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1966 FIFA World Cup

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was the eighth FIFA World Cup and was held in England from 11 to 30 July 1966. England beat West Germany 4–2 in the final, winning the Jules Rimet Trophy. It is England's only FIFA World Cup title. They were the fifth nation to win and the third host nation to win after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934.

1966 FIFA World Cup
1966 FIFA World Cup.png
1966 FIFA World Cup official logo
Tournament details
Host countryEngland
Dates11–30 July (20 days)
Teams16 (from 4 confederations)
Venue(s)8 (in 7 host cities)
Final positions
Champions England (1st title)
Runners-up West Germany
Third place Portugal
Fourth place Soviet Union
Tournament statistics
Matches played32
Goals scored89 (2.78 per match)
Attendance1,563,135 (48,848 per match)
Top scorer(s)Portugal Eusébio (9 goals)
Best player(s)England Bobby Charlton[1]
Best young playerWest Germany Franz Beckenbauer

Notable performances were made by the two debutants Portugal, ending third, and North Korea, getting to the quarter finals after a 1–0 win against Italy. Also notable was the elimination of world champions Brazil after the preliminary round. Notably, all four semi-finalists were European, a situation occurring in only four other world cups (1934, 1982, 2006 and 2018). Portugal's Eusébio was top scorer with nine goals. The final is remembered for being the only one with a hat-trick and for its controversial third goal awarded to England.

An incident before the tournament was the theft and refinding of the trophy. The final, held at Wembley Stadium,[2] was the last to be broadcast in black and white.[3] The tournament held a FIFA record for the largest average attendance until it was surpassed by Mexico in 1970. It was boycotted by most independent countries from Africa who objected to the qualification requirements. Despite this, the number of entries for the qualifying tournament was a new record, with 70 nations.


Host selectionEdit

England was chosen as host of the 1966 World Cup in Rome, Italy on 22 August 1960, over rival bids from West Germany and Spain. This is first tournament to be held in a country that was affected directly by World War II, as the four previous tournaments were either held in countries out of war theatres or in neutral countries.


Despite the Africans' absence, there was another new record number of entries for the qualifying tournament, with 70 nations taking part. After all the arguments, FIFA finally ruled that ten teams from Europe would qualify, along with four from South America, one from Asia and one from North and Central America.

Portugal and North Korea qualified for the first time. Portugal would not qualify again until 1986, while North Korea's next appearance was at the 2010 tournament. This was also Switzerland's last World Cup finals until 1994. Notable absentees from this tournament included 1962 semi-finalists Yugoslavia and 1962 runners up Czechoslovakia.

African boycottEdit

Thirty-one African nations boycotted the tournament to protest a 1964 FIFA ruling that required the three second-round winners from the African zone to enter a play-off round against the winners of the Asian zone in order to qualify for the World Cup, as they felt winning their zone was enough in itself to merit qualification. They also protested against the readmission of South Africa to FIFA in 1963, despite its expulsion from CAF due to the apartheid regime in 1958.

South Africa was subsequently assigned to the Asia and Oceania qualifying group before being disqualified after being suspended again due to pressure from other African nations in October 1964. Despite this, after FIFA refused to change the qualifying format, the African teams decided anyway to pull out of the World Cup until at least one African team had a place assured in the World Cup, something which was put in place for the 1970 FIFA World Cup and all subsequent World Cup finals.[4]

The Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique participated for Portugal. These colonies only got their independence in the 1970s, while most other African colonies became independent in the 1960s.

Qualified teamsEdit

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament.


The format of the 1966 competition remained the same as 1962: 16 qualified teams were divided into four groups of four. Each group played a round-robin format. Two points were awarded for a win and one point for a draw, with goal average used to separate teams equal on points. The top two teams in each group advanced to the knockout stage.

In the knockout games, if the teams were tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time were played. For any match other than the final, if the teams were still tied after extra time, lots would be drawn to determine the winner. The final would have been replayed if tied after extra time. In the event, no replays or drawing of lots was necessary.

The draw for the final tournament, taking place on 6 January 1966 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London was the first ever to be televised, with England, West Germany, Brazil and Italy as seeds.[5]


The opening match took place on Monday 11 July. With the exception of the first tournament, which commenced on 13 July 1930, every other tournament (up to and including 2018) has commenced in May or June. The final took place on 30 July 1966, the 36th anniversary of the first final. This remains the latest date that any tournament has concluded. The reason for the unusually late scheduling of the tournament appears to lie with the outside broadcast commitments of the BBC, which also had commitments to cover Wimbledon (which ran between 20 June and 2 July) and the Open Golf Championship (6 to 9 July).

