CLASSIC UFWC TITLE MATCH:
ENGLAND 4-3 AUSTRIA, 7 December 1932
Friendly, Stamford Bridge, London
Scorers: Hampson (2), Crooks, Houghton (England); Zischek (2), Sindelar (Austria)
A century on from the original Battle of Stamford Bridge, the setting saw another legendary scuffle. England were still regarded as the best team in the world, but Dr Hugo Meisl and Jimmy Hogan’s Austrian Wunderteam provided fearsome opposition.
The Austrians had held the UFWC title for 12 consecutive games, impressively beating Germany 6-0 and 5-0, Switzerland 8-1, and Hungary 8-2 along the way. Add to the equation the fact that Austria played Meisl and Hogan’s brand of ‘Scottish football’, and this was a mouthwatering and monumental clash.
The illustrated souvenir programme produced for the match (priced 3d) showed the flags of both countries and photographs of captains Billy Walker and Karl Rainer. 42,000 spectators crammed into the ground, and the game got underway at 2.15 in the afternoon.
Despite Austria’s impressive passing play, England prevailed in the first half, taking 2-0 lead into the interval courtesy of Samuel Crooks of Derby County and Blackpool’s Jimmy Hampson.
But, six minutes after the restart, Karl Zischek pulled a goal back for the Wunderteam. Now the game became a classic footballing contest, with both sides drawing admiration from all in attendance.
In the 77th minute Aston Villa striker William Houghton scored a third goal for England. But Austria were not beaten yet. Three minutes later the brilliant Matthias Sindelar pulled another goal back for the Wunderteam. England replied almost immediately, with Hampson grabbing his second goal of the match to make it 4-2. But still Austria would not lie down.
With three minutes left to play Zischek, who scored twice against Scotland in 1930, claimed another brace to put Austria within touching distance of England at 4-3. But that would be as close as Austria would come.
England held out for a narrow victory but, to use a well-worn cliché, football had been the big winner. The game would go down in history as one of the very finest ever played.
Austrian goalscorers Mathias Sindelar and Karl Zischek went on to become football legends, but England’s two-goal hero Jimmy Hampson never played for his country again and was largely forgotten. In 1938 he was lost at sea while fishing with friends. His yacht, Defender, collided with a trawler. His body was never recovered.