Who was the referee in the FIFA World Cup match known as the ‘Battle of Berne’?

Who was the referee in the FIFA World Cup match known as the 'Battle of Berne'?  For the uninitiated, the FIFA World Cup match which became known as the ‘Battle of Berne’ was the quarter-final between Hungary, a.k.a. the ‘Mighty Magyars’, and Brazil, played at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland on June 27, 1954. History records that Hungary won the match 4-2, before beating Uruguay 4-2, after extra time, in the semi-final and losing 3-2 to West Germany in the final.

However, the final scoreline was no reflection of the quality of the play on the field during what was, arguably, the most eventful 90 minutes. In a match played in treacherous, rainy conditions, Hungary took an early 2-0 lead, courtesy of goals from strikers Nándor Hidegkuti and Sándor Kocsis, before Brazilian right-back Djalma Santos pulled a goal back, from the penalty spot, after 18 minutes.

The scoreline remained 2-1 until half-time but, when Hungary were awarded a penalty, scored by left-back Mihály Lantos, after an hour, all hell broke lose. The Brazilian entourage invaded the pitch and, thereafter, the match descended into a free-for-all, with cynical, professional fouls and violent conduct very much the order of the day. Brazilian striker pulled another goal back after 65 minutes but, six minutes later, Hungarian midfielder József Bozsik and Brazilian left-back Nilton Santos came to blows after a foul by the latter and both were sent off. Brazilian striker was also dismissed for violent conduct after 71 minutes.

Kocsis scored his second goal of the game after 88 minutes to seal a 4-2 victory for Hungary but, by that stage, the final score was almost immaterial. After the final whistle, the violence continued, on the pitch, in the tunnel and even in the dressing rooms but, remarkably, FIFA took no disciplinary action against either country.

The man charged with maintaining order on that fateful day was Yorkshire-born Arthur Ellis. He would later become a familiar face on the BBC television game show ‘It’s A Knockout’ but, at that time, was one of the most famous referees in England. Having awarded 42 free kicks and two penalties, and issued four cautions and three dismissals, Ellis said, ‘Whether politics and religion had something to do with it I don’t know, but they behaved like animals. It was a disgrace. It was a horrible match….My only thought was that I was determined to finish it.’

Ascot Chase

Ascot Chase  As the name suggests, the Ascot Chase is a Grade 1 steeplechase run over 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 8 yards at Ascot in February. Inaugurated, as the Comet Chase, in 1995, the race was orginally run over a distance of 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 110 yards, but has been lengthened, shortened and lengthened again at various points in its history. The 2005 and 2006 renewals – staged at Lingfield Park during the multi-million pound redevelopment of Ascot – were contested over 2 miles, 4 furlongs and 110 yards. Back at Ascot, on the partially reconstructed National Hunt course, in 2007, the distance was shortened to 2 miles 2 furlongs and 175 yards before being lengthened to the current yardage the following year.

Worth £150,000 in guaranteed in prize money, the Ascot Chase has the distinction of being the most valuable steeplechase run at Ascot. It is also the third, and final, National Hunt race of the season at the Berkshire course and, more importantly, the final Grade 1 race, of any description, before the Cheltenham Festival. The intermediate distance is ideally suited to top-level horses who lack the speed for two miles and the stamina for three. That said, the indomitable Kauto Star – a Grade 1 winner at two miles, three miles and three-and-a-quarter miles – demonstrated his versatility with an easy 8-length victory in 2008.

A total of four horses – Tiutchev (2001, 2003), Monet’s Garden (2007, 2010), Riverside Theatre (2011, 2012) and Cue Card (2013, 2017) – have won the Ascot Chase. Paul Nicholls, trainer of Kauto Star, also saddled Rockforce (2000) Silviniaco Conti (2016) and Cyrname (2019) to victory and, alongside Martin Pipe, is jointly the most successful trainer in the history of the race.

The 2023 renewal of the Ascot Chase is scheduled for Saturday, February 18. Ante-post prices are not yet available, but favourites have an excellent recent record, winning six of the last 10 renewals.

World Cup 2022 Semi Final: Argentina vs Croatia

World Cup 2022 Semi Final: Argentina vs Croatia  While many could have predicted the long-unbeaten Argentina side of 2022 reaching the last four in Qatar, Croatia are a different prospect. Despite being the finalists four years ago, Hrvatska have gone back the way in terms of results, playing style, and of course the age of key players. Despite the passing of time, though, the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic are still going strong.

Can the tiny Balkan nation, though, overcome an Argentina team that feels like it is playing against an act of destiny?

Argentina News

Argentina are going to feel the loss of two players – one more important than the other. The main miss is Marcos Acuna. The left-back is going to miss out with suspension, having picked up a yellow card in the brawl against the Netherlands. He will be a huge miss; his energy, power, and ability to fill in across midfield when needed makes him a very useful asset for this Argentina team.

The other miss will be Gonzalo Montiel. The full-back came on as a sub in the Netherlands game and was quickly booked, meaning that he will miss out. Argentina went for a 3-5-2 in the last game, but that was a tactical counter to the Dutch system. Expect them to return to their more traditional 4-3-3 for this one. Definitely the favourite going into this game, but the loss of Acuna could become a major detriment later.

Croatia News

Croatia will only be missing one player, Josip Stanisic, who has not even played a minute at the showpiece tournament. It is likely that goal scoring striker Bruno Petkovic will get a chance after his heroics against Brazil. However, it has to be noted that until his deflected winner Petkovic spent most of his time on the pitch losing the ball and genuinely being a nuisance to his team, not the opposition.

Zlatko Dalic is expected to stick with a Luka Modric-Marcelo Brozovic-Mateo Kovacic midfield. All three can control the ball, and as the Dutch made the Argentines suffer with possession football so can Croatia.

Verdict

It is hard to call for sure, as this should be a tight and challenging game for both sides. Extra time was played by both, and both have found relative success in penalty shootouts. We think it might go all the wa again.

Score: 1-1 (Argentina win on penalties)

Super Six

Super Six  For the uninitiated, Super 6 is a free-to-play game, promoted by Sky Sports, which involves predicting the correct score in each of six football matches, usually on a Saturday afternoon, chosen. Obviously, the odds against doing so are phenomenal, but the jackpot prize for a sole winner – typically £250,000, but occasionally £500,000 or even £1,000,000 – has been won on numerous occasions down the years.

In fact, the first sole winner of the £250,000 prize was Fred Crossman, a 68-year-old pensioner from Ripon, North Yorkshire, who did so on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Crossman correctly predicted away wins, to nil, for Chelsea, Huddersfield and Newcastle and score draws between Watford and Bournemouth, West Ham and Middlesbrough and Sunderland and West Bromwich. His success was never a foregone conclusion, though, with Patrick van Aanholt coming off the bench at the Stadium of Light to score a late equaliser for Sunderland, with just seven minutes of normal time remaining.

Not that Crossman was bothered, in any case. Engrossed in the drama of the Ryder Cup from Hazeltine National Golf Club, he missed Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports and remained blissfully unaware of his good fortune until his son showed him a video clip of presenter Jeff Stelling announcing that the winner was a 68-year-old from North Yorskhire. Afterwards, he said, ‘I’m still shaking. It’s hard to take in at the moment. I thought it was a scam when I got the email asking for my documents.’, adding, ‘It feels unreal.’