Fifa World Cup 1966
the eighth staging of the World Cup, was held in England from 11 to 30
July. England beat West Germany 4–2 in the final, winning the World Cup.
With this victory England became the third host to win the tournament
after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934, and to date it is the only
major championship England has won.
The 1966 Finals, held at the "home of football", was the last to be broadcast in black and white. The tournament held a 28-year FIFA record for the largest average attendance until it was surpassed by the United States in 1994.
World Cup 1966 Facts
World Cup 1966 Background
As with the previous World Cup in 1962, West Germany showed interest again in hosting the World Cup. There were only 2 other countries who could beat West Germany: Spain and England. Of the 3 countries interested in hosting the 8th World Cup, Spain withdrew before the FIFA voting even started. But it was England who ended up receiving more votes (34 votes) than West Germany (27 votes).
Therefore on August 22 1960 in Rome, FIFA announced England would host the 1966 World Cup for the first time and only time so far.
World Cup 1966 Participants
74 countries tried to qualify for the 1966 World Cup, the highest amount in qualification participants in comparison to the previous World Cups.
The interesting thing about the 74 countries is that there were no African countries included. The African countries boycotted the qualifications since in order to participate in the 1966 World Cup, 3 2nd round winners had to play a play-off against 2nd round Asian winners first. The African countries believed the qualification rounds in their own continent should be enough to guarantee a spot in the World Cup.
With Africa being absent in the 1966 World Cup, World Cup places were allocated to Europe, South America, North America and Asia. This was the 6th World Cup in a row which didn’t include any African countries. This would forever change though in the next World Cup in 1970.
England and Brazil automatically qualified since England hosted the 1966 World Cup and Brazil won the previous World Cup.
9 places for Europe excluding England were allocated to the following countries: France, West Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary, Bulgaria, Soviet Union and Italy. Portugal participated for the first time.
3 places for South America excluding Brazil were allocated to the following countries: Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
1 place for North/Central America and Caribbean was allocated to country Mexico.
1 place for Asia was allocated to country North Korea which qualified for the first time.
World Cup 1966 Groups
The format of England ‘66 was exactly the same as in the 1962 World Cup. There were 4 groups with 4 countries each. The countries had to play each other in the group stage. The first and 2nd country of each group would advance to the next round.
The goal average would be used again in case teams have equal points. The goal average would then decide which team goes to the next round. In the Quarter-Finals, the number 1 teams of the groups played against the number 2 teams of other groups. In the knockout phase 30 minutes of extra time had to be played in case the match ended in a draw. If the 30 minutes of extra time didn’t change the score, lots would be drawn to determine the winner.
The Final had different rules and had to be replayed in case the 30 minutes of extra time didn’t change the tied score. Also in the 1966 World Cup, it was not necessary to draw lots or to replay the Final.
The 4 seed countries were England, West Germany, Brazil and Italy. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.
The group draw could be witnessed on television for the first time.
The groups were as followed:
World Cup 1966 Stadiums
8 stadiums have been used located in 7 cities. 2 stadiums, Wembley and White City stadiums were both located in London. Only 1 match (Uruguay – France) has been played in White City stadium. Originally, this match was scheduled to be played in the Wembley stadium. On the day of the match however, a regularly scheduled greyhound racing would take place which the owner didn’t want to cancel. Therefore for 1 time, another stadium had to be used which was the White City stadium.
