Josef Masopust

Josef Masopust (9 February 1931 – 29 June 2015) was a Czech football player and coach. He played as midfielder and was a key player for Czechoslovakia, helping them reach the 1962 FIFA World Cup Final.[1] He was capped 63 times, scoring ten goals for his country.[2]

Josef Masopust
Josef Masopust official photo.jpg
Masopust with the Ballon d'Or in 1962
Personal information
Date of birth (1931-02-09)9 February 1931
Place of birth Střimice, Czechoslovakia
Date of death 29 June 2015(2015-06-29) (aged 84)
Place of death Prague, Czech Republic
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1945–1950 ZSJ Uhlomost Most
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1952 ZSJ Technomat Teplice 54 (10)
1952–1968 Dukla Prague 386 (79)
1968–1970 Crossing Molenbeek 43 (9)
Total 483 (98)
International career
1954–1966 Czechoslovakia 63 (10)
Managerial career
1973–1976 Dukla Prague
1976–1980 Zbrojovka Brno
1980–1984 Hasselt
1984–1987 Czechoslovakia
1988–1991 Indonesia U19
1992 Zbrojovka Brno
1993–1996 FK Pelikán Děčín
*Club domestic league appearances and goals
(l-r) Zdeněk Nehoda, Masopust and Ivo Viktor in 1974

He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1962. In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, Masopust was selected as his country's Golden Player by the Football Association of the Czech Republic as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. He is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

Club careerEdit

Masopust's first club was lowly ZSJ Uhlomost Most, but ZSJ Technomat Teplice (renamed to ZSJ Vodotechna Teplice in 1951) signed him as a 19-year-old left-half and gave him his top-flight debut. Then, in 1952, he joined a Czechoslovak Armed Forces football club under name of ATK Praha (renamed to ÚDA Praha in 1953 and to Dukla Prague in winter 1956). Masopust won eight league championships and three national cups with Dukla.[3] They also reached the semi-finals of the 1966–67 European Cup, losing to the eventual winners of the competition (Celtic).[3]

When he eventually went abroad in 1968, he helped Crossing Molenbeek win promotion to the Belgian first division as player-coach. His coaching career continued at Dukla, however his only Czechoslovak league title as a coach came with Zbrojovka Brno in the 1977–78 season.[4] Later, between 1984 and 1987, he led the Czechoslovakia national team, overseeing a total of 27 matches.[5] He subsequently had a spell in Indonesia where he coached their national Olympic football team with Milan Bokša between 1988 and 1991.[5]

International careerEdit

Masopust made his international debut in October 1954, in a friendly match against Hungary.[6] He helped Czechoslovakia qualify for the 1958 FIFA World Cup, but the team were knocked out after a play-off match against Northern Ireland.[6] He then went on to finish the 1955-60 Central European International Cup as winner i 1960. Czechoslovakia then finished in third place in the new tournament 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, losing to the Soviet Union in the semi-final and defeating France in the third place match.[6]

In 1962, Masopust led the Czechoslovakia team that reached the 1962 FIFA World Cup Final, losing to Brazil. He scored the opening goal in the Final, but Brazil came back to win 3–1.[4] Because of his performance at the World Cup Finals, he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1962.

Having represented the Rest of the World team against England in 1963, Masopust was invited to play for a European International XI in the farewell match for Stanley Matthews, when the 50-year-old Matthews retired from football in 1965.[3] Czechoslovakia failed to qualify for the 1966 World Cup;[3] Masopust had only played in one qualification match, a 1–0 defeat against Romania in May 1965.[6] His last international appearance was in May 1966, in a friendly match against the Soviet Union.[3][6] Overall, he was capped 63 times for his country, scoring ten goals.[3][6]

Style of playEdit

Early in his career, Masopust played as a left half.[3] By the time of the 1962 World Cup, he had moved to the centre half position.[3]

Masopust was in a similar mould to that of the Hungarian József Bozsik; a workhorse of his team, who also created attacking opportunities. He had excellent ball control, which he utilised for both recovering the ball in defence and dribbling past opponents.[3] Like Bozsik, Masopust was also an excellent passer of the ball. He was not great at tackling opponents, but he compensated for this by anticipating his opponents' actions and intercepting their passes.[3]

Shackled by Czechoslovakia's 'no-risk' style philosophy, Masopust's natural inclination for attack was limited, yet he still managed ten goals in 63 caps for his country. At club level he scored 79 times in 386 appearances for Dukla Prague. Many of his Dukla teammates also played for the national team, which gave them a greater understanding than some of their opponents.[3]


A statue of Masopust was built outside Dukla's Stadion Juliska and was unveiled in June 2011.[1]


Masopust died on 29 June 2015 at his home in Prague at the age of 84. Although no cause of death was given, public Czech Television stated that he had been battling a lengthy serious illness.[7]

Career statisticsEdit


Appearances and goals by national team and year[6]
National team Year Apps Goals
Czechoslovakia 1954 1 0
1955 0 0
1956 10 2
1957 6 0
1958 10 2
1959 2 0
1960 6 2
1961 7 1
1962 11 3
1963 4 0
1964 4 0
1965 1 0
1966 1 0
Total 63 10
Scores and results list Czechoslovakia's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Masopust goal.[6]
List of international goals scored by Josef Masopust
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 10 May 1956 Charmilles Stadium, Geneva, Switzerland   Switzerland 6–1 6–1 1955–60 Central European International Cup
2 8 August 1956 Estádio do Pacaembu, São Paulo, Brazil   Brazil 1–3 1–4 Friendly
3 30 August 1958 Strahov Stadium, Prague, Czechoslovakia   Soviet Union 1–0 1–2 Friendly
4 13 December 1958 Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy   Italy 1–0 1–1 1955–60 Central European International Cup
5 1 May 1960 Strahov Stadium, Prague, Czechoslovakia   Austria 1–0 4–0 Friendly
6 22 May 1960 Stadionul 23 August, Bucharest, Romania   Romania 1–0 2–0 EURO 1960
7 29 October 1961 Strahov Stadium, Prague, Czechoslovakia   Republic of Ireland 6–1 7–1 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification
8 17 June 1962 Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile   Brazil 1–0 1–3 1962 FIFA World Cup Final
9 16 September 1962 Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria   Austria 2–0 6–0 Friendly
10 4–0


Dukla Prague[8]




  1. ^ a b "Czech pride in marvellous Masopust". UEFA. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  2. ^ Josef Masopust at FAČR (in Czech) (archived)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Josef Masopust, footballer – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Johnstone, Chris (1 February 2011). "Football star Josef Masopust and his army team". Radio Prague. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b Jeřábek, Luboš (2007). Český a československý fotbal – lexikon osobností a klubů (in Czech). Prague: Grada Publishing. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-80-247-1656-5.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Slavík, Jiří (10 July 2003). "Josef Masopust – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Czech football great Josef Masopust dies at 84". Yahoo! News (originally on AP). 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Czech Knight who wowed in '62". FIFA. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  9. ^ "1960 team of the tournament". Union of European Football Associations. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  10. ^ "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 5 September 2016
  11. ^ "UEFA President's Award". Retrieved 28 August 2019.

External linksEdit