1966 - The Finals of Ramsey and Greaves, Peters and Pickles. The World Cup came to England but Tottenham would have little interest in the proceedings. They were in Mexico assisting with that countries preparations. England were world champions for the only time and had chosen just Jimmy Greaves. West Ham’s Martin Peters would join us later. Terry Venables then of Chelsea but joined Spurs before the tournament started was also in the 40 strong Preliminary squad but did not make the cut. England’s manager was Alf Ramsey our former defender.
Ramsey had taken over in 1963 and slowly built a team to challenge for the trophy having been manager at Ipswich and had learnt to get the best from players. His reign started with being able to chose his own team, prior to this it had been a committee and the manager got what he was given. During his time England moved away from 4-2-4 and introduced 4-4-2. His selection of hard working players over flair and this new set up brought about the term ‘Alf’s wingless wonder’ Efficient yes, entertaining no.
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. This record fell to Italy in 1982.
1966 will be remembered for the third goal in the final. Hurst got a hat trick and England’s second came from Peters. In extra time Hurst’s second hit the bar and came down and bounced out. England claimed a goal and Germany said it wasn’t the ref ‘spoke’ to the linesman, however they did not have a common language, and the goal was given. This 'goal' has been repeated and computer generated endlessly over the years and was another big part of the introduction of goal line technology. It was also the reason you now see teams of officials from the same country at games - they speak the same language.
One of the other images from 1966 was the bad tempered quarter final with England and Argentina. Ramsey was so angry that he refused to let the players exchange shirts.
For the first time more than 70 countries entered the competition, although a number withdrew along the way. In the groups North Korea beat Italy 1-0 at Middlesbourgh and the Italians were out, and returned home to a barrage of rotten fruit at the airport. North Korea progressed to the quarter final where they led Portugal 3-0 at one point before Eusebio scored four in a 5-3 win.
Meanwhile back in N17 - Our season fell away towards the end as we finished 8th in the league. Tottenham then went on an extended tour on the Americas which included one game in Mexico where they played a National XI, which was the national team as part of their World Cup warm up. A 100,000 crowd watch Alan Gilzean score the only goal of the game.
Back to the final and a famous line of commentary that has now entered everyday conversion. In the dying moments of the game Hurst got the ball and approached the German goal. He said I just hit the ball as hard as possible. I expected it to go to row Z but it flew in. The commentary for the game with Kenneth Wolstenhome describing the scene as Hurst hit the shot.
"Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over...it is now."
Thanks - BBC, FIFA, Englandonline, The Guardian, the Times, ESPN, Planet World Cup,
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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