The following 7 cities and 8 stadiums were used in England:
World Cup 1966 Schedule
World Cup 1966 Memorable Matches
England – Uruguay 0-0
England started off slow by scoring 0 goals in their first match. This was the only 1966 World Cup match which England didn’t win. For the first time in World Cup history, a World Cup champion didn’t win the first match. In the other matches England would score at least 2 goals except for the Quarter-Final. This match against Uruguay got delayed actually since 7 English players forgot their identity card at the team hotel. Apparently a police motorcyclist was sent to collect them. Both teams advanced to the Quarter-Finals.Group 2
West Germany – Switzerland 5-0
This was the first World Cup of another legendary player. It was Franz Beckenbauer nicknamed Der Kaiser (The Emperor) who made his first appearance in this grand tournament. He played every match and scored 4 times. His first 2 goals were scored in this match. German players Sigfried Held and Helmut Haller (2x) scored the other 3 goals. Haller’s 2nd goal was a penalty. West Germany ended up with the same amount of points as Argentina. West Germany however was placed first due to the goal average rule. They have scored 3 more goals than Argentina. Switzerland lost every match and was eliminated.Group 3
Portugal – Brazil 3-1
Although Brazil won both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, this World Cup ended differently. The 1966 World Cup showed Brazil’s worst World Cup performance. This was the last time so far Brazil was eliminated in the group stage. It started well in the first match against Bulgaria where both Pelé and Garrincha scored a goal. But Brazil managed to lose the next matches with 3-1. The last time Brazil lost a World Cup match was 12 years earlier in 1954. In the 1966 World Cup they lost first against Hungary and then against Portugal. António Simões scored the first goal for Portugal. Eusébio nicknamed O Pantera Negra or The Black Pearl, scored the other 2 goals. Rildo scored the only goal for Brazil. Brazil was eliminated and Portugal and Hungary advanced. Pelé was tackled fiercely and brutally during the group matches. He was so revolted, that after Brazil’s elimination he vowed never to participate in a World Cup again. As we all know, he participated 1 more time in the successful 1970 World Cup.Group 4
North Korea – Italy 1-0
Another surprise of the 1966 World Cup was North Korea. They became the first non-European and non South-American country to advance to the next round. They managed this by beating Italy with 1-0. They were responsible for eliminating Italy, a task that till this day is not considered as easy! North Korean Pak Doo-Ik was the hero by scoring the only goal of the match. North Korea topped the group and advanced with Soviet Union. Italy by the way did have their revenge when it comes to 1962 World Cup’s Battle of Santiago. Italy won the group match against Chile with 2-0. Nevertheless, when Italy returned home from its shocking defeat against North Korea, their transport bus at the airport was pelted with fruit and rotten tomatoes by angry Italian fans.Quarter-Finals
England – Argentina 1-0 (El robo del siglo)
The infamous rivalry between both teams really started in this match. This historic match goes by the name El robo del siglo (the theft of the century) since the only goal scored by English player Geoff Hurst was offside according to Argentina. Another interesting fact is that Argentinian captain Antonio Rattín was sent off by the referee, but refused initially to leave the pitch. It took 10 minutes, and the presence of a Spanish-speaking official, to make Rattin leave the field and for the match to continue. English player Jack Charlton was also cautioned (booked) but found out only the next day when reading the newspaper! These events triggered the invention of yellow and red cards. At the end of the match, coach of England Alf Ramsey refused for the players to swap T-shirts with the Argentinian players. He described the Argentinians as “animals”. After the 1966 World Cup both teams encountered each other various times in future World Cups, resulting in more infamous matches.Argentinian player Antonio Rattín sent off Portugal – North Korea 5-3
Goodison Park, Liverpool – attendance: 51,780
Another legendary match this was for Portugal and Eusébio who past away in January 2014. He showed an amazing performance and is considered as 1 of the most legendary World Cup legends. This match against North Korea is considered as 1 of the most entertaining matches of the tournament. First there was North Korea which scored 3 goals in 25 minutes. The goal scorers Pak Seung-Zin, Li Dong-Woon and Yang Seung-Kook thought together with the team and country that this would be a guaranteed win. They were wrong. Eusébio scored the first goal for Portugal 2 minutes after North Korea’s 3rd goal. But it didn’t stop there. He scored 3 more goals where 2 of them were penalties! The score was 4-3 now. It was José Augusto who scored the final goal of the match, resulting in Portugal advancing to the Semi-Final.Semi-Finals
West Germany – Soviet Union 2-1
West Germany unexpectedly defeated Uruguay with 4-0 in the Quarter-Final. Uruguay blamed the referee for sending off 2 players and for not recognizing a handball on the goal line. Nevertheless 4-0 is an impressive score. Against Soviet Union West Germany wasn’t able to create such results, but they won anyway. Helmut Haller scored the first goal and Franz Beckenbauer scored the 2nd winning goal. Forward Valeriy Porkujan scored for Soviet Union in the 88th minute but this wasn’t enough. West Germany advanced to the Final which didn’t happen since 1954. Soviet Union would never reach a Semi-Final again.
England – Portugal 2-1
Another tough challenge for England was the match against Portugal. England scored 1 goal in the first half which was scored by forward Bobby Charlton. In the 2nd half it was Charlton again who scored the 2nd goal 10 minutes before the final whistle. Eusébio scored a penalty 2 minutes after England’s 2nd goal, but couldn’t find the equalizer. No Final for Portugal, but they did beat Soviet Union with 2-1 in the match for the third place. Remember that this is Portugal’s FIRST World Cup! Since 1934 (Italy) a team wasn’t this successful when making its World Cup debut! A memorable and amazing performance it was from Portugal, with Eusébio ending up as the legendary 1966 World Cup top scorer with 9 goals. World Cup 1966 Final
England showed a great performance by winning all the matches. Only their first group match against Uruguay ended in a 0-0 draw. West Germany entered the Final with a similar result, having only tied their 2nd group match with 0-0 against Argentina.
