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Football World Cup 1966
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Football World Cup 1966

1966 was the year that the Football World Cup went back to the country that first conceived football: England.

It was a World Cup that had a rather unusual hero off the field, a dog called Pickles. In the build up to the tournament the Jules Rimet trophy had been stolen from an exhibition display. A nation wide hunt for the icon ensued. It was later discovered in some newspaper as the dog sniffed at some bushes in London.

Table of contents
1 Participants
2 Winners and losers
3 The final


The European nations to qualify for the competition were: As the host nation, England did not have to qualify.

Meanwhile, qualifiers

joined the defending champions Brazil from South America. Mexico qualified from Central and North America, and North Korea of the Asian contingent made 16.

Winners and losers

Despite achieving record attendances at the time, it was a World Cup with few goals as the teams began to play much more tactically and defensively. This was exemplified by Alf Ramsey's England as they finished top of Group A with only four goals to their credit, but having none scored against them.

Uruguay were the other team to qualify from that group at the expense of both Mexico and France.

In Group B West Germany and Argentina qualified with ease as they both finished the group with 5 points, Spain managed 2, while Switzerland left the competition after losing all three group matches.

In the North West of England, the Old Trafford and Goodison Park stadia played host to Group C which saw the World Cup holders, Brazil, finish in third place behind Portugal and Hungary and so be eliminated along with Bulgaria.

Group D, however, provided the biggest upset when North Korea beat Italy 1-0, and finished above them, earning themselves qualification along with the USSR. Chile finished bottom of the group.

The quarter finals provided an easy victory for West Germany as they cruised past Uruguay 4-0.

It appeared as though the surprise package North Korea might do the same to Portugal when after 22 minutes they were in the lead 3-0. It fell to one of the greatest stars of the tournament, Eusebio, a 19 year old playing for Benfica at the time, to change that. He scored four goals in the game and with Augusto adding a fifth in the 78th minute, one of the most incredible fight backs was complete.

Meanwhile in the other two games, Bene's late goal for Hungary against the USSR proved little more than a consolation as they crashed out 2-1, and the only goal between Argentina and England came courtesy of England's Geoff Hurst.

Both semi finals finished 2-1: Franz Beckenbauer providing the winning goal for West Germany as they beat the USSR, while Bobby Charlton scored both goals in England's triumph against Portugal. Portugal went on to beat the USSR 2-1 to take third place.

The final

For more detail, see 1966 World Cup Final

Captain Bobby Moore with Jules Rimet trophy
London's Wembley Stadium provided the venue for the Final, and 97,000 people crammed inside to watch.

After 12 minutes Helmut Haller had put West Germany ahead, but the score was levelled by Geoff Hurst four minutes later. Martin Peters put England in the lead in the 78th minute; England looked set to claim the title when the referee awarded a free kick to West Germany. The ball was launched goalward and Wolfgang Weber managed to poke it across the line, with England appealing in vain for handball as the ball came through the crowded penalty area.

With the score level at 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes, the game went to extra-time.

In the 98th minute Hurst found himself on the score sheet again, when his shot hit the crossbar and was controversially deemed to have crossed the line by the referee. It didn't matter however as Hurst netted his third in the 120th minute, just as the gathered crowd invaded the pitch to celebrate with the team. Geoff Hurst is the only player ever to have scored three times in a World Cup Final.

BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's description of the match's closing moments has gone down in history: "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over." (Hurst scores) "It is now!"

England received the recovered Jules Rimet trophy from Her Majesty the Queen and were crowned World Cup winners.

FIFA (Men's) World Cup
Uruguay 1930 | Italy 1934 | France 1938 | Brazil 1950 | Switzerland 1954 | Sweden 1958 | Chile 1962 | England 1966 | Mexico 1970 | West Germany 1974 | Argentina 1978 | Spain 1982 | Mexico 1986 | Italy 1990 | USA 1994 | France 1998 | Korea/Japan 2002 | Germany 2006 | South Africa 2010 | South America 2014
FIFA Women's World Cup
China 1991 | Sweden 1995 | USA 1999 | USA 2003 | China 2007

International Football
FIFA (International) : FIFA World Cup (Women's) : FIFA World Rankings : FIFA World Player of the Year
AFC (Asia) : Asian Cup | CAF (Africa) : African Nations Cup
CONMEBOL (South America) : Copa América | CONCACAF (North America) - Gold Cup
OFC (Oceania) : Oceania Cup | UEFA (Europe) : European Championships