One man who helped England win sport’s most prestigious prize and another who aims to help them regain it later this year were on hand when the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola stopped off in London.
George Cohen, the right-back in Alf Ramsey’s triumphant side of 1966, and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney were joined at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre by 4,000 animated fans, who were thrilled by the chance to view – and take photos with – the hallowed Trophy.
"The memories of the FIFA World Cup will be never forgotten,” said Cohen. “It was the prime of my life.”
Rooney, whose name was chanted by the supporters in attendance, added: "It’s a bit weird being that close (to the trophy). You try not to think too much about the FIFA World Cup but it's always in the back of your mind.
“It’s a dream to play for your country anyway and to do so in the FIFA World Cup is amazing. England will be going to South Africa well prepared. Hopefully we will have a great tournament and have the Trophy back here by the end of July.”
One lucky football enthusiast, a 24-year-old named Matthew, seized the opportunity to compete against Rooney at EA Sports’ 2010 FIFA World Cup video game by opening a bottle a winning bottle of Coca-Cola. Playing as Spain, the former managed to beat the England hero by a solitary goal.
“I'm a great fan of Rooney,” he said. “I was sitting next to him and talking about football like I would with a friend. I'm really sold on this great event.”
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola will travel 83 countries in 225 days, covering 138,902 kilometers in the process, before arriving in South Africa ahead of the 19th edition of the FIFA World Cup.