Half a century is a short time in the stretches of history, but it’s an awfully long one in the world of football. Over the past week we have cast our minds back to a world very different to today’s game, but it is still packed with figures and stories cherished today.
The 1966 FIFA World Cup England™ was a momentous one in many ways, which is why, to mark its 50th anniversary, FIFA.com has spent the past week bringing you articles, videos and photos featuring tales, names and events that continue to resonate even now.
The most unforgettable of all is a feat that remains unmatched in the following 12 men's World Cups – that is of course Sir Geoff Hurst’s Final hat-trick. The former England striker sat down with us in an insightful video to talk about his iconic treble, including a look at the infamous extra-time effort that cannoned off the crossbar and was deemed to have crossed over the line to edge the Three Lions towards victory.
The champions were remembered in a number of fashions throughout the week, including by Hurst’s team-mate Jimmy Armfield, who discussed how squad equality, togetherness and trips to meet James Bond all played their part in helping them to victory. We also took a look at the eye-catching facts and figures that marked England’s first, and so far only, triumph, as well as seeing how the memories themselves are battling the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the tournament was about far more than the hosts. A national icon in Eusebio was solidified as the Black Panther helped Portugal to a third-placed finish that hasn’t been bettered with his nine goals. Young team-mate Antonio Simoes recalled fond times during their run to clinching bronze in their debut appearance, as well as how their Golden Boot winner proved No13 is far from unlucky.
There was also a best finish for their opponents in that clash to get on the podium, with fourth still standing as the peak performance from the Soviet Union (and Russia since). Full-back Vasily Danilov cast his mind back to what he still believes could have been an even greater tournament for him and the likes of the iconic Lev Yashin. They did get to meet the Queen, though.
Between 1958 and 1970, the 12-year era was undoubtedly dominated by Brazil. 1966 could have been their third success in a row, but it wasn’t to be. We looked at where it went wrong for A Seleção. We also examined some of the artifacts housed at the FIFA World Football Museum from the tournament, including a referee’s notebook which remains pivotal in the game today and an extraordinarily unopened bottle of celebratory champagne.
You can also get a feeling for the incredible atmosphere up and down England, as well as seeing some of the key moments vividly recalled in this striking photo gallery. We hope you enjoy recalling the memories as much as we did telling them!