76 – Erich Probst: Austria v Switzerland 1954 – 90 World Cup Minutes in 90 Days

WFI‘s Adam Brandon counts down to Russia 2018 with 90 World Cup goals in 90 days, scored in the minute corresponding to the day in the countdown.

Context

Hosts Switzerland were elected without any opposition in 1946. They spent eight years preparing to host the biggest and most watched World Cup ever, with television broadcasting nine live matches to European viewers for the very first time.

The sixteen teams were divided into four groups. Each group consisted of two seeded teams and two unseeded teams.

Instead of the format we have today, only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team.

It seemed to complicate matters with some teams playing others twice. In addition, a play-off was needed to separate teams in two of the four groups. Also, extra-time would be played in the group stages if the scores were still level.

The hosts started well, beating Italy 2-1 in their opening match. England would get the better of them in their second match, however, which meant they had to face Italy again in a play-off.

They beat the Italians more comfortably the second time around, and now they faced another neighbour in the quarter finals.

This Austria side didn’t have the fearsome reputation of the Wunderteam but they were capable of good attacking football.

What unfolded in the searing heat following ninety minutes was simply remarkable. It became known as Hitzeschlacht von Lausanne (the heat battle of Lausanne) as it was played in 40°C (104°F) temperatures.

It remains the highest scoring game in FIFA World Cup history.

 

The Goal

Probst sealed the game for the Austrians in the 76th minute…

 

What Happened Next?

There were no further goals in the last fourteen minutes. It finished Austria 7-5 Switzerland.

Austria were taken apart by neighbours West Germany in the semi-finals. Probst scored again but the Germans netted six. They did claim an impressive 3-1 victory against Uruguay to finish third, though.

This was as good as it got for both Austria and Switzerland, neither of them have ever reached the World Cup quarter finals again.

Probst finished his career with the national team with an impressive 17 goals in 19 matches. The 1954 World Cup was his career highlight, although he did win four Austrian Championships with Rapid Vienna.

 

Extras

Part 1 of Extended Highlights – includes some footage from Switzerland training camp

Part 2 of Extended Highlights

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