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German Football Legend Helmut Rahn Dies - 2003-08-14

Helmut Rahn, the German football (soccer) legend who scored the winning goal to give Germany the 1954 World Cup title has died at age 73. The cause of death Wednesday night was not given, but Rahn had been ailing for some time and died in his Essen home.

Rahn's goal gave West Germany an unexpected 3-2 victory over Hungary in the final at Bern, Switzerland. The title was a boost to the nation's morale, nine years after the end of World War II. West Germany rallied from a 2-0 deficit, with Rahn scoring the equalizer as well as the game-winning goal. Rahn had earned the nickname "the Boss," because he was a natural leader on the field.

During his football career he scored 21 goals in 40 international matches, but none will be more remembered than the one that beat a Hungarian team that was unbeaten in 31 matches heading in the World Cup final. Hungary had trounced the West German team in the first round of the tournament, 8-3.

Helmut Rahn had kept a low profile since retiring from professional football in 1965 and retained few contacts with the football world.

German players will wear black armbands in Rahn's memory when they play Italy in a friendly international on Wednesday in Stuttgart.