The year 1966 is burnt into the collective England psyche as the year England hosted the World Cup finals and became world champions. The eighth World Cup was the last to be broadcast in black & white and held the record for 28 years of having the highest average attendance until it was surpassed in 1994.
The format was a 16 team 4 group round-robin and knockout stage format and was generally low-scoring which reflected the more tactical approach of the times. England became the first World Cup winning team to not win their first game. Brazil finished a surprise 3rd in the group stage behind Portugal and Hungary and were eliminated.
The tournament was staged across England with Wembley Stadium, White City Stadium, Villa Park, Hillsborough, Old Trafford, Goodison Park, Roker Park and Ayresome Park providing the venues.
The final was of course held at the old Wembley where 98,000 spectators watched England beat West Germany 4-2 after a thrilling extra-time period ending with the immortal commentary and Hurst’s 3rd goal on 120 minutes. “Some people are on the pitch…They think it’s all over…It is now!”
Eusebio finished the tournament as top-scorer with 9 goals for Portugal who were beaten by England 2-1 in the Semi-Finals and won the play-off to finish 3rd overall. England won the tournament with a record low average goals conceded that was not surpassed until 1994. Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick remains the only one ever scored in a World Cup final. England were presented with the Jules Rimet trophy by Elizabeth II on 30 July 1966.