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England 19



FIFA awarded the World Cup 1966 final tournament to England at the 32nd FIFA Congress in Rome on 22 August 1960 during the Olympic Games.

England were challenged to hosting duties by the German Federal Republic after Spain had withdrawn from the bidding process. England won the vote with 34 votes to GFR's 27.

The Draw

The sixteen participating teams were divided into four groups, in which all four teams would play each other once, at The Royal Garden Hotel in London on 6 January 1966. FIFA used a seeding system designed to place the four South American teams in separate groups and to keep holders Brazil and hosts England apart.  The teams were put into four pots for the draw:
South America Europe Latin Rest of the World
Brazil (seeded) England (seeded) France Bulgaria
Argentina Hungary Portugal DPR Korea
Chile USSR Spain Mexico
Uruguay West Germany (seeded) Italy (seeded) Switzerland


The Build-Up

17 June: Alf Ramsey named a squad of 22 for the four-match European tour, from the 27 that had been training at Lilleshall for the past two weeks.

20 June: The Times announced the financial rewards on offer to the England squad, if they were successful in the World Cup.

"Each member of the England World Cup team will receive a minimum of £1,000 if they win the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley next month. They will share a bonus of £22,000. If they lose the final, each man would receive a match fee of £60." - The Times

24 June: Following another three days training at Lilleshall, the 22-man squad arrived in Helsinki for the first match of the tour.

"It is not because they are softhearted or particularly patriotic that bookmakers show England as second favourites behind Brazil for the championship. It is simply because they know England are fully capable of winning the World Cup." - The Times.

26 June: England beat Finland 3-0, in Helsinki.

"England's strikers again miss the boat - chances wasted by fumbling finishing.
"They were too clumsy, too hurried and sometimes, to be fair, downright unlucky."
- The Times

28 June: Ramsey made ten changes for the second game of the tour, against Norway. Only Roger Hunt kept his place.

29 June: England beat Norway 6-1, in Oslo.

"Greaves banishes doubts with four goals - brilliant England XI humble Norwegians'
"Finishing power, control, anticipation - Greaves produced them all in as complete an example of forward play as one could find anywhere.
" The Times

1 July: Joe Mears, chairman of the Football Association, collapsed in an Oslo street and died from a heart attack, at the age of 61. He had previously suffered a heart attack in March, when the World Cup trophy was stolen and a ransom demand was sent to the FA.

3 July: Ramsey confirmed that the tour squad would be the World Cup 22. England beat Denmark 2-0, in Copenhagen.

"Ball inspires a flagging England - Danes - and bumpy pitch - overcome'
"...we again had a thoroughly competent performance by England's defence. It is unlikely that any goalkeeper has ever made such a comfortable first appearance for England as Bonetti did here."
- The Times

4 July: The squad flew to Poland and, after checking into their hotel, they set off for the stadium for a training session in front of a thousand Polish fans.

5 July: England beat Poland 1-0, in Chorzów.

"Ramsey's case rests on sound evidence - England finish tour unbeaten'
"...a victory born out of unrelenting efficiency, hard running, and one supreme moment...
" - The Times


First Phase
Group 1
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
England 3 2 1 0 4 0 +4 5
Uruguay 3 1 2 0 2 1 +1 4
Mexico 3 0 2 1 1 3 -2 2
France 3 0 1 2 2 5 -3 1
11 July 1966 - 7:30pm BST
England 0 Uruguay 0 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (87,148)

"...England were...bashing their heads against a powerfully knit, cleverly organized Uruguayan defensive wall.
"Every English player certainly fought and bestirred himself to the last breath..." - The Times, 12 July 1966.

