Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki; Kotka Sports Centre, Kotka; Kupittaa Football Stadium, Turku; Lahti Sports Park, Lahti; Ratina Stadium, Tampere; TÃ¶Ã¶lÃ¶ Football Field, Helsinki
Date Started: July 15, 1952
Date Finished: August 2, 1952
Format: Single-elimination tournament.
For the first time since the war, teams from Eastern Europe entered the football tournament. Although nominally amateurs, most of their players were able to dedicate all their time to sports, paid by the state. Their teams would dominate Olympic football tournaments until amateur restrictions were lifted in 1984. The first shock occurred in the qualifying round, as tiny Luxembourg defeated Britain 5-3. Highly anticipated was the Soviet team that had not played any internationals save for two matches against Turkey in the 1920s. They survived the qualifier against Bulgaria after overtime, and then drew 5-5 against Yugoslavia before being eliminated in the replay.
The biggest attraction at the Helsinki football tournament was probably the Hungarian team. Later known as the "Golden Team" at home and the "Mighty Magyars" abroad, the team featured many stars, including the legendary [Ferenc PuskÃ¡s]. They defeated 1948 gold medallist Sweden 6-0 in the semis, and 1948 runner- up Yugoslavia in the final for an undisputed title. In 1953, the Hungarian team played one of the most famous matches outside of the World Cups, defeating England at Wembley 6-3. Virtually the same squad was expected to take home the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, but was upset in the final by West Germany 2-3, in what became known as the "Miracle of Bern".