Group playEdit

Wolfgang Weber (left) and Luis Artime during the match between West Germany and Argentina in Birmingham

1966 was a World Cup with few goals as the teams began to play much more tactically and defensively. This was exemplified by Alf Ramsey's England as they finished top of Group 1 with only four goals, but having none scored against them. They also became the first World Cup winning team not to win its first game in the tournament. Uruguay were the other team to qualify from that group at the expense of both Mexico and France. All the group's matches were played at Wembley Stadium apart from the match between Uruguay and France which took place at White City Stadium.

In Group 2, West Germany and Argentina qualified with ease as they both finished the group with 5 points, Spain managed 2, while Switzerland left the competition after losing all three group matches. FIFA cautioned Argentina for its violent style in the group games, particularly in the scoreless draw with West Germany, which saw Argentinean Rafael Albrecht get sent off and suspended for the next match.[6][7]

In the northwest of England, Old Trafford and Goodison Park played host to Group 3 which saw the two-time defending champions Brazil finish in third place behind Portugal and Hungary, and be eliminated along with Bulgaria. Brazil were defeated 3–1 by Hungary in a classic encounter before falling by the same scoreline to Portugal in a controversial game. Portugal appeared in the finals for the first time, and made quite an impact. They won all three of their games in the group stage, with a lot of help from their outstanding striker Eusébio, whose nine goals made him the tournament's top scorer.

Group 4, however, provided the biggest upset when North Korea beat Italy 1–0 at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough and finished above them, thus earning qualification to the next round along with the Soviet Union. This was the first time that a nation from outside Europe or the Americas had progressed from the first stage of a World Cup: the next would be Morocco in 1986.

Quarter-finals, semi-finals, and third-place matchEdit

The quarter-finals provided a controversial victory for West Germany as they cruised past Uruguay 4–0; the South Americans claimed that this occurred only after the referee (who was Jim Finney, from England) had not recognised a handball by Schnellinger on the goal line and then had sent off two players from Uruguay: Horacio Troche and Héctor Silva.[8] It appeared as though the surprise package North Korea would claim another major upset in their match against Portugal at Goodison Park, when after 22 minutes they led 3–0. It fell to one of the greatest stars of the tournament, Eusébio, to change that. He scored four goals in the game and José Augusto added a fifth in the 78th minute to earn Portugal a 5–3 win.

Meanwhile, in the other two games, Ferenc Bene's late goal for Hungary against the Soviet Union, who were led by Lev Yashin's stellar goalkeeping, proved little more than a consolation as they crashed out 2–1, and the only goal between Argentina and England came courtesy of England's Geoff Hurst. During that controversial game (for more details see Argentina and England football rivalry), Argentina's Antonio Rattín became the first player to be sent off in a senior international football match at Wembley.[9] Rattín at first refused to leave the field and eventually had to be escorted by several policemen. After 30 minutes England scored the only goal of the match. This game is called el robo del siglo (the robbery of the century) in Argentina.[10]

All semi-finalists were from Europe. The venue of the first semi-final between England and Portugal was changed from Goodison Park in Liverpool to Wembley, due to Wembley's larger capacity. This larger capacity was particularly significant during a time when ticket revenue was of crucial importance.[11] Bobby Charlton scored both goals in England's win, with Portugal's goal coming from a penalty in the 82nd minute after a handball by Jack Charlton on the goal line.[12][13] The other semi-final also finished 2–1: Franz Beckenbauer scoring the winning goal with a left foot shot from the edge of the area for West Germany as they beat the Soviet Union.[14]

Portugal went on to beat the Soviet Union 2–1 to take third place. Portugal's third place remains the best finish by a team making its World Cup debut since 1934. It was subsequently equalled by Croatia in the 1998 tournament.


London's Wembley Stadium was the venue for the final, and 98,000 people attended. After 12 minutes 32 seconds Helmut Haller put West Germany ahead, but the score was levelled by Geoff Hurst four minutes later. Martin Peters put England in the lead in the 78th minute; England looked set to claim the title when the referee awarded a free kick to West Germany with one minute left. The ball was launched goalward and Wolfgang Weber scored, with England appealing in vain for handball as the ball came through the crowded penalty area.[15]

Elizabeth II presents the Jules Rimet Trophy to England's team captain Bobby Moore.

