1966: England - Federal Republic of GermanyOverview | Watch Video Clips
Stadium: Wembley Stadium
City: London, England
Attendace: Attendance: 93000
England’s claim to the firmament
Any Englishman, whether or not he was even born at the time, will swear to you that the ball did actually cross the line… Along with Geoff Hurst's hat-trick - the only to date in a FIFA World Cup™ final - and West Germany's equaliser with the last kick of normal time, it was truly a legendary moment for coach Alf Ramsey and his charges.
Charlton vs Beckenbauer
The 1966 FIFA World Cup England™ was a colourful one, even though it was the last to be broadcast in black and white. Portuguese forward Eusebio outshone the injured Pele, but it was the hosts and their Western European rivals West Germany who made it through to the final. How would Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler cope with the threat of England captain Bobby Moore and midfielder Bobby Charlton, the two-goal hero of the semi-final? In the end, these four players neutralised each other and it was a little known centre-forward, on the bench for England's three group matches, who wrote his name in the annals.
Both sides created their fair share of chances in the early stages, but neither Gordon Banks in the goal to the right of the royal box (with Queen Elizabeth II in attendance) nor Hans Tillkowski were troubled, with the majority of shots being wide of the mark. Swiss referee Mr Gottfried Dienst was forced to halt play after a cross from the England left saw Hurst and Tillkowski jump for the same ball with the German coming off much the worse. After a good few minutes treatment, the 'keeper rose gingerly and was able to continue, but received little sympathy from England, Martin Peters making him pull off an impressive save at full stretch from a fierce 30-yard drive.
Held the hero
England were shaken, and very much stirred into action. With Peters, Hurst and Roger Hunt full of energy up front, the German defence could only hold out five minutes before the equaliser came. Wolfgang Overath tripped Moore some forty yards from goal and the England captain spotted Hurst unmarked in the box. A perfectly flighted free-kick by the West Ham half-back was met by the head of his club colleague and England were level (1-1, 18").
Double save from Banks
After this opening round, in which the two European heavyweights each landed a punch, the combat settled into a rhythm - a frenetic one, but a rhythm nevertheless. Both teams looked to build from midfield and play the ball behind the opposition back-line, but both defences proved themselves up to the task, closing down play admirably. Long-range efforts became the only option, with Bobby Charlton and Peters for England and Seeler and Halle all coming close, without finding a way past either Tillkowski or Banks, the latter notably making a fine double-save from Overath and Lothar Emmerich and an athletic tip around the post from an Emmerich pile-driver in stoppage time. The half ended as it began, with each side showing spirit in attack but above all outstanding commitment in defence.
Attacking football from the Germans
The second half is a mirror image of the first, with the action, and the goals again coming within a quarter of an hour of the whistle - this time though, it was the final rather than the opening whistle that was a marker for the action. After having more of the play towards the end of the first half, West Germany again put England under the cosh in the second stanza - Seeler being a veritable live-wire in the attacking third of the park, full-back Karl-Heinz Schnellinger venturing up the flank to support the forwards and only Bobby Charlton's vigilance keeping the young Franz Beckenbauer from adding his flair to the German front line.
Chances are few and far between in the middle third of the half, save for a two-minute period at the midway point where Bobby Charlton found himself closed down in the six-yard box by a combination of Beckenbauer and Tillkowski, who in their haste to retrieve the ball clattered into each other. With the 'keeper again shaken, Peters sent a ball across the face of the goal which Bobby Charlton was inches away from converting.
A quarter of an hour from the final whistle saw the game spark into life again. With both defences tiring, spaces opened up around Wembley's already vast expanses, and England were the first to capitalise. Alan Ball's shot from Hunt's through-ball was turned into the side netting by Tillkowski, but from the resultant corner, Hurst's shot from outside the box ballooned into the air off Horst Hoettges and Peters seized the loose ball and lashed it home from close range (2-1, 78").
"Rule Britannia" sung too early…
With the England players dejected after seeing victory snatched away from them and the West Germans exhausted and suffering from cramp after their last-ditch efforts, the first period of extra time started slowly. Bobby Charlton was the first to pick up the pace with a reflex shot on the turn that struck the foot of Tillkowski's left-hand post, then Peters flashed a shot inches wide from outside the box.
Did it cross the line?
And then came one of the most talked-about moments in FIFA World Cup history… As England built from defence, Ball made ground down the right flank. His cross found Hurst, again unmarked in the box and with enough time to turn and shoot. The ball clattered against the underside of the bar, thudded down on the line…? behind the line…? and spun away. Almost all 22 players gather round as Mr Dienst consults Mr Tofik Bakhramov, the Soviet assistant referee… Seconds later, the players in red jerseys run jubilantly back to the half-way line whilst those in white surround the referee in protest - the goal has been given! (3-2, 101").
"They think it's all over…"
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