Horst Eckel, last surviving 1954 World Cup winner, dies at 89
Berlin, Dec 3, 2021 (AFP) - Horst Eckel, the last remaining member of the West Germany team which won the World Cup in 1954, died Friday at the age of 89, the German FA (DFB) has confirmed.
Eckel was the youngest member of a German team which came from two goals down to beat favourites Hungary 3-2 to win the 1954 World Cup in a final later dubbed "The Miracle of Bern".
The shock result was a founding moment in West Germany's post-war identity as German teams went on to win further World Cup titles in 1974, 1990 and 2014.
Eckel and team captain Fritz Walter were the only two German players to feature in all of their six games at the 1954 finals in Switzerland.
Eckel won the German championship, the predecessor to the Bundesliga, with Kaiserslautern in 1951 and 1953.
"Unfortunately, I never got to see Horst Eckel play live, but the man was a role model for me in every respect," Germany head coach Hansi Flick told the DFB website.
"His warm-heartedness was contagious, his social commitment extraordinary.
"I personally and the whole of German football will miss him very much."
Only last week Eckel was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the German football museum in Dortmund alongside 2014 World Cup winner Miroslav Klose.
"Now I am the last of the team," Eckel said in 2017 after the death of 1954 teammate Hans Schaefer.
"Images of each of them pass before my eyes, and also the memories of moments of laughter and joy.
"Our camaraderie and football will unite us forever."