With the score level at 2–2 at the end of 90 minutes, the game went to extra time. In the 98th minute, Hurst found himself on the scoresheet again; his shot hit the crossbar, bounced down onto the goal line, and was awarded as a goal. Debate has long raged over whether the ball crossed the line, with the goal becoming part of World Cup history.[16] England's final goal was scored by Hurst again, as a celebratory pitch invasion began. This made Geoff Hurst the only player ever to have scored three times in a single World Cup final.[15] BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's description of the match's closing moments has gone down in history: "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over ... [Hurst scores] It is now!".[17]

England's total of eleven goals scored in six games set a new record low for average goals per game scored by a World Cup winning team. The record stood until 1982, when it was surpassed by Italy's twelve goals in seven games; in 2010 this record was lowered again by Spain, winning the Cup with eight goals in seven games. England's total of three goals conceded also constituted a record low for average goals per game conceded by a World Cup winning team. That record stood until 1994, when it was surpassed by Brazil's three goals in seven games. France again lowered the record to two goals in seven during the 1998 tournament, a record that has since been equalled by Italy at the 2006 tournament and by Spain's two goals in the group stage conceded during the 2010 tournament.

England received the recovered Jules Rimet trophy from Elizabeth II and were crowned World Cup winners for the first time.[15]

In this World Cup, the national anthems were played only in the final. They were not played in the earlier matches because the organisers (FIFA and the FA) feared that North Korea's presence – a socialist country that was not recognised by the United Kingdom – in the World Cup would cause problems with South Korea. A memo from the Foreign Office months before the finals began stated that the solution would be "denying the visas to North Korean players".[18]

Trophy incidentEdit

The 1966 World Cup had a rather unusual hero off the field, a dog called Pickles. In the build-up to the tournament, the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen from an exhibition display. A nationwide hunt for the icon ensued. It was later discovered wrapped in newspaper as the dog sniffed under some bushes in London. The FA commissioned a replica cup in case the original cup was not found in time. This replica is held at the English National Football Museum in Manchester, where it is on display.[19]


World Cup Willie, the mascot for the 1966 competition, was the first World Cup mascot, and one of the first mascots to be associated with a major sporting competition. World Cup Willie is a lion, a typical symbol of the United Kingdom, wearing a Union Flag jersey emblazoned with the words "WORLD CUP".


Eight venues were used for this World Cup. The newest and biggest venue used was Wembley Stadium in west London, which was 43 years old in 1966. As was often the case in the World Cup, group matches were played in two venues in close proximity to each other. Group 1 matches (which included the hosts) were all played in London: five at Wembley, which was England's national stadium and was considered to be the most important football venue in the world; and one at White City Stadium in west London, which was used as a temporary replacement for nearby Wembley. The group stage match between Uruguay and France played at White City Stadium (originally built for the 1908 Summer Olympics) was scheduled for a Friday, the same day as regularly scheduled greyhound racing at Wembley. Because Wembley's owner refused to cancel this, the game had to be moved to the alternative venue in London. Group 2's matches were played at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield and Villa Park in Birmingham; Group 3's matches were played at Old Trafford in Manchester and Goodison Park in Liverpool; and Group 4's matches were played at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough and Roker Park in Sunderland.

The most used venue was Wembley, which was used for nine matches, including all six featuring England, the final and the third-place match. Goodison Park was used for five matches, Roker Park and Hillsborough both hosted four, while Old Trafford, Villa Park and Ayresome Park each hosted three matches and did not host any knockout round matches.

London Manchester
Wembley Stadium White City Stadium Old Trafford
Capacity: 98,600 Capacity: 76,567 Capacity: 58,000
Villa Park
Capacity: 52,000
Goodison Park
Capacity: 50,151
Sheffield Sunderland Middlesbrough
Hillsborough Stadium Roker Park Ayresome Park
Capacity: 42,730 Capacity: 40,310 Capacity: 40,000

Match officialsEdit


Pot 1: South American Pot 2: European Pot 3: Latin European Pot 4: Rest of the World


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1966 FIFA World Cup squads.

