FIFA World Cup

A brief history of Fifa World Cup: England 1966, when Wembley witnessed a glorious homecoming

England defeated Germany in an exciting, controversial final.

It’s that time again! The greatest show on earth is upon us. Ahead of the Fifa World Cup in Russia, we look-back at the 20 tournaments before and the standout aspects from them.

Next up, when football returned to the country that gave the world the game 103 years earlier – England.

England 1966

The World Cup came home... the cup was stolen... the cup was then retrieved by a dog... the cup finally made its way to the captain of the England football team, handed over by the Queen at the Wembley.

England 1966 was, by most accounts, a memorable tournament for various reasons.

There was the aforementioned dog. There was Eusebio. There was Pele, who was once again targetted physically, so much so that he reportedly swore never to play in a World Cup again after Portugal eliminated Brazil. (He would and it was glorious). There was North Korea. And, there was, of course, Sir Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick in the final.

The England team under the tactically astute Alf Ramsey advanced in solid if unspectacular style to the semi-finals, where they faced a Eusebio-inspired Portugal, who had eliminated an ageing Brazilian side with a 3-1 victory in the group stage.

Two brilliant efforts by Manchester United’s Bobby Charlton put paid to the Portuguese 2-1 at Wembley.

West Germany, coaxed by new find Franz Beckenbauer, defeated the Soviet Union at Goodison Park to take their place at the home of football for the final.

Helmut Haller put the Germans ahead but Geoff Hurst equalised before half-time. Martin Peters looked to have clinched the cup for the hosts until Wolfgang Weber snatched a dramatic late equaliser to force extra time in a final for only the second time in history.

Hurst scored twice in the additional period to become the only player to score a World Cup final hat-trick. His second goal was highly controversial, bouncing down off the crossbar and, according to the linesman, over the line.

But the tournament top scorer remained Eusabio with nine goals, including four to rescue Portugal against North Korea after they had trailed 3-0 in the quarter-finals.

Earlier North Korea produced the shock of the tournament, beating Italy 1-0 in the group stage.

Stats and trivia

  • One of the stories of this World Cup... happened even before the tournament began and had to do with the World Cup itself. The Jules Rimet Trophy got stolen a few months before the tournament began and it involved the best of investigators working around the goal, with Pickles, the dog, emerging the hero. As describes it: “Arguably one of the game’s greatest storylines, involving mystery, intrigue and an unlikely hero, took place away from the floodlights, featuring a church hall, a ransom note and a loyal dog...” If this little snippet intrigued you, then you can read a lot more about that here.
  • Geoff Hurst, to this day, is the only player to score a World Cup final hat-trick. 
  • England were the first team who failed to win their first match of the tournament (a dour 0-0 draw against Uruguay) and went on to lift the trophy. Italy did the same in 1982, while Spain won the trophy after losing their match in 2010.
  • The first World Cup to have an official mascot – Willie, the lion. Leave it to England, eh?
  • Pele and Garrincha, with their goals in against Bulgaria in the opener, became the first players to find the net in three successive Fifa World Cups.
  • 25-year-old (and 109 days) Bobby Moore was, then, the youngest captain to lift the World Cup trophy. He would later be emulated by Daniel Passarella who was 78 days younger when he led Argentina to the title in 1978.
  • Tournament top-scorer: Eusebio - Portugal (9 goals)
  • Total number of goals scored in the tournament: 89 (2.8 goals per match) 

For your viewing pleasure

A memorable (or forgettable, if you are a Germany fan) final


A feature on Bobby Moore...

Official poster


With AFP and inputs

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.