World Cup Final 1966 – England 4-2 West Germany

The 30th July 1966 is one of the greatest days in the history of English soccer, as it is (still) the only time England have ever won the greatest competition in soccer.

It was a beautiful sunny day, around 23 degrees Celsius, and a crowd of 96924 piled into the Old Wembley stadium ready to witness one of the most famous games in World Cup history. More than 400 million people tuned in to watch it live on TV.

A Dramatic First Half

It was West Germany who started the brightest out of the two teams, as they took the lead through Helmut Haller in the 12th minute of the match.

Just six minutes after though, England responded to West Germany’s perfect start, when Geoff Hurst’s glancing header found the back of the net. This was the first out of three goals that Geoff Hurst would go on to score that day.

It was a thoroughly entertaining first half as the two teams went in level at the break, with neither team really on top.

A Nailbiting Second Half

In the 77th minute, England won a corner. Alan Ball took the corner, Geoff Hurst had a shot on the edge of the box, which ended up finding its way into the path of Martin Peters whose shot beat the German goalkeeper to put England 2-1 up.

Could England see the last 13 minutes out and hold onto the win?

England’s centre back Jack Charlton conceded a free kick in the 89th minute, which was taken by Lothar Emmerich. His strike was blocked by the English wall, however it rebounded to Held, whose shot across goal took a deflection, and landed at the feet of Wolfgang Weber who managed to finish off one of the flukiest goals in World Cup history to make it 2-2 with only 1 minute to go.

A Grandstand Finish

It was England who started sharply in Extra Time, hitting the post and sending another one wide.

They managed to score moments later though, when Geoff Hurst’s shot thundered against the crossbar and landed on the ground. However, had the whole of the ball crossed the goal line or not?

The Controversial Third Goal – Was it over the line?

The referee was unsure so he consulted the linesman nearest to the goal, who said that the whole of the ball had crossed the line, so the goal was given.

In the last minute of Extra Time, with England on the brink of glory, the Germans threw all their players forward in a desperate attempt to somehow find a last gasp goal, just like they had done in normal time.

However Bobby Moore finished off a Captain’s performance with a long ball upfield to Hurst, who blasted the ball past the goalie and into the back of the net to ensure it was England who would win the World Cup.

This also meant that Geoff Hurst was (and still is) the only ever player to score a hatrick in a World Cup Final.

Former BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, who was commentating the game live on TV, said one of the most famous lines in British history, when he said “They think it’s all over……It is now!” This was because fans started to run onto the pitch before Hurst had put the ball in the back of the net, thinking the game was already over.

This is still the only ever time England have ever won the World Cup, as for Germany they have since won it three times since, in 1974, 1990 and 2014.

This match took place on the 30th July 1966 at 15:00

Referee : Gottfried Dienst

England’s squad : Gordon Banks, George Cohen, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson, Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball, Bobby Charlton, Martin Peters, Roger Hunt, Geoff Hurst.

West Germany’s squad : Hans Tilkowski, Horst-Dieter Hottges, Willi Schulz, Wolfgang Weber, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Franz Beckenbauer, Wolfgang Overath, Helmut Haller, Uwe Seeler, Sigfried Held, Lothar Emmerich.

Check out the match highlights below:

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