1966 FIFA World Cup final
Queen Elizabeth II presents England captain Bobby Moore with the World Cup trophy.
After extra time
Date30 July 1966
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeGottfried Dienst (Switzerland)

The 1966 FIFA World Cup final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium in London on 30 July 1966 to determine the winner of the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth FIFA World Cup.[1] The match was contested by England and West Germany, with England winning 4–2 after extra time to claim the Jules Rimet Trophy. It was the first – and to date only – occasion that England has hosted or won the World Cup.

West Germany took the lead in the 11th minute when Helmut Haller shot the ball into the bottom left corner when an English defender failed to clear the ball, before Geoff Hurst equalized with a header to make it 1-1, assisting a teammate who took a free kick. The score remained level by halftime until England took the lead with a 78th minute goal from Martin Peters (who was the only player to be booked during the match). England almost won by full time before West German player, Wolfgang Weber, scored a 2-2 equaliser in the 90th minute. The game went into extra time, in which Geoff Hurst scored a controversial goal in the 101st minute in which some people thought the ball did not fully cross the line although the referee did agree it was a goal, to make the score 3-2 after the first 15 minutes of extra time, until Hurst scored again in the final minute to complete his hat-trick, ending the game 4-2 after the extra 30 minutes. He was the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final until Kylian Mbappé scored one in the 2022 final.

The match is remembered for England's only World Cup and first major international title, Geoff Hurst's hat-trick – the first scored in a FIFA World Cup final – and the dubious third goal awarded to England by referee Gottfried Dienst and linesman Tofiq Bahramov. The England team became known as the "wingless wonders", on account of their then-unconventional narrow attacking formation, described at the time as a 4–4–2.[2]

In addition to an attendance of 96,924 at the stadium, the British television audience peaked at 32.3 million viewers, making it the United Kingdom's most-watched television event ever.[3][4]

Road to the final

Both teams were strong throughout the tournament. Each won two and drew one of their three matches in the group stages. England did not concede a goal until their semi-final against Portugal.

 England Round  West Germany
Opponent Result Group stage Opponent Result
 Uruguay 0–0 Match 1   Switzerland 5–0
 Mexico 2–0 Match 2  Argentina 0–0
 France 2–0 Match 3  Spain 2–1
Group 1 winner
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 England 3 2 1 0 4 0 +4 5
 Uruguay 3 1 2 0 2 1 +1 4
 Mexico 3 0 2 1 1 3 −2 2
 France 3 0 1 2 2 5 −3 1
Final group standings Group 2 winner
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 West Germany 3 2 1 0 7 1 +6 5
 Argentina 3 2 1 0 4 1 +3 5
 Spain 3 1 0 2 4 5 -1 2
  Switzerland 3 0 0 3 1 9 −8 0
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 Argentina 1–0 Quarter-finals  Uruguay 4–0
 Portugal 2–1 Semi-finals  Soviet Union 2–1



Normal time

Both teams entering the pitch in front of 96,924 fans

England, managed by Alf Ramsey and captained by Bobby Moore, won the toss and elected to kick off. After 12 minutes, Sigfried Held sent a cross into the English penalty area which Ray Wilson misheaded to Helmut Haller, who got his shot on target. Jack Charlton and goalkeeper Gordon Banks failed to deal with the shot which went in, making it 1–0 to West Germany.

The original Wembley Stadium with its famous twin towers

In the 18th minute, Wolfgang Overath conceded a free kick, which Moore took immediately, floating a cross into the West German area, where Geoff Hurst rose unchallenged; his downward glancing header went into the net and levelled the scores at 1-1. The teams were level at half-time, and after 77 minutes England won a corner. Alan Ball delivered the ball to Geoff Hurst whose deflected shot from the edge of the area found Martin Peters. He produced the final shot, beating the West German keeper from eight yards to make the score 2–1 to England.[5]

