In the future we will look at the Hungarian Golden Squad of the 1950’s in greater depth (inevitably of course in the context of the great Puskas).
Against a backdrop of political and social unrest Hungary (under coach Gusztav Sebes) produced a phenomenally successful international football team. Introducing a more fluid approach to play they were undefeated from June 1950 to July 1954, 32 games in which they scored 144 goals (conceding 33).
Grosics Gyula played 86 internationals in a career punctuated by enforced sabbaticals- for example 15 months when he was investigated on charges of treason. He was frequently at odds with the countries rulers. During the war he had, after all, been a volunteer in an Armoured Division of the SS. In 1949 he was apprehended attempting whilst to leave the country.
Despite these problems Grosics was a participant at three consecutive World Cups, 1954, 1958 and 1962, and won a Gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games.
Nicknamed Fekete Párduc (The Black Panther) Grosics developed the role of the ‘keeper as sweeper. His quick distribution also helped launch rapid counterattacks, and he recalls Puskas continually demanding swifter distribution, he and Hidegkuti dropping back to collect the ball from throws. Rolling the ball out… was one of the things I developed. It was much more accurate- and quicker- than just hoofing it upfield.
Graduating from lesser lights such as Dorogi Bányász, MATEOSZ and Teherfuvar, in 1950 Grosics joined Honvéd (the Army team to which top players were seconded via nominal conscription) and later Tatabányai Bányász ( a provincial miner’s team , to which he was transferred for incurring the displeasure of the authorities). He retired in 1962.