The FIFA World Cup™ has proven over the past 86 years that it has the ability to create moments and legacies that become huge cultural milestones not only for the teams themselves, but entire countries. Half a century on, 1966 very much holds that status for victors, and hosts, England.
Memories of those three weeks in July 50 years ago remain strong around the world but, as it brought about the Three Lions’ only major football tournament win, it holds a special place in the hearts of English fans. Whether they were seen with wide eyes, or retold by parents and grandparents to young enthusiasts, the moments that brought about that triumph have been regularly relived and the protagonists on that road to victory remain heralded household names.
Beyond the legacy of its champions, it was a tournament littered with stories. From 23 to 30 July, FIFA.com will look back to the middle of the 20th century to retell some of the choice tales from the eighth edition of the World Cup, up until the trophy was handed over by Queen Elizabeth II at Wembley Stadium.
No prizes for guessing that we sat down with the man of match from the Final itself, Sir Geoff Hurst, and discussed his one-of-a-kind feat from the 4-2 win over West Germany – his final hat-trick. The forward, whose career has been immortalised by those two hours under Wembley’s two towers, watched the key moments of the game with us and reflected on the defining moments of his sporting career.
Did you know that during the tournament a well-worn piece of superstition, which still persists today, was debunked by a Portuguese legend? We’ll find out about that and more after Antonio Simoes told stories about one of 1966’s other outstanding sides. The youngest player amongst that Iberian Seleções, he recalled their third-placed finish and the national icon that grew out of the tournament, the golden boot-winning Eusebio.
We will also take a look at their opponents in that clash for third, USSR, with full-back Vasily Danilov giving an insight into the best performance that the team, or any Russia side since, have produced at a World Cup. On the flip side, we’ll also see what went wrong for Brazil in England, who experienced their one blip during 12 years of utter dominance at the global finals.
And of course we will be taking a step inside the FIFA World Football Museum, to hear the stories behind the artefacts treasured there from 1966, providing some wonderfully unique memories. This will all be backed up by fabulous photos from the archives, fantastic footage of the competition, great content across our social media channels and plenty more from a truly memorable tournament.
Prizes to be won on memory lane
Not only are you in store for a feast of football from 50 years ago, there will also be the chance to pick up some special prizes if you keep an eye on our coverage on the FIFA World Cup Facebook page. Make sure you pay close attention between 23 and 30 July, as only the most observant of fans will be able to scoop something exciting!