Cymru 2-1 Hungary

For this 'Greatest Game' edition of FC Cymru we profile ten former Cymru managers and a match that defined each tenure. We start by looking back at a pivotal moment in the career of Jimmy Murphy.

Cymru 2-1 Hungary – 17 June 1958 – Rasunda Stadium, Sweden

Cymru XI: Kelsey (GK), Hopkins, Sullivan, Williams, Bowen (c), M.Charles, Allchurch, J.Charles, Hewitt, Medwin, Jones.

Goals: Allchurch (55), Medwin (76).

The only manager to date to take Cymru to the finals of the FIFA World Cup, Jimmy Murphy remains a hugely-popular figure in the history of the national team. Qualifying for the finals in Sweden with a play-off victory over Israel after a long list of political permutations, a twist of fate meant that Murphy did not travel with Manchester United as assistant manager to Sir Matt Busby for their European Cup quarter-final tie in Belgrade, and subsequently avoided the Munich air disaster.

Despite reaching the quarter-finals, Cymru only claimed one victory at the 1958 World Cup, and it came against Hungary in a play-off to decide which nation would progress from the group to the knockout stages of the competition. Having drawn against Hungary, Mexico and hosts Sweden, a second match against Hungary would determine who eventual winners Brazil would play in the last eight. The two teams took to the field in Solna for the decisive game confident that their journey was not about to end, and it was Cymru that would progress with a famous victory.

Hungary went ahead after 33 minutes through Lajos Tichy, but second half goals from Ivor Allchurch and Terry Medwin turned the match in favour of Cymru, and Murphy's side showed their character to hold on for the win. However, success came at a significant cost, as John Charles suffered a serious of brutal fouls and eventually limped out of the competition as he would be unavailable for the match against Brazil. The brutality of Hungary's approach resulted in a red card for Ferenc Sipos after 79 minutes. “I am a proud man’, said Murphy after the match. “I still think my policy of playing for a draw against Sweden was the correct one, for I knew the lads had it in them to beat these Hungarians. Whatever happens on Thursday the players have made Wales proud.”

A valiant effort was not enough for Cymru against Brazil as a teenage Pelé announced his arrival on the world stage by scoring the only goal of the game at just 17-years of age. Brazil would beat France and then Sweden in the final to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in Gothenburg. “I still say to this day if John [Charles] had played in the quarter-final it could have been a different result," said Cliff Jones to BBC Sport in 2014. “He would have caused Brazil problems they'd never faced before. That quarter final in 1958 was still the most difficult game Brazil had in that World Cup.”

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