“If the score stays the same it’ll be their greatest result ever”
Neville in commentary when Hungary went 1 up.
Now, we all know this is stupid, but perhaps not how stupid.
Are you aware of eloratings.net? It’s a rating system for international football which borrows from a chess scoring system to rate all international teams ever. It works, and avoids a lot of the oddities we sometimes see in the official FIFA ratings.
Anyway, the joy of this is that you can go back into history and see how teams were rating on any given day. England’s high point was the game after they’d won the World Cup, as you might expect. The system has Brazil at their peak in 1962, West Germany in 1974, and Holland, intriguingly, in the latest World Cup (but if you look at this year’s results, they have beaten some fine sides). Spain have never been better.
But the highest score anyone has ever received came in 1954, by, you’ve guessed it, Hungary. The 1953 win at Wembley is well known (rightly so, it remains a fantastic story), but after that you have the 7-1 return victory, an 8-3 victory over West Germany in the ’54 World Cup, a 4-2 win over Brazil in the same tournament, then a 4-2 win over Uruguay. A great, great team. Amazingly they lost the Final, in part because Adi Dassler had just invented long, screw-in studs for muddy ground, which he ensured the Germans alone were able to wear. During the match decisions went Germany’s way, and Hungary missed the glory that that team deserved.