13 July 1966 - 7:30pm BST
France 1 Mexico 1 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (69,237)
15 July 1966 - 7:30pm BST
Uruguay 2 France 1 [2-1]
White City Stadium, Shepherd's Bush (45,662)
Rocha, Cortés
de Bourgoing (pen)
16 July 1966 - 3:00pm BST
Mexico 0 England 2 [0-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (92,570)
R.Charlton, Hunt

"If their technique and imagination is limited, their morale and fitness are certainly at a peak.
"...latent explosive qualities of R. Charlton...
"For nine-tenths of the match they attacked, bashing their heads against a deep wall..." - The Times, 18 July 1966

19 July 1966 - 4:30pm BST
Uruguay 0 Mexico 0 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (35,000/61,112)
20 July 1966 - 7:30pm BST
France 0 England 2 [0-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (98,270)
Hunt (2)

"...only side in the field that has not yet conceded a goal.
"...too often were Greaves and Hunt caught off-side...
"...Moore...was completely masterful, binding the rearguard together in its dangerous moments, yet finding the time to support the fluent Peters..." - The Times, 21 July 1966

The Second Phase

23 July 1966 - all 3:00pm BST
England 1 Argentina 0 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (90,584)
West Germany 4 Uruguay 0 [1-0]
Hillsborough, Sheffield (40,007)
Haller (2), Beckenbauer, Seeler
Troche, Silva
Portugal 5 DPR Korea 3 [2-3]
Goodison Park, Liverpool (40,248)
Eusébio (4 (2 pens)), José Augusto
Park Seung-Jin, Lee Dong-Woon, Yang Sung-Kook
USSR 2 Hungary 1 [1-0]
Roker Park, Sunderland (22,103)
Chislenko, Porkujan

...crowd hooted and booed, cheered and laughed in succession as the travesty of pushing, jostling, chopping, holding and tripping unwound.
"West Ham United, united in thought and action, had done the trick for England.
"...at one moment it seemed the whole Argentina side was about to march off...
"If it had not been sad, it would have been as funny as some Crazy Gang show." - The Times, 25 July 1966

Quarter Finals

Semi Finals

25 July 1966 - both 7:30pm BST
West Germany 2 USSR 1 [1-0]
Goodison Park, Liverpool (38,273)
Haller, Beckenbauer
26 July 1966
England 2 Portugal 1 [0-0]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (94,493)
R.Charlton (2)
Eusébio (pen)

"...Wembley will remember for a long time to come.
"...scientific, flowing football...
"...22 minutes before the referee blew for the first infringement...
"England won by a hair's breadth..." - The Times, 27 July 1966


Third Place Play off

28 July 1966 - 7:30pm BST
Portugal 2 USSR 1 [1-1]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (70,000/87,696)
Eusébio (pen), Torres


The 1966 Final

30 July 1966 - both 3:00pm BST
England 4 West Germany 2 [1-1] AET [2-2]
Empire Stadium, Wembley (93,802)
Hurst (3), Peters
Haller, Weber

If England, perhaps, did not possess the greatest flair, they were the best prepared in the field, with the best temperament...
"...rich with excitement and some passing controversy that tested the stamina and willpower of both sides...
"...Moore and his men rose magnificently to the challenge.
"How some of them found the resilience and the stamina...was beyond praise.
"All were heroes...
"Was it over the line or not? It was all a matter of speed of eye. It looked good." - The Times, 1 August 1966

"It was a triumph of skill, courage, and stamina - and an emphatic vindication of the policy and planning of the team's manager, Mr. Ramsey.
"...a linesman was fortunately well placed to see that the ball came down inside the goal.
"Would it, in matches of this standing, be worth while to have two extra "linesmen" posted, say, just behind the goals?
"Ramsey: 'We were the fastest and the strongest side in the World Cup, but I do not think we can ever match the individual techniques of the Latin-Americans or the Latin-Europeans. We play a different kind of football. I was a little worried before the series started that English football was behind the rest of the world. But now we have won the cup, and it can be inferred that we have caught up. It has taken English football 100 years to realise that football can be played differently from the way it was when it was originated, but we have now caught up.' " - The Guardian, 1 August 1966