Group stageEdit

Group 1Edit

Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
  England 3 2 1 0 4 0 5
  Uruguay 3 1 2 0 2 1 2.00 4
  Mexico 3 0 2 1 1 3 0.33 2
  France 3 0 1 2 2 5 0.40 1
England  0–0  Uruguay
Attendance: 87,148
France  1–1  Mexico
Hausser   62' Report Borja   48'
Attendance: 69,237

Uruguay  2–1  France
Rocha   26'
Cortés   31'
Report De Bourgoing   15' (pen.)
England  2–0  Mexico
B. Charlton   37'
Hunt   75'
Attendance: 92,570

Mexico  0–0  Uruguay
Attendance: 61,112
England  2–0  France
Hunt   38'75' Report
Attendance: 98,270

Group 2Edit

Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
  West Germany 3 2 1 0 7 1 7.00 5
  Argentina 3 2 1 0 4 1 4.00 5
  Spain 3 1 0 2 4 5 0.80 2
   Switzerland 3 0 0 3 1 9 0.11 0
  • West Germany were placed first due to superior goal average.
West Germany  5–0   Switzerland
Held   16'
Haller   21'77' (pen.)
Beckenbauer   40'52'
Argentina  2–1  Spain
Artime   65'77' Report Pirri   67'
Attendance: 42,738

Spain  2–1   Switzerland
Sanchís   57'
Amancio   75'
Report Quentin   31'
Argentina  0–0  West Germany

Argentina  2–0   Switzerland
Artime   52'
Onega   79'
West Germany  2–1  Spain
Emmerich   39'
Seeler   84'
Report Fusté   23'
Attendance: 42,187

Group 3Edit

Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
  Portugal 3 3 0 0 9 2 4.50 6
  Hungary 3 2 0 1 7 5 1.40 4
  Brazil 3 1 0 2 4 6 0.67 2
  Bulgaria 3 0 0 3 1 8 0.13 0
Brazil  2–0  Bulgaria
Pelé   15'
Garrincha   63'
Portugal  3–1  Hungary
José Augusto   1'67'
Torres   90'
Report Bene   60'
Attendance: 29,886
Referee: Leo Callaghan (Wales)

Hungary  3–1  Brazil
Bene   2'
Farkas   64'
Mészöly   73' (pen.)
Report Tostão   14'
Attendance: 51,387
Referee: Ken Dagnall (England)
Portugal  3–0  Bulgaria
Vutsov   17' (o.g.)
Eusébio   38'
Torres   81'

Portugal  3–1  Brazil
Simões   15'
Eusébio   27'85'
Report Rildo   73'
Attendance: 58,479
Hungary  3–1  Bulgaria
Davidov   43' (o.g.)
Mészöly   45'
Bene   54'
Report Asparuhov   15'

Group 4Edit

Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
  Soviet Union 3 3 0 0 6 1 6.00 6
  North Korea 3 1 1 1 2 4 0.50 3
  Italy 3 1 0 2 2 2 1.00 2
  Chile 3 0 1 2 2 5 0.40 1
Soviet Union  3–0  North Korea
Malofeyev   31'88'
Banishevskiy   33'
Italy  2–0  Chile
Mazzola   8'
Barison   88'
Attendance: 27,199

Chile  1–1  North Korea
Marcos   26' (pen.) Report Pak Seung-zin   88'
Soviet Union  1–0  Italy
Chislenko   57' Report
Attendance: 27,793

North Korea  1–0  Italy
Pak Doo-ik   42' Report
Attendance: 17,829
Soviet Union  2–1  Chile
Porkuyan   28'85' Report Marcos   32'
Attendance: 16,027

Knockout stageEdit


23 July – London (Wembley)
26 July – London (Wembley)
23 July – Liverpool (Goodison Park)
30 July – London (Wembley)
  North Korea3
  England (aet)4
23 July – Sheffield (Hillsborough Stadium)
  West Germany2
  West Germany4
25 July – Liverpool (Goodison Park)
  West Germany2
23 July – Sunderland (Roker Park)
  Soviet Union1 Third place
  Soviet Union2
28 July – London (Wembley)
  Soviet Union1


England  1–0  Argentina
Hurst   78' Report

West Germany  4–0  Uruguay
Haller   11'83'
Beckenbauer   70'
Seeler   75'
Attendance: 40,007
Referee: Jim Finney (England)

Soviet Union  2–1  Hungary
Chislenko   5'
Porkuyan   46'
Report Bene   57'
Attendance: 26,844

Portugal  5–3  North Korea
Eusébio   27'43' (pen.)56'59' (pen.)
José Augusto   80'
Report Pak Seung-zin   1'
Li Dong-woon   22'
Yang Seung-kook   25'
Attendance: 40,248


West Germany  2–1  Soviet Union
Haller   43'
Beckenbauer   67'
Report Porkuyan   88'
Attendance: 38,273

