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Five most memorable semifinals in World Cup history

PARIS -- The World Cup semi-finals start Wednesday. Here are five that have already left a mark on soccer history:

1954: Hungary 4, Uruguay 2

Regarded as one of the greatest ever World Cup games, Hungary, who destroyed West Germany 8-3 in the group stage, went 2-0 up against the Uruguayan defending champions and looked destined for the final. But the South Americans fought back through a Juan Hohlberg double to take the match into extra-time. Two headers from Sandor Kocsis, who was to score 11 times in the tournament, gave the Hungarians a 4-2 win. “It was the most beautiful, the most humane match of my life,” commented Hungarian star Jozsek Boszik. The Magyars went on to lose 3-2 to West Germany in another stunning result in the final.

1966: England 2, Portugal 1

Portugal, inspired by the 'Black Panther' Eusebio, had lit up the tournament and fancied their chances against England. Two Bobby Charlton goals gave the hosts a 2-0 lead going into the final 10 minutes however. Eusebio, thwarted by England goalkeeper Gordon Banks throughout the game, buried a penalty in the 83rd minute that was the first goal the English had conceded in the finals. Despite huge late pressure, England held out. “That was the greatest performance by the team in this competition to date,” said coach Alf Ramsey. His Portugal counterpart Otto Gloria forecast correctly that the English would beat the Germans in the final: “England plays football as it should be played. Germany relies on force,” he said.

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