Germany pressed for an equaliser in the closing moments, and in the 89th minute Jack Charlton conceded a free kick for climbing on Uwe Seeler as they both went up for a header.[5] The kick was taken by Lothar Emmerich, who struck it into George Cohen in the wall; the rebound fell to Held, who shot across the face of goal and into the body of Karl-Heinz Schnellinger. The ball deflected across the England six-yard box, wrong-footing the England defence and allowing Wolfgang Weber to level the score at 2–2 and force the match into extra time. Banks protested that the ball had struck Schnellinger on the arm, and reiterated the claim in his 2002 autobiography,[6] but replays showed that it actually struck Schnellinger on the back.[7]

Extra time

Geoff Hurst's "Wembley Goal"

England pressed forward and created several chances. In particular, with five minutes gone, Bobby Charlton struck the post and sent another shot just wide. With 11 minutes of extra time gone, Alan Ball put in a cross and Geoff Hurst swivelled and shot from close range. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and was cleared. The referee Gottfried Dienst was uncertain if it had been a goal and consulted his linesman, Tofiq Bahramov from Azerbaijan in the USSR, who indicated that it was, and the Swiss referee awarded the goal to the home team. The crowd and the audience of 400 million television viewers were left arguing whether the goal should have been given or not. The crossbar is now on display in the Wembley Stadium.[8] England's third goal has remained controversial ever since the match. According to the Laws of the Game the definition of a goal is when "the whole of the ball passes over the goal line".[9] English supporters cited the good position of the linesman and the statement of Roger Hunt, the nearest England player to the ball, who claimed it was a goal and that was why he wheeled away in celebration rather than attempting to tap the rebounding ball in. Modern studies using film analysis and computer simulation have shown that the whole ball never crossed the line – only 50% did. Both Duncan Gillies of the Visual Information Processing Group at Imperial College London and Ian Reid and Andrew Zisserman of the Department of Engineering Science at University of Oxford have stated that the ball would have needed to travel a further 18±4 cm to fully cross the line.[10] Some Germans cited possible bias of the Soviet linesman,[11] especially as the USSR had just been defeated in the semi-finals by West Germany.[12]

One minute before the end of play, the West Germans sent their defenders forward in a desperate attempt to score a last-minute equaliser. Winning the ball, Bobby Moore picked out the unmarked Geoff Hurst with a long pass, which Hurst carried forward while some spectators began streaming onto the field and Hurst, as he later revealed, tried to shoot the ball as far into the Wembley stands as he could, to waste time. The ball instead went straight to the top corner of Hans Tilkowski's net, sealing a historic hat-trick and winning the World Cup for England.[13] The goal gave rise to one of the most famous calls in English football history, when BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme described the situation as follows:

"And here comes Hurst. He's got... some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over. It is now! It's four!"[14]

One of the balls from the final is on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.


England 4–2 (a.e.t.) West Germany
  • Hurst 18', 101', 120'
  • Peters 78'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 96,924
Referee: Gottfried Dienst (Switzerland)
West Germany
GK 1 Gordon Banks
RB 2 George Cohen
CB 5 Jack Charlton
CB 6 Bobby Moore (c)
LB 3 Ray Wilson
DM 4 Nobby Stiles
RM 7 Alan Ball
AM 9 Bobby Charlton
LM 16 Martin Peters Yellow card 20'
CF 10 Geoff Hurst
CF 21 Roger Hunt
Alf Ramsey
GK 1 Hans Tilkowski
RB 2 Horst-Dieter Höttges
CB 5 Willi Schulz
CB 6 Wolfgang Weber
LB 3 Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
CM 4 Franz Beckenbauer
CM 12 Wolfgang Overath
RF 8 Helmut Haller
CF 9 Uwe Seeler (c)
CF 10 Sigfried Held
LF 11 Lothar Emmerich
Helmut Schön


Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary
  • Replay if scores still level:
    • 19:30 BST, Tuesday, 2 August 1966
    • Wembley Stadium, London
  • No substitutions permitted


Champions photograph and statue

The World Cup Sculpture featuring Moore with the World Cup trophy, on the shoulders of Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson, together with Martin Peters

One of the enduring images of the celebrations in Wembley immediately after the game was the picture of the captain Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet Trophy aloft, on the shoulders of Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson, together with Martin Peters. In recognition of Moore and other West Ham United players' contribution to the win, the club and Newham Borough Council jointly commissioned a statue of this scene. On 28 April 2003 Prince Andrew as president of The Football Association, duly unveiled the World Cup Sculpture (also called The Champions) in a prominent place near West Ham's ground, at the time, the Boleyn Ground, at the junction of Barking Road and Green Street. The 13-foot (4 m)-high bronze piece was sculpted by Philip Jackson and weighed 4 tonnes.[15][16]

