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    Gyula Grosics, 88; goalie of great 1950s Hungary soccer teams

    Mr. Grosics (left) and Jeno Buzanszky played roles in Hungary’s famous victory over England in 1953.
    Laszlo Balogh/Reuters/file 2003
    Mr. Grosics (left) and Jeno Buzanszky played roles in Hungary’s famous victory over England in 1953.

    BUDAPEST — Gyula Grosics, the goalkeeper of Hungary’s Golden Team of the 1950s, died Friday. He was 88.

    Mr. Grosics had suffered three heart attacks and other ailments in recent years and was hospitalized last week after a routine checkup.

    From 1947 to 1962, he played 86 times for Hungary, including in the famous 6-3 victory over England at Wembley Stadium in 1953, the host team’s first home loss to a non-British opponent. A few months later, Hungary beat England 7-1 in Budapest.


    Also known as the ‘‘Magical Magyars,’’ they had not lost in four years when they were upset in the 1954 World Cup final by West Germany.

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    Mr. Grosics also played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cups and won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

    He was called the Black Panther because of his black jersey, and he modernized his position by often coming far out of the goal to effectively act as another defender.

    As a teenager, he was recruited by the Hungarian armed forces near the end of World War II and was briefly taken prisoner by American troops. In 1949 he made a failed attempt to defect from Hungary, by then under Communist control.

    Mr. Grosics played for Budapest Honved from 1950-54, but was forced out of the sport for two years, as he was suspected by the Communist authorities of treason and spying.


    After Hungary returned to democracy in 1990, Mr. Grosics ran unsuccessfully for Parliament as a candidate for the conservative Hungarian Democratic Forum.