London's football history: Wembley Stadium

  • Original Wembley, then named 'The Empire Stadium' opened in 1923

  • Renovated Wembley Stadium opened in 2007, on site of old ground

  • Has hosted 1966 FIFA World Cup™ Final, European Cup finals and FA Cup Finals

London will welcome the stars of the footballing world on Monday 23 October, when the city plays host to The Best FIFA Football Awards™. It is fitting that the greats of the global game are to be celebrated in a city steeped in football history. takes a look back at five memorable games hosted at the London-based arena that Pele once described as "the cathedral of football": Wembley Stadium.

28 April 1923: Bolton Wanderers 2-0 West Ham United (FA Cup final)Built in under a year, The Empire Stadium was opened just a few days ahead of its inaugural event: the 1923 FA Cup final. The official attendance was 126,047, but unofficial estimates place that figure far higher.

As a result of the enormous crowd, mounted police were called to keep supporters off the pitch. The game is now often referred to as the "White Horse Final" due to Billie, the police horse, who helped the final to start, and whose striking figure dominated newsreels of the day.

When the action finally got underway, 45 minutes behind schedule, it was Bolton who emerged victorious, thanks to a goal in each half from David Jack and Jack Smith.

13 August 1948: Yugoslavia 1-3 Sweden (Olympic Football Tournament London 1948)The first Olympic Games after the conclusion of the Second World War was hosted in London, and it served as a way of attempting to bring together a fractured globe through the medium of sport.

On the footballing side of things, the Swedes stole the show. Gunnar Nordahl, who would go on to attain legendary status at AC Milan, scored seven goals in four games - including one in the final at Wembley - to help his countrymen to gold.

30 July 1966: England 4-2 West Germany (AET) (FIFA World Cup™ Final)The Three Lions played all six of their 1966 World Cup games on the hallowed Wembley turf, so they were familiar with the stadium by the time they lined up for the finale.

A remarkable match, packed full of incident, was crowned by Geoff Hurst completing his hat-trick - he remains the only man to do so in a World Cup Final - with the final kick of the game in extra time.

29 May 1968: Benfica 1-4 Manchester United (AET) (European Cup final)Few trophy victories are as poignant as Manchester United's win in the 1968 European Cup final. The fact that they became the first English club to lift the 'cup with the big ears' paled in insignificance compared to the journey that the team's manager and captain had been on leading up to the Wembley final.

The game was just over a decade on from the devastating Munich air disaster, which claimed the lives of eight players, and 15 others, with Bobby Charlton and manager Matt Busby surviving. The plane had been returning from Belgrade after the club had progressed to the semi-finals of the same competition. The 1968 victory - in which Charlton scored a brace - saw United reach the top of European club football, rising from the ashes of that tragedy ten years earlier.

28 May 2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (UEFA Champions League final)The Spanish domination of the global game that began with La Roja's UEFA EURO 2008 victory perhaps reached its pinnacle at Wembley in 2011, with a Spanish core of La Masia academy graduates putting on a wonderful display of 'tiki taka' to see off Manchester United.

Six of Barça's starting XI had lifted the World Cup in South Africa the previous year, but it was an Argentinian maestro who ran the game in London that evening. Lionel Messi scored and put on a masterclass to seal Barcelona's third Champions League title in five years, and their fourth (at that time) in total. Their first? Also at Wembley Stadium, in 1992, with 2011's coach Pep Guardiola instrumental in the Catalan side's midfield.