England  2–1  Portugal
B. Charlton   30'80' Report Eusébio   82' (pen.)
Attendance: 94,493

Third place play-offEdit

Portugal  2–1  Soviet Union
Eusébio   12' (pen.)
Torres   89'
Report Malofeyev   43'
Attendance: 87,696
Referee: Ken Dagnall (England)


England  4–2 (a.e.t.)  West Germany
Hurst   18'101'120'
Peters   78'
Report Haller   12'
Weber   89'
Attendance: 96,924


All-star teamEdit

Final standingsEdit

Results of 1966 FIFA World Cup
  Champion   Runner-up   3rd place   4th place   1/4-finals   Group stage

Angola and Mozambique represented Portugal.

In 1986, FIFA published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition.[21][22] The rankings for the 1966 tournament were as follows:

R Team G P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1   England 1 6 5 1 0 11 3 +8 11
2   West Germany 2 6 4 1 1 15 6 +9 9
3   Portugal 3 6 5 0 1 17 8 +9 10
4   Soviet Union 4 6 4 0 2 10 6 +4 8
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
5   Argentina 2 4 2 1 1 4 2 +2 5
6   Hungary 3 4 2 0 2 8 7 +1 4
7   Uruguay 1 4 1 2 1 2 5 −3 4
8   North Korea 4 4 1 1 2 5 9 −4 3
Eliminated in the group stage
9   Italy 4 3 1 0 2 2 2 0 2
10   Spain 2 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 2
11   Brazil 3 3 1 0 2 4 6 −2 2
12   Mexico 1 3 0 2 1 1 3 −2 2
13   Chile 4 3 0 1 2 2 5 −3 1
  France 1 3 0 1 2 2 5 −3 1
15   Bulgaria 3 3 0 0 3 1 8 −7 0
16    Switzerland 2 3 0 0 3 1 9 −8 0


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  2. ^ "Hurst the hero for England in the home of football". Archived from the original on 20 December 2013.
  3. ^ "1966 FIFA™ World Cup England – Final".
  4. ^ Why Africa boycotted the 1966 World Cup, BBC News, 12th July 2016
  5. ^ "History of the World Cup Final Draw" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  6. ^ "History of the World Cup". Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  7. ^ Alsos, Jan. "1966 – Story of England '66". Planet World Cup. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  8. ^ "Mundial de Inglaterra 1966 – SIGUEN LOS CHOREOS A SUDAMÉRICA". Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  9. ^ Hackett, Robin (7 April 2011). "Blue is the colour". ESPNFC. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Mundial de Inglaterra 1966 – EL ROBO DEL SIGLO". Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  11. ^ Vickery, Tim. "Argentina's class of '78 deserve respect". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 February 2012. [Tim Vickery's comment (no.29):] The semi final switch – I believe this is more down to the FIFA Exec Com than to Rous – in this pre-mass TV age the box office was still important, so it was obviously tempting from a financial point of view to have the ho[m]e side play in the stadium with the biggest capacity
  12. ^ "England's 2–1 win brings first final". Montreal Gazette. 27 July 1966. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  13. ^ "ENGLAND PORTUGAL 1/2 FINAL WORLD CUP 1966". YouTube. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  14. ^ "West Germany Nips 10 Russians 2–1". Montreal Gazette. 26 July 1966. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  15. ^ a b c McIlvanney, Hugh (30 July 2008). "From the Vault: Hurst's hat-trick wins the World Cup". Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 6 June 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  16. ^ Reid, Ian; Zisserman, Andrew. "Goal-directed Video Metrology" (PDF). University of Oxford. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Kenneth Wolstenholme". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 27 March 2002. Retrieved 22 June 2010. Kenneth Wolstenholme, who has died aged 81, was the voice of football on the BBC for almost a quarter of a century and the author of arguably the most celebrated words in British sports broadcasting, his commentary on England's last goal in the World Cup Final of 1966: "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over – it is now!"
  18. ^ "World Cup fears over North Korea in 1966". BBC News. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  19. ^ Atherton, Martin [2008]The Theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy: The Hidden History of the 1966 World Cup. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. p.93, Retrieved 15 September 2010 from 'The Theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy', via Google Books
  20. ^ "All Star Team". Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Permanent Table" (PDF). p. 230. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  22. ^ "FIFA World Cup: Milestones, facts & figures. Statistical Kit 7" (PDF). FIFA. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013.

External linksEdit