In the last in our ‘World Cup Moments’ series, Henry Jackson (@OnFootballTweet) takes a look back at England’s triumph in 1966, and in particular Liverpool star Roger Hunt’s impact at the tournament.
Hosts England unforgettably won their only ever World Cup in their history in 1966, as Alf Ramsey’s side gained legendary status for their achievements that summer.
Having come top of their group ahead of Uruguay, Mexico and France, the Three Lions met Argentina in a heated quarter-final. Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of the game with 12 minutes remaining, as England secured a semi-final showdown with Portugal.
It was Bobby Charlton who was the hero in the clash with the Portuguese at Wembley, with the midfield legend scoring twice to put his country in total command. Although Eusebio, arguably the best player in Europe at the time, did reply with a late penalty, Ramsey’s men held on to book their place in their first ever World Cup final.
Bitter rivals West Germany awaited, in what remains the most famous day in the history of English football.
Helmut Haller stunned the Wembley crowd early on, but Hurst made it 1-1 soon after. The score stayed that way until the 78th minute.
Midfielder Martin Peters pounced on a spinning ball to put England within touching distance of glory, but Wolfgang Weber broke English hearts with one minute remaining to take the final into extra-time.
Hurst’s second goal, which came off the underside of the crossbar and supposedly crossed the line, was hugely controversial, and it put England back in command. The West Ham striker, who had been behind star striker Jimmy Greaves in the pecking order at the start of the tournament, completed his hat-trick with just seconds remaining.
Captain Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy in front of a jubilant home crowd, and England were champions of the world.
The Impact of Hunt
While fellow Liverpool stars Gerry Byrne and Ian Callaghan barely featured- Callaghan played in the group stage match against France while Byrne didn’t play at all- striker Roger Hunt was an integral part of the side throughout the tournament.
He scored his first goal of the competition in England’s second game, a 2-0 win over Mexico- they had drawn their opening match 0-0 with Uruguay- finishing from close-range to double his side’s lead.
In the final group game against France, Hunt scored twice as the host’s won 2-0, with his Reds teammate Callaghan providing the assist for his second goal. Three strikes in as many group games was an excellent return.
Although Hunt didn’t score for the rest of the tournament, he remained a key player. His partnership in attack with Hurst was formidable.
If ever you needed proof that the ball crossed the line for Hurts’s second goal, you just have to look at Hunt’s reaction.
Despite being on hand to head the ball home when it comes off the crossbar, the Liverpool man immediately celebrates the goal. For Hunt to turn down a tap-in in a World Cup final it must have been a goal.
The then 27-year-old’s exploits make him an undoubted legend of English football, and he scored 18 goals in 34 appearances for the Three Lions.
He scored a staggering 286 goals in 492 appearances for Liverpool, meaning only Ian Rush (346) has scored more for the club. There haven’t been many better British strikers in history.
Other LFC Players Present at the 1966 World Cup
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