England won the World Cup at Wembley Stadium on this day in 1966 – the first and only time the nation that gave birth to football has been victorious in the competition.
Captain Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy after his side beat West Germany 4-2 following a controversial decision by a Soviet linesman in extra time.
Tofiq Bahramov allowed Geoff Hurst’s second goal – which put England 3-2 ahead – after a dispute, which continues to this day, over whether the ball crossed the line.
Bahramov, who was actually from Azerbaijan but is usually referred to as 'the Russian linesman', reputedly said “Stalingrad” when later asked why he gave the goal.
Hurst scored his third – becoming the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final – in the final seconds after some of the 93,000 fans had begun a pitch invasion.
A British Pathé newsreel provides an interesting glimpse of the excitement before the kick-off when the team was greeted by an almighty roar as they walked on the pitch.
It also captures curious scene of fans wearing plastic hats and waving rattles, Union Flags – rather than the St George’s Cross – and even the odd umbrella.
It is rarely mentioned now, but the newsreel also shows West Germany as the extremely gracious losers run a lap of honour and applaud the crowd.
Some historians argue that this gesture was partly an act of contrition over the Second World War, which was still fresh in the minds of many English fans that day.
The newsreel also shows more familiar scenes of Moore, who was given the cup by the then 40-year-old Queen, being lifted by fellow players and defender Nobby Stiles dancing.
Also filmed was England manager Alf Ramsey, who Pathé speculated might lead the nation to more success at the next World Cup finals in 1970.
However, it was never to be – as 1966 remains the only final the national team have reached during the 83-year-old tournament,.
Since then England have gone no further than one appearance in the semi-finals and the team is considered perennially unlucky by fans.
West Germany and, following the 1990 reunification, Germany would later prove a constant thorn in the side’s ambition.
England’s bitterest rivals have been in seven World Cup final matches and won the trophy three times.
England’s unlucky reputation has also extended to failing to host the tournament again despite repeated bids during the last five decades.
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- West Germany