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Five of the World Cup's Forgotten Legends

06/06/2014 14:28 BST | Updated 05/08/2014 10:59 BST

The history of the World Cup is full of legendary players, but as time passes, the memories of those amazing individuals from the earliest competitions have begun to fade.

Here's a reminder of the greats that went before us...

5. Sandor Kocsis and Nandor Hidegkuti

The Hungarian team of 1954, commonly known as the Magical Magyars, are arguably the greatest side never to win the World Cup and their free-scoring style helped revolutionize football tactics across the world. The star of the team was undoubtedly Ferenc Puskas, though his immense shadow has often psuhed the other world class players from the limelight.

Sandor Kocsis and Nandor Hidegkuti were two exceptional players in their own right. Both had featured in Hungary's monumental win over England at Wembley in 1953, a game in which Hidegkuti scored a hat-trick. At the World Cup in Switzerland a year later, the unstoppable duo couldn't stop scoring. Kocsis scored seven goals in his country's first two games, including an 8-3 win over eventual champions West Germany. He finished the tournament as top scorer with a total of 11 strikes, while Hidegkuti had four of his own.

Unfortunately for the Magyars, the rematch against the Germans in the final ended in defeat and the infamous Hungarian Uprising two years later led to the breakup of one of the World's greatest ever teams.

4. Alcides Ghiggia and Juan Alberto Schiaffino

In 1950, Brazil hosted the World Cup for the first time and the host nation were expected to win. The Brazilians had cruised to within touching distance of glory after thumping wins in the final round group stage, but Uruguay, still in with a chance of victory themselves, stood in the way. Without a 'proper final' it was fitting that the two countries met in the last game at the Maracana to decide the destination of the Jules Rimet trophy.

In front of their adoring public, Brazil took the lead and looked set to be crowned World champions for the first time. However, midway through the second half the great Juan Alberto Schiaffino struck to put Uruguay back in contention, his third of the competition. The inside forward, later ranked Uruguay's best player of the 20th Century, was revered for his creative vision and exceptional technique and dribbling skills.

With the scores level, Brazil, only needing a draw, were still on course to lift the trophy, but with just 11 minutes remaining Alcides Ghiggia's low shot silenced the Maracana and broke Brazilian hearts. It was Ghiggia's fourth in the tournament and the pacey winger, the sole survivor of the Uruguay team, still remembers how the home crowd were "frozen still".

The win gave Uruguay their second World Cup title and both Schiaffino and Ghiggia were named in FIFA's Team of the Tournament.

3. Luis Monti

The rough and ready Luis Monti holds the unique record of having played in two World Cup finals for two different countries. Born in Argentina in 1901, Monti became known as an attacking centre-half - the focal point of the defence whilst also the primary midfield playmaker.

The player had a fearsome reputation for his tough tackling and dominant physicality. Playing for Argentina in the 1930 World Cup he started a mass brawl during a game against Chile after aiming a deliberate kick at an opponent. However, his technical ability was not to be underestimated and Monti's performances throughout the tournament led the Albiceleste to the inaugural World Cup final. Unfortunately, against a rumoured backdrop of death threats he was mysteriously subdued as Uruguay became the first team to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

Shortly after Argentina's defeat, Monti moved to Italy to sign for Juventus and with Italian citizenship due to his ancestral roots, he was soon a vital part of the Italian national team. His second World Cup in 1934 ended with a better result than his first as he walked away with a winners' medal.

Years before Pele, Zico, Ronaldo and Neymar, Leonidas da Silva was Brazil's first real football superstar. Widely credited with inventing the bicycle kick, the forward had incredible agility with pace to burn. Despite this talents, Leonidas still struggled to settle in his early career, playing for six different clubs by the time he was 23.

However, the forward was still a prolific goalscorer and was called up to the national team for the first time in 1932. In 1934, the Selecao were knocked out of the World Cup in the first round, but Leonidas scored his country's only goal, laying the foundations for what was to follow.

Four years later, he entered the 1938 World Cup as one of the best players in the world. The 'Rubber Man' scored a hat-trick in the first round against Poland, and two more as Brazil took two attempts to get past Czechoslovakia. However, he was mysteriously left out of the team in the semi-final as Brazil succumbed to the might of defending champions Italy. Leonidas bagged two further goals in the third place playoff to finish as the tournament's top scorer with seven strikes in all.

1. Giueseppe Meazza

Giuseppe Meazza was a two time World Cup winner and prolific goalscorer in Serie A, but his name is arguably now as famous for adorning the San Siro Stadium in Milan as it is for an illustrious playing career. However, in the 1930s he was seen by many as the greatest player the world had ever seen and his inclusion in the Italy team was described by legendary coach Vittorio Pozzo as like "starting every game 1-0 up".

Having made his international debut in 1930, Meazza was Italy's shining hope at the 1934 finals on home soil. He scored two goals en-route to the final, where the Azzurri beat Czechoslovakia to become World champions. Four years later, Meazza had graduated to captain of the team and the pressure was on the Italians to be crowned champions once more. In the build up to the tournament in France, Meazza received a telegram from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini which simply read "Win or die!". But win they did, beating Hungary 4-2 in the final in Paris for a second title.

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