1966 – England

World Cup 1966 Final

1966 World Cup champion: The English team with captain Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy

World Cup 1966 Facts

World Cup 1966 Poster

1966 World Cup poster

  • Date: 11 July – 30 July
  • Final: England – West Germany 4-2
  • 3rd place: Portugal – Soviet Union 2-1
  • Teams: 16
  • Stadiums: 8
  • Host cities: 7
  • Matches played: 32
  • Goals: 89
  • Attendance: 1,635,000
  • Top scorer: Eusébio (Portugal) (9 goals)

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 Background

7 host cities in England

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 Match Ball

1966 World Cup match ball “Slazenger 25 Challenge” – Last ball to be produced by a local supplier

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:

Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
West Germany
Soviet Union
North Korea
World Cup 1966 Logo

1966 World Cup logo

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:

Wembley Stadium
Location: London
Opened: 1923
Capacity: 100,000
Matches: 9
Status: Demolished in 2003, is replaced by a new Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 which is England's national and biggest stadium
White City Stadium
Location: London
Opened: 1908
Capacity: 76,567
Matches: 1
Status: Demolished in 1985
Villa Park
Location: Birmingham
Opened: 1897
Capacity: 55,000
Matches: 3
Status: Has gone through many renovations and developments
Hillsborough Stadium
Location: Sheffield
Opened: 1899
Capacity: 42,730
Games: 4
Matches: Still exists and is the place where the Hillsborough disaster occurred
Old Trafford
Location: Manchester
Opened: 1910
Capacity: 42,730
Matches: 3
Status: Still exists and is the 2nd largest UK stadium after the Wembley stadium
Goodison Park
Location: Liverpool
Opened: 1892
Capacity: 40,157
Matches: 5
Status: Still exists and is one of the world's first football-specific stadiums
Roker Park
Location: Sunderland
Opened: 1897
Capacity: 40,310
Matches: 4
Status: Demolished in 1998
Ayresome Park
Location: Middlesbrough
Opened: 1903
Capacity: 40,310
Matches: 3
Status: Demolished in 1997

World Cup 1966 Schedule

Group 1 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
11 July England 0:0 Uruguay
13 July France 1:1 (0:0) Mexico
15 July Uruguay 2:1 (2:1) France
16 July England 2:0 (1:0) Mexico
19 July Uruguay 0:0 Mexico
20 July England 2:0 (1:0) France
Group 1 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Group 2 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
12 July Germany FR 5:0 (3:0) Switzerland
13 July Argentina 2:1 (0:0) Spain
15 July Spain 2:1 (0:1) Switzerland
16 July Germany FR 0:0 Argentina
19 July Argentina 2:0 (0:0) Switzerland
20 July Germany FR 2:1 (1:1) Spain
Group 2 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Germany FR3210715
Group 3 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
12 July Brazil 2:0 (1:0) Bulgaria
13 July Portugal 3:1 (1:0) Hungary
15 July Hungary 3:1 (1:1) Brazil
16 July Portugal 3:0 (2:0) Bulgaria
19 July Portugal 3:1 (2:0) Brazil
20 July Hungary 3:1 (2:1) Bulgaria
Group 3 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Group 4 matches
Date Home Team Results Away Team
12 July Soviet Union 3:0 (2:0) Korea DPR
13 July Italy 2:0 (1:0) Chile
15 July Korea DPR 1:1 (0:1) Chile
16 July Soviet Union 1:0 (0:0) Italy
19 July Korea DPR 1:0 (1:0) Italy
20 July Soviet Union 2:1 (1:1) Chile
Group 4 results
TeamPlayedWonDrawLostGoals ForGoals AgainstPoints
Soviet Union3300616
Korea DPR3111243
Date Home Team Results Away Team
23 July England 1:0 (0:0) Argentina
23 July Germany FR 4:0 (1:0) Uruguay
23 July Soviet Union 2:1 (1:0) Hungary
23 July Portugal 5:3 (2:3) Korea DPR
Date Home Team Results Away Team
25 July Germany FR 2:1 (1:0) Soviet Union
26 July England 2:1 (1:0) Portugal
Match for third place
Date Home Team Results Away Team
28 July Portugal 2:1 (1:1) Soviet Union
Date Home Team Results Away Team
30 July England 4:2 a.e.t. (2:2, 1:1) Germany FR

World Cup 1966 Memorable Matches

Group Matches

Group 1 (Group of Death, although the term didn’t exist yet)

England – Uruguay 0-0
Wembley Stadium, London  – attendance: 87,148

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
Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield – attendance: 36,000

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 (Group of Death, although the term didn’t exist yet)

Portugal – Brazil 3-1
Goodison Park, Liverpool – attendance: 62,000

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
Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough – attendance: 18,000

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.


England – Argentina 1-0 (El robo del siglo)
Wembley Stadium, London – attendance: 90,000

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.


