the Magyars, and Grosics' widow.

Grosics was nicknamed the Black Panther, for he was the first keeper to wear all-black. He was credited with developing the "sweeper-keeper" style of play, when a keeper acts as an extra defender when needed.

Buzanszky, 89, right-back for the Magyars, walked by Grosics' coffin at St Stephen's Basilica and bowed before his former team mate with tears in his eyes.

Grosics made 88 appearances for Hungary between 1947 and 1962, winning an Olympic gold medal at the Helsinki Games in 1952.

The team were considered heavy favourites to lift the 1954 World Cup on the back of a four-year unbeaten streak. Yet despite winning four games to reach the final, Hungary suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to West Germany in a historic upset that has haunted Hungarian football ever since.

From 1950 to 1956, the team recorded 42 victories, seven draws and that one defeat, but fell into decline in the second half of the century. The country have not qualified for a World Cup finals since 1986.

(Reporting by Zoltan Fazekas, editing by Stephen Wood)

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