Nándor Hidegkuti


Harry Johnston was an outstanding defender who played nearly twenty years for Blackpool, mostly as a center-back. He was so good that in 1951 the FA named him footballer of the year. He played for his country as well, making his last appearance in 1953, at Wembley, against the upstart Magyars from Hungary, but that would not be a good day for Harry. The problem was Nándor Hidegkuti.  

Hungary kicked off to start the game, and moved the ball into English territory. A long pass down the right flank was knocked out of bounds: possession to Hungary. But the referee ruled that on the throw-in the Hungarian player had stepped into the field of play and gave possession to England. The Hungarians intercepted and passed to Hidegkuti, centrally located, outside the box. He was, the English understood, a center-forward, so it wasn’t clear what he might be doing quite so far from the goal. Harry Johnston backed off a bit. Hidegkuti faked a shot (or maybe a pass) to his right, paused an instant, then pushed the ball a yard or so forward, just into the box now, and simply lashed a shot into the upper-left corner of of the net. Forty-five seconds had elapsed. 

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