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World Cup 1966

Eusebio (POR)
Helmut Haller (GER)
Geoff Hurst (ENG)
Franz Beckenbauer (GER)
Valeri Porkujan (SOV)
Ferenc Bené (HUN)
9 goals
5 goals
4 goals
4 goals
4 goals
4 goals
Number of games
Total goals scored
Average per game
Sending off
Own goals
Total attendance
Average attendance


   Finally in 1966 it was England's turn to host the World Cup. The FA organized the tournament in an exemplary manner and the stadiums used were probably the best overall selection of stadiums used for any World Cup celebration up to date. The attendance figures were amongst the best ever recorded. But the teams of this 1966 tournament failed to produce the excitement and skills of what some of the past great teams like the Hungarians in 1954 and Brazil of 1958 and 1962 had. England were the best team of a rather poor selection of entrants. Sadly, the game had become more defensive, and individual skills had to make way for those of the tacticians.

     The months leading up to the tournament contained lots of drama. The Jules Rimet trophy was stolen at an exhibition in March and FIFA prepared themselves to stage the World Cup without the trophy! Thankfully a dog named Pickles found it wrapped up in newspaper in some bushes in South London just a week after the theft.

     The tournament got underway with England and Uruguay playing a goalless draw at Wembley. England qualified from their group as winners without conceding a goal. The new top team in world football was Portugal. The won all their three first round games and even knocked out twice winner's of the cup Brazil. Pelé just as in 1962 got kicked out of the competition. Another surprise was North Korea's contribution to this World Cup. Their victory over Italy is one of the all-time greatest shocks in world football. The defeat sent Italy home as well.

     England beat Argentina in a match England coach Alf Ramsey described the South Americans as "Animals". He refused to let his players swap shirts with them after the match! North Korea led 3-0 over Portugal at one stage and looked like reaching the semis, but then Eusebio knocked in four goals and Portugal eventually won 5-3.

     The semifinals saw the Germans beat the Soviet Union 2-1. A young Franz Beckenbauer scored West Germany's second goal. Bobby Charlton stopped Portugal and Eusebio's run in the World Cup when he scored twice to send England to the final. Eusebio scored his ninth goal in the bronze match when Portugal beat the Soviet Union, and that was some consolation. The final produced lots of drama as England faced West Germany at Wembley. England eventually won in extra-time and became the third host nation to win the World Cup. Read more about the final and its drama, by clicking on the "Final" link in the left column.

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