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Countdown On To Big Night

Billy Wright in his other role away from Molineux.

So how well did England get over those infamous defeats at the hands of tonight’s latest overseas visitors to Molineux?

Did Billy Wright and Co gain some revenge for the home and away 1950s hidings against the magical Magyars, or did other Wolves figures manage to help redress the balance?

The first thing to say is that Stan Cullis and his men restored national pride in no small way following the embarrassments by 6-3 and 7-1 margins in London and Budapest respectively by pulling off that epic comeback win over Honved under the inspiring Molineux lights in November, 1954.

There was a definite Wolves v Hungary feel about that game. At genuine international level, though, such recovery was much slower.

Not until May, 1960 did the two countries meet again, when Ron Flowers, a month on from helping bring the FA Cup to Molineux, flew the gold and black flag in a side beaten 2-0 in Budapest.

He faced the same opponents once more two years later to the month and again the outcome was an unhappy one, this time all the more painful as a 2-1 defeat, despite a successful Flowers penalty, came in the World Cup finals in Chile.

England did finally beat Hungary at the end of the 1964-65 season but neither Flowers nor anyone else from Wolves figured in the wake of the club having just been relegated.

The only other Wanderers men who have faced Hungary in senior internationals are Steve Bull (at Wembley in 1990) and Conor Coady (in the Puskas Arena a week and a half ago).

As a final backwards glance to Saturday’s Molineux draw, here are four highly notable Wolves ‘angles’ from matches against those opponents long ago:

May 13, 1939: Stan Cullis faces Italy in a 2-2 draw in Milan on a European tour (also taking in Yugoslavia and Rumania) that brought the curtain down on England fixtures as we know them for more than seven years.

May 16, 1948: Billy Wright helps keep a clean sheet as four goals fly in at the other end in a stunning win in Turin.

Bert Williams in goal for his country against England’s arch rivals Scotland.

November 30, 1949: Billy scores a rare goal and ‘Il Gattone’ (The Cat) Bert Williams performs magnificently in a 2-0 victory over the Italians at Tottenham.

May 6, 1959: Wright, Flowers and Peter Broadbent all appear in a 2-2 draw against the same visitors at Wembley.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful time at Molineux tonight!

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