FIFA awarded the World Cup
1966 final tournament to England at its congress in Rome on August 22, 1960
during the Olympic Games. While a record 74 teams
entered, only 53 took part.
The 1966 World Cup caused some bitter disagreements before a ball had been
kicked competitively. Sixteen African nations boycotted the tournament in
protest against a 1964 FIFA ruling that required the champion team from
the African zone to play off against the winners of either the Asian or
the Oceania zone in order to win a place at the finals. The Africans felt
that winning their zone should have been enough in itself to merit
qualification for the finals. 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.
The teams were
divided into preliminary competition qualifying groups at a draw in Zürich, Switzerland on January 31, 1964. England, as host
nation, were the sole team assigned to qualifying group 10 and joined
Brazil, as World Cup holders, in qualifying automatically for the final
tournament. Following the preliminary competition, they were joined
in the finals by Bulgaria, West Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland,
Hungary, the U.S.S.R., Italy, Spain, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and
the Democratic People's Republic (DPR) of Korea.
The results and tables for the entire
World Cup 1966 preliminary competition are available both on the
website and in the
Foundation Archive, which also has the goalscorers.