76th Minute, Erich Probst, Austria v Switzerland, 1954 World Cup Quarter Final
Hosts Switzerland were elected without any opposition in 1946. They spent eight years preparing to host the biggest and most watched World Cup than ever before 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 but instead of the format we have today, only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team. Also extra-time would be played in the group stages if the scores were still level. It seemed to complicate matters with teams playing each other twice, in addition a play-off was needed to separate teams in two of the four groups.
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 geographical rival 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 the “The heat battle of Lausanne”
Probst sealed the game for the Austrians in the 76th minute but today I have included all the goals and not just the final goal.
What Happened Next?
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.