Football World Cup 1966

From Academic Kids

1966 Football World Cup - England
World Cup 1966 - England
1966 Football World Cup poster
Official 1966 Football World Cup poster
Participant teams 70
(final tournament: 16)
Host England
Champions England (1st title)
Matches played 32
Goals scored 89
(2.78 per match)
Attendance 1,614,677
(50,459 per match)
Top scorer Eusbio (POR)
9 goals

1966 was the year that the Football World Cup went back to the country that first conceived football: England. And it was England who won the tournament in a controversial final over West Germany, 4-2. Eusebio of Portugal lead the tournament in scoring with nine goals.

The format of the competition stayed the same as 1962: 16 teams qualified, divided into four groups of four. Top two teams in each group would advance to the quarterfinals.

It was a World Cup that had a rather unusual hero off the field, a dog called Pickles. In the build up to the tournament the Jules Rimet trophy had been stolen from an exhibition display. A nation wide hunt for the icon ensued. It was later discovered in some newspaper as the dog sniffed at some bushes in London.

Despite achieving record attendances at the time, it was a World Cup with few goals as the teams began to play much more tactically and defensively. This was exemplified by Alf Ramsey's England as they finished top of Group A with only four goals to their credit, but having none scored against them. Uruguay were the other team to qualify from that group at the expense of both Mexico and France. All the group's matches were played at Wembley apart from the match between Uruguay and France which took place at White City.

In Group B, West Germany and Argentina qualified with ease as they both finished the group with 5 points, Spain managed 2, while Switzerland left the competition after losing all three group matches.

In the northwest of England, the Old Trafford and Goodison Park stadia played host to Group C which saw the World Cup holders, Brazil, finish in third place behind Portugal and Hungary and so be eliminated along with Bulgaria.

Group D, however, provided the biggest upset when North Korea beat Italy 1-0, and finished above them, earning themselves qualification along with the USSR. Chile finished bottom of the group.

The quarterfinals provided an easy victory for West Germany as they cruised past Uruguay 4-0. It appeared as though the surprise package North Korea might do the same to Portugal when after 22 minutes they were in the lead 3-0. It fell to one of the greatest stars of the tournament, Eusebio, to change that. He scored four goals in the game and with Augusto adding a fifth in the 78th minute, one of the most incredible comebacks was complete.

Meanwhile in the other two games, Bene's late goal for Hungary against the USSR, who was lead by Lev Yashin's stellar goalkeeping, proved little more than a consolation as they crashed out 2-1, and the only goal between Argentina and England came courtesy of England's Geoff Hurst.

Both semifinals finished 2-1: Franz Beckenbauer providing the winning goal for West Germany as they beat the USSR, while Bobby Charlton scored both goals in England's triumph against Portugal. Portugal went on to beat the USSR 2-1 to take third place.


First Round

Group A

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
England 5321040
Uruguay 4312021
Missing image

France 1301225
England0 - 0Uruguay
France1 - 1Mexico
Uruguay2 - 1France
England2 - 0Mexico
Uruguay0 - 0Mexico
England2 - 0France

Group B

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
West Germany 5321071
Argentina 5321041
Spain 2310245
Missing image

West Germany5 - 0Switzerland
Argentina2 - 1Spain
Spain2 - 1Switzerland
West Germany0 - 0Argentina
Argentina2 - 0Switzerland
West Germany2 - 1Spain

Group C

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
Missing image

Hungary 4320175
Brazil 2310246
Bulgaria 0300318
Brazil2 - 0Bulgaria
Portugal3 - 1Hungary
Hungary3 - 1Brazil
Portugal3 - 0Bulgaria
Portugal3 - 1Brazil
Hungary3 - 1Bulgaria

Group D

Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA
Missing image

Missing image

North Korea
Missing image

Chile 1301225
USSR3 - 0North Korea
Italy2 - 0Chile
North Korea1 - 1Chile
USSR1 - 0Italy
North Korea1 - 0Italy
USSR2 - 1Chile


July 23, 1966


Missing image

2 - 1 Hungary
West Germany 4 - 0 Uruguay
Missing image

5 - 3 Missing image

North Korea
England 1 - 0 Argentina


July 25, 1966

July 26, 1966

West Germany 2 - 1 Missing image

England 2 - 1 Missing image


Third place match

July 28, 1966

Missing image

2 - 1 Missing image



July 30, 1966

England 4 - 2 (AET) West Germany

For more detail, see 1966 World Cup Final

London's Wembley Stadium provided the venue for the Final, and 97,000 people crammed inside to watch.

After 12 minutes Helmut Haller had put West Germany ahead, but the score was levelled by Geoff Hurst four minutes later. Martin Peters put England in the lead in the 78th minute; England looked set to claim the title when the referee awarded a free kick to West Germany. The ball was launched goalward and Wolfgang Weber managed to poke it across the line, with England appealing in vain for handball as the ball came through the crowded penalty area.

With the score level at 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes, the game went to extra-time. In the 98th minute Hurst found himself on the score sheet again, when his shot hit the crossbar and was controversially deemed to have crossed the line by the referee. It didn't matter however as Hurst netted his third in the 120th minute, just as the gathered crowd invaded the pitch to celebrate with the team. Geoff Hurst is the only player ever to have scored three times in a World Cup Final.

BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's description of the match's closing moments has gone down in history: "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over." (Hurst scores) "It is now!"

England received the recovered Jules Rimet trophy from Her Majesty the Queen and were crowned World Cup winners.

FIFA (Men's) World Cup

Uruguay 1930 | Italy 1934 | France 1938 | Brazil 1950 | Switzerland 1954 | Sweden 1958 | Chile 1962 | England 1966 | Mexico 1970 | West Germany 1974 | Argentina 1978 | Spain 1982 | Mexico 1986 | Italy 1990 | USA 1994 | France 1998 | Korea/Japan 2002 | Germany 2006 | South Africa 2010 | South America 2014

FIFA Women's World Cup

China 1991 | Sweden 1995 | USA 1999 | USA 2003 | China 2007

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