West Germany – Soviet Union 2-1
Goodison Park, Liverpool – attendance: 38,300

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
Wembley Stadium, London – attendance: 95,000

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.

World Cup 1966 Final

The 1966 English team

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.

World Cup 1966 Final

The controversial Wembley goal

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.

World Cup 1966 Final

Queen Elizabeth II awarding captain Bobby Moore 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.

World Cup 1966 Final

Statue of Moore with the World Cup trophy, on the shoulders of Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson, with Martin Peters

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 (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 Final

West Germany = White (Coach: Helmut Schön)
England = Red (Coach: Alf Ramsey)

World Cup 1966 Mascot

World Cup 1966 Mascot

1966 World Cup mascot World Cup Willie

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

  • 2 countries qualified for the first time: Portugal and North Korea
  • First and last time so far England won a World Cup
  • England is the 5th country to win a World Cup
  • England is the 3rd country to win a World Cup as host country
  • England is the first World Cup champion which didn’t win the first World Cup match
  • The third place for Portugal is the best result ever for a World Cup debutant; Croatia would do exactly the same in the 1998 World Cup
  • First World Cup to introduce a mascot
  • First time since 1934 where all 4 Semi-Finalists are European teams
  • The first World Cup goal scored by an Asian country is scored by North Korean Pak Seung-Zin in the match against Chile (1-1)
  • English player Geoff Hurst is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final
  • Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal played 5 World Cups in a row for Mexico, with the 1950 World Cup being his first and the 1966 World Cup his last (German player Lothar Matthäus did the same from 1982 till 1998)
  • Brazil is the 2nd country which didn’t make it to the 2nd round after having won the previous World Cup
  • For the first time a non-European and non-American country went to the Quarter-Finals: North Korea
  • Bulgaria is the first and only country so far to have scored 2 own goals in 1 World Cup, which occurred in the matches against Portugal and Hungary
  • This World Cup had the highest amount of average attendance for 28 years (50,273) till the 1994 World Cup surpassed this amount

Did You Know

  • First World Cup which was televised live in Europe and other continents
  • Last World Cup which was broadcast in black and white
  • Extra time had to be played in a Final for a 2nd time in World Cup history
  • Drug testing was for the first time introduced in a World Cup
  • Prohibition on the naturalization of footballers was introduced, it was only possible now to play for a country when you have never played for a different country before
  • The World Cup draw was the first to be televised
  • FIFA cautioned Argentina who were using a violent style in the group matches
  • Portugal would only qualify for their next World Cup in 1986
  • North Korea would only qualify for their next World Cup in 2010
  • Switzerland would only qualify for their next World Cup in 1994
  • Only World Cup where the Final was played on a Saturday
  • Last time Brazil was eliminated in the first round
  • Brazilian star Pelé was tackled fiercely and brutally during the group matches, and after the elimination he vowed never to participate in a World Cup again (he changed his mind and participated 4 years later)
  • The Jules Rimet trophy was stolen from an exhibition display 4 months before the World Cup, and was eventually found (wrapped in newspaper in front of a wheel of their neigbour’s car) by a dog named Pickles
  • Referee Ken Aston who officiated the ‘Battle of Santiago‘ match in the 1962 World Cup, invented the red and yellow cards due to the incidents which took place in the Quarter-Final match England against Argentina
  • Uruguay player Pablo Forlán has a son who played in the 2002 and 2010 Uruguay team: Diego Forlán
  • France player Jean Djorkaeff has a son who played in the 1998 and 2002 France team: Youri Djorkaeff
  • Slazenger 25 Challenge match ball was made by local supplier Slazenger in England
  • Slazenger 25 Challenge match ball contained 18 panels (as was used in the 1954 and 1958 World Cup match balls) and both orange and yellow versions were used

World Cup 1966 FIFA Awards

  • Golden Ball: Bobby Charlton (England)
  • Silver Ball: Bobby Moore (England)
  • Bronze Ball: Eusébio (Portugal)
  • Golden Boot: Eusébio (Portugal) (9 goals)
  • Silver Boot: Helmut Haller (West Germany) (6 goals)
  • Bronze Boot: Valeriy Porkuyan (Soviet Union), Geoff Hurst (England), Ferenc Bene (Hungary), Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany) (4 goals)
  • Best Young Player Award: Franz Beckenbauer (20 years old) (West Germany)
World Cup 1966 FIFA Awards

Bobby Charlton (England)

World Cup 1966 FIFA Awards

Eusébio (Portugal)


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.

Gordon Banks (England)George Cohen (England)
Bobby Moore (England)
Vicente (Portugal)
Silvio Marzolini (Argentina)
Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)
Mário Coluna (Portugal)
Bobby Charlton (England)
Florian Albert (Hungary)
Uwe Seeler (West Germany)
Eusébio (Portugal)

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)

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