History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1966 England v. Germany

About the history of the 1966 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with England v. Germany.


In 1966, the World Cup competition finally came home to England, the country where soccer was formally invented. England almost lost the World Cup, literally. It was stolen from a Westminster shop window where it had been on display. It was unearthed in a garbage pile by a dog named Pickles. If anyone had been regarding the trophy with blasphemous awe, this little incident must have put the prize back in a more realistic perspective.

After the opening rounds came the quarterfinals, again on a knockout basis. England met a surly Argentina, angered by earlier calls by English referees. Fouls were rife and finally Rattin was sent off. Even with only 10 men the Argentinians showed their strength, particularly in midfield; and England scored only one goal, a header by Hurst. The game was over 1-0, but the action was not. Argentina's players started pummeling the referee, who was rescued by policemen, and in general created mayhem. Ramsey, the Englishmen's manager, sniffed, "Our best football will come against the team which comes out to play football, and not to act as animals."

The Uruguay v. Germany match was not any more peaceful. Two Uruguayans were expelled from the game, paving the way for the Germans to rule the field and close the game with a 4-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, Russia's greater power allowed them to bulldoze a 2-1 victory over skillful Hungary. The obscure North Korean team had got as far as the quarter-finals and was dazzling the crowds by scoring 3 quick goals against Portugal. Eusebio of Portugal turned out to be the savior, responsible for 4 goals, 2 of them on penalties. Jose Augusto made it 5 for Portugal against North Korea's 3.

The semifinal match between Germany and Russia should have been a cinch for Germany once Russia's Chislenko was sent off for kicking Germany's Held. But German caution stubbornly prevailed and the Russians managed a goal of their own to Germany's 2.

England met Portugal in their semifinal game. England played well, better than in any of their previous games at this competition, highlighted by Bobby Charlton's deft control of the ball. It was a tribute to Portugal that the final score was only 2-1 for England.

England was overjoyed at participating in a final on her own territory, and was optimistic as well. After all, in over a half century of play the English had won every match they had played against Germany. Their morale was so high that they were undaunted when Germany's Haller scored the 1st point after 13 minutes, upon having England's Wilson head it right in front of him. England answered with a penalty kick (upon a foul of Bobby Moore) that was parlayed into a point with a header by Hurst. English goalkeeper Banks withstood 2 strong attacks by the Germans, and the half found the score still tied 1-1.

Each team had obviously figured out the strengths and weaknesses of the other, and most of the 2nd half was a stalemate. Then, with about 12 minutes left, Peters and Weber dueled for the ball; Peters won, and made it 2 for England. The desperate Germans became more daring in their pursuit, giving England another chance which it failed to complete. With only a minute left, Charlton fouled Held. The free kick was worked into a goal by Weber and the game went into extra time.

The English had more strength left than the Germans. Geoff Hurst dispatched a ball which struck the bottom of the bar and bounced down. It was a disputed goal, but the referee judged that it had indeed crossed the line. Again Germany sacrificed defense in favor of an unsuccessful attack, and England's Hurst took advantage of that fact to become the 1st player in the history of the World Cup Final to score 3 points. The game was over, England 4, Germany 2.

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