This was the first time England played against West Germany in a World Cup.
It was in the famous Wembley stadium in London where the Final was held between England and West Germany on the 30th of July. 98,000 attendees were present in the stadium. It was the 2nd World Cup Final for West Germany and the first for England. Within the first 20 minutes of the first half 2 goals were already scored. The first goal was scored by German player Helmut Haller (12′) and the 2nd by English player Geoff Hurst who scored with the head (18′). The score of 1-1 didn’t change till the 78th minute of the match.
It was England again which scored, with this time Martin Peters as the goal scorer. There were only a few minutes left before the referee would end the match, and with a score of 2-1, England would become World Cup champion. However West Germany trying to equalize as fast as they can, finally succeeded in the 89th minute. It was Wolfgang Weber who changed the score into 2-2. This meant for the 2nd time in World Cup history, 30 minutes of extra time had to be played.
The following event that happened during extra time is still considered controversial. It was again English player Geoff Hurst who scored his 2nd goal of the match (101′), resulting in a score of 3-2. The goal however is considered controversial since it is unclear whether the ball passed the goal line completely. Even the referee wasn’t sure and had to consult the linesman who stated it did cross the goal line.
This linesman is now known as the Russian linesman with only a few people knowing his real name. The goal, a shot bouncing off the crossbar and hitting the goal line even got its own name now which is Wembley-Tor (Wembley Goal) or ghost goal. Till this day people still discuss whether the ball did enter the goal properly or not.
The German defenders started to play more forward since only a few minutes were left before extra time was over. Although the Germans were attacking more and more, it was England again which scored the final goal of the match 1 minute before the end of extra time (120′). It was again Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick by scoring his 3rd goal of the match. England has finally won the World Cup with a score of 4-1 which is their only World Cup win so far. It was Queen Elizabeth II who awarded England (became known as the wingless wonders due to their narrow attacking formation) the Jules Rimet trophy.
England became the 5th country to win a World Cup, and the 3rd country to win a World Cup as a host country (first was Uruguay in 1930, 2nd was Italy in 1934). English player Geoff Hurst became the only player and last player so far to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final.
And West Germany? This was the first Final of many to come which were lost. They had their revenge 4 years later though, by beating England in the Quarter-Finals in extra time. But it was many years later in the 2010 World Cup where a similar event occurred. Coincidentally enough, England made the Wembley-Tor aka ghost goal again against Germany in the Round of 16. But this time, although it was a clear goal, the referee thought otherwise.Geoff Hurst’s Controversial Goal in Color
World Cup 1966 Mascot
The First World Cup to introduce a mascot: the 1966 World Cup in England had this privilege. FIFA would from this tournament on, introduce a mascot for each upcoming World Cup. With the introduction of a mascot, FIFA started to emphasize highly on marketing. Together with the mascot, the logo and the World Cup song were used to promote the World Cup and to show the world the experience is fun for everyone. A mascot represents the culture, traditional values, flora or fauna of the hosting country. Merchandise emphasizing on the mascot such as key rings, T-shirts, mugs and figures would be made available to enhance the World Cup’s awareness. The 1966 World Cup mascot goes by the name World Cup Willie and is a lion, a typical symbol of the United Kingdom. Even the English team has the nickname The Three Lions. World Cup Willie wears a Union Flag jersey with the words WORLD CUP on it and shoots the Slazenger 25 Challenge football.
World Cup 1966 Song
The second World Cup song was about the 1966 World Cup mascot World Cup Willie, ‘who is everybody’s favourite for the Cup’. It is so far the only official World Cup song that is dedicated to the mascot. This English song is sung by British skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan and is named World Cup Willie (Where in this World are We Going).
World Cup 1966 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1966 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1966 FIFA All-Star Team
The 1966 All-Star Team is the first team which included English and Portuguese players. English players are present in each category except for forwards. This is also the first All-Star Team that includes Germany player Franz Beckenbauer, who would also appear in the 1970 and 1974 All-Star Teams. English player Bobby Charlton makes his first appearance as well and will be included again in the upcoming All-Star Team. For Hungary this is so far the last time to be included in an All-Star Team.
World Cup 1966 in Action
Short documentary about 1966 World Cup preparations Greatest goals Goal! – Official 1966 World Cup Movie Goal! – Official 1966 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)
World Cup English