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England's finest hour in the World Cup

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MAGIC MOMENT: Queen Elizabeth II presenting the Jules Rimet Trophy to England skipper
MAGIC MOMENT: Queen Elizabeth II presenting the Jules Rimet Trophy to England skipper

The first round of the 1966 WC threw up a big surprise when Brazil was knocked out

The game returned to its roots 103 years after its creation when the World Cup came to England in 1966, at a time when the Beatles and the mini-skirt were at the height of their popularity.

There was panic among the organisers when the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen six months before the opening match.

A dog named Pickles came to the rescue, finding the treasured mug buried in a garden in the suburbs of London and getting Scotland Yard off the hook.

The first round threw up a big surprise when holder Brazil crashed out of the competition. The team was weakened by the absence of Pele who was once again a victim of harsh tackling.

Eusebio gave Portugal reason to talk about its football rather than its rough play, finding the net on nine occasions to walk off with the title of top scorer.

North Korea and its striker Pak Doo-ik stunned two-time champion Italy 1-0, ending its run at the first hurdle for the third consecutive World Cup.

A messy affair

The quarterfinal between England and Argentina was a messy affair. West German referee Rudolf Kreitlein sent off the visitor's captain Rattin just before the hour mark, but the moody South American initially refused to go before Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of the game to guarantee England a semifinal spot against Portugal.

In the semifinals, Franz Beckenbauer led West Germany past the Soviets (2-0) and England, thanks to Bobby Charlton's two goals, defeated Portugal. The final turned out to be a see-saw affair that went down to the wire and when Wolfgang Weber knocked home a late equaliser, extra-time was played for the first time since 1934.

Controversial goal

The moment of controversy came when Hurst neatly swivelled and smashed a shot that hit the underside of the bar, bounced down and then away from the German goal.

Had the ball crossed the line? Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst consulted his linesman who said yes, and despite German protests, England was in the lead. Hurst then became the first and only player to score a hat-trick during a World Cup final when he left the exhausted German defence behind and lashed a vicious left-foot drive past Tilkowski's groping right hand. The goal sparked off wild celebrations and captain Bobby Moore collected the Cup from Queen Elizabeth for England's first and only triumph so far.

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