Cultural impact

Broadcasting and viewership

Replica of the England shirt worn for the final. In a 2019 poll it was voted England's greatest ever shirt.[17]
The Slazenger ball used in the final, National Football Museum, Manchester

The final is the most watched event ever on British television, as of July 2021, attracting 32.30 million viewers.[3]


In Germany, a goal resulting from a shot bouncing off the crossbar and hitting the line is called a Wembley-Tor (Wembley Goal) due to the controversial nature of Hurst's second goal.[18] This goal has been parodied many times. Some of the most notable include:

In August 1966 a special 4d stamp marked ENGLAND WINNERS was issued by the Royal Mail to celebrate the victory. It soared in value to up to 15 shillings each on the back of public enthusiasm for the victory before falling back in value when the public realised it was not rare.[21][22]

The World Cup win features in the song "Three Lions" (known by its chorus "Football's Coming Home"), the unofficial anthem of the England football team.[23] England's win in the final also helped fans to create the "Two World Wars and One World Cup" chant.[12]

2009 receipt of winners medals

The players and staff of England's winning squad who did not get medals in 1966 received them on 10 June 2009 after a ceremony at 10 Downing Street in London. Initially, only the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the match received medals, but FIFA later awarded medals to every non-playing squad and staff member from every World Cup-winning country from 1930 to 1974.[24]

See also


  1. ^ "Hurst the hero for England in the home of football". FIFA. Retrieved 11 November 2014
  2. ^ "Alf Ramsey – England's Anonymous Hero". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Tracking 30 years of TV's most watched programmes". BBC. Retrieved 16 July 2021
  4. ^ "A riot of colour, emotion and memories: the World Cup stands alone in the field of sport". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b Smyth, Rob; Murray, Scott (30 May 2014). "World Cup final 1966: England v West Germany – live!". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media.
  6. ^ Banks, Gordon (2002). Banksy. Penguin Books. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7181-4582-8.
  7. ^ Glanville, Brian (2010) [1973]. The Story of the World Cup. London: Faber and Faber. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-571-23605-3.
  8. ^ "Team Spirit Gains England the cup". Glasgow Herald (Page 4). 1 August 1966. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Law 10 – The Method of Scoring". FIFA. Archived from the original on 23 May 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  10. ^ Reid, Ian; Zisserman, Andrew (1996). Cipolla, R.; Buxton, B. (eds.). "Goal-directed Video Metrology" (PDF). Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Computer Vision. New York City: Springer. II: 647–658. LNCS 1065. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  11. ^ Ken Jones (4 December 1997). "Football: It is possible to forget that England's overall World Cup record is nothing much to shout about". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  12. ^ a b Lister, Graham (26 June 2010). "Two World Wars, One World Cup And The 'Achtung!' Chaos – The Complex And Violent History of England Vs Germany". Goal.com. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  13. ^ "1966: England – Federal Republic of Germany". Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Class of '66 pay tribute to voice of football". The Daily Telegraph. 26 March 2002. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  15. ^ "World Cup tribute unveiled". BBC News. 28 April 2003. Archived from the original on 3 February 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  16. ^ "Champions Sculpture". newham.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  17. ^ "England 1966 World Cup kit voted the greatest of all time by fans". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  18. ^ a b Williams, Tom (2018). Do You Speak Football?: A Glossary of Football Words and Phrases from Around the World. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 114.
  19. ^ "World Cup 2014: GLT, vanishing spray, Caxirola & Brazucas". BBC. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  20. ^ Anthology 3 – The Beatles Archived 29 October 2002 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue. 23rd edition. Stanley Gibbons, London & Ringwood, 2008, p.60. ISBN 0-85259-677-4
  22. ^ "1966 England Winners". BFDC.co.uk. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  23. ^ "'It's coming home': England are winning the meme World Cup". The Guardian. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  24. ^ "World Cup 1966 winners honoured". BBC News. 10 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.