On July 30, 1966, football came home. At the time the phrase was not coined, but Bobby Moore and his men led England to victory in the finals of the FIFA 1966 World Cup at Wembley, winning their first and only World Cup. Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick helped England as the hosts went on to beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time.
It was England’s only international trophy they won on reaching the finals. Hurst’s hat-trick made him the only player till date to score three goals in a World Cup final. Despite controversy at the time in relation to the third goal scored by England which included some questionable referee decisions, England went on to win the finals and the Jules Rimet Trophy (World Cup) 4-2.
England beat Portugal 2-1 in the first semi-finals to reach their first ever finals in an international tournament. West Germany, who won the 1954 World Cup, beat Soviet Union 2-1 as well to qualify for their second World Cup final appearance.
With 96,924 in attendance at Wembley, England and West Germany dished out a thrilling 90 minutes. West Germany took an early lead courtesy of some poor defending by England as Helmut Haller found the back of the net as defender Jack Charlton and goalkeeper Gordon Banks failed to cover the German winger who struck in the 12th minute of the match.
Six minutes later, England were awarded a free kick and a quick cross from Moore found a flying Geoff Hurst to head the ball in and equalize 1-1. In the 77th minute of the clash, England managed to capitalize through a corner as Hurst’s shot found Martin Peters, who in turn lashed the ball in making it 2-1 to England.
While the hosts were ecstatic with the lead, a clumsy challenge by Jack Charlton in the 89th minute saw West Germany being awarded a free kick. Emmerich hit the England wall with the shot and after a bit of scrambling, Wolfgang Weber found the back of the net through a deflection to make it 2-2 and proceed to extra time.
In the opening minutes of extra time, England brought the attack to West Germany through pressing and had a couple of shots on target, before Hurst smashed the ball in to strike the underside of the crossbar, which bounced and was cleared. Referee Gottfried Dienst consulted the linesman Tofiq Bahramov before making the decision and gave the decision in favour of the hosts, which made it 3-2.
The decision till date is highly controversial as people who saw the shot on television believed that it did not cross the line.
In a desperate attempt to find another equalizer in the dying minutes of extra time, the German defenders went up front to attack with the rest of the players, however, Moore won the ball, found Hurst who was on the move through a well-timed cross and in order to waste time, Hurst struck the ball as far as he could, but miraculously found the back of the net, making it 4-2 and completing his hat-trick.
It was a day England will fondly remember as Queen Elizabeth II handed captain Bobby Moore the World Cup trophy.
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