52 years ago the lads from Britain won their first Major football trophy back when the world cup was called the Jules Rimmet Trophy and the event constituted only 16 Teams ,which to date remains their only trophy . England became the third home nation to win to win a worldcup it hosted and it also stands as the only time when England hosted the World cup.
The World cup of 1966 is remembered for many reasons including the First Mascot for a World cup tournament. It also had its fair share of controversies with the Boycotting of the African Teams, Some Bizarre on field decisions by the referrers and much more.
The Build Up
England won over West Germany and Spain in the bid to host the World cup. The Famous Lion with a Union Jack top was chosen as the Mascot for the World cup of 1966. This was the first instant were a mascot was chosen to represent the worldcup.
Figure 1Willie (Lion) 1966 and Zabviaka(Wolf) 2018
The African nations were aggrieved their second-round winners needing to enter a final round against the winners of the Asian and Oceania zone in order to qualify for the final tournament: they felt their zone should be represented in the tournament.
The UEFA had teams and CONMEBOL had 4 representing nations with Mexico from CONCAF there was only one spot left to be shared among the best teams from AFC (Asia), CAF(Africa), OFC(Oceania). This led to the disappointment of African nations who thought that they needed a direct spot in the final. They also condemned the admission of South Africa in the AFC zone and its participation in the Qualifiers.
Previously South Africa were ousted from CAF owing to it’s apartheid Policy in 1966 which later was also disqualified by FIFA.
Figure 2 FIFA Statement regrding one Qualification spot for AFC,CAF and OFC combined
The Stolen Trophy.
In a highly movie like manner the Famous Trophy of Nike,Greek Goddess of victory was stolen from National Stamp Exhibit in London. The FA was way out of the good books for losing the cup. “I’m damned angry!” spluttered Erik von Frenckell, honorary president of the Finnish FA. Abrain Tebet of the Brazilian Sports Confederation was even more strident. “Even Brazilian thieves love football and would never commit this sacrilege!
It would never have happened in Brazil.”(It was Brazil’s time to despise when the trophy was stolen again in 1980 this time in Brazil and it was never to be found putting an end to the famous,Nike Trophy).
In the meantime, the chairman of FA received a call stating that a deliver was on its way with instructions. No identification the caller. The delivery consisted a small part of the Trophy plus a note demanding £15,000 exchange for the rest of it.
Finally Edward Bletchley the man who had called was arrested and was charged with stealing the trophy which he denied claiming a man called ” The Pole” had paid him £500 to act as go-between. In a dramatic manner the remainder of the trophy was found wrapped in a newspaper only to be discovered by Pickels, a collie dog on his walk with his owner.
The Dog was celebrated as hero among the English with Awards and for the owners part Corbett received 6000 Euros from FA. The dog with its owner was present at the finals of the world cup of 1966 at Wembely.
Brazil had a shock exit In the group stages of the world cup of 1966. They Lost to Portugal and Hungary after starting with a victory against Bulgaria. There were many speculations how the World cup of 1966 was one sided in rooting out the Latin American sides.
With Brazil Pele was fouled and injured in the matches he played that hurt his Moral for the game.
“When I first came back to Brazil after the World Cup of 1966, my heart wasn’t in playing football,”
Pelé later said.
“The games had been a revelation to me in their unsportsmanlike conduct and weak refereeing. England won the games that year but in my opinion she did not have the best team in the field.”
On another occasion he said that about the World cup of 1966 :
“football stopped being an art, stopped drawing the crowds by its skills, instead it became an actual war”.
North Korea registered one of the Greatest upsets of the world cup of 1966 by defeating Italy in the group stages and eventually progressed to the knockout at the cost of Italy. North Korea faced Portugal in the next round.North Korea once again stunned the footballing fraternity going 3-0 up in the first 25 minutes but 4 goals from Eusebio shunned the Korean’s Hope. But coming into the tournament with 10,000-1 odds this was a quite a remarkanle achievement for North Korea in the world cup of 1966
The other quarterfinal between England and Germany was more of an international incident as described by Observer’s Hugh McIlvanney. Antonio Rattin,the Argentinian Captain was sent off in the first half and he refused to leave. England eventually won the match with a solitary goal. Post match the heat continued with the English coach preventing his player from swapping shirts with the opposition.
“George, you are not changing shirts with that animal.”
Were the words from an agitated Alf Ramsey.
The Argentinians exhibited their dissent in rather harsh fashion taking it out on the officials during the world cup of 1966. Argentina’s Roberto Ferrero attacked the referee and the forward Ermindo Onega spat in the face of the Fifa vice-president, Harry Cavan, both earning three-match international bans.
An Argentinian player urinated in the tunnel and a chair was thrown into the England dressing room. The Argentinian squad then attacked the England bus.
“The referee always seemed to see only the worst faults of the Argentina players. He could not see the faults of the England players.”
The game between Uruguay and West Germany saw a lot of Brutal moments during the World cup of 1966. Horacio Troche of Uruguay was sent off for kicking Lothar Emmerich in the stomach in the 49th minute – he slapped Uwe Seeler in the face on his way off – and Héctor Silva followed five minutes later for another foul. “Julio Cortés, Uruguay’s No7, kicked the referee on his way off the pitch at the end of the game, earning a six-match ban. West Germany won the match 4-0
England made it to the finals of the World cup of 1966 defeating Portugal and West Germany got the best of Soviet Union in the other Semi-Finals. Geoff Hurst hat-Trick in the added extra time meant England won the finals 4-2 clinching the Title.
England received crtiticsim from in large from the South American media stating the poor preparations and shambolic favoritism amongst referees.The Italian Media also condemned the English for making the World cup of 1966 a mess. Argentina FA expressed their concerns over leaving FIFA which actually didn’t happen.
“The World Cup in England has provided further proof, if proof were needed, that a very good way to damage international relations is to have a really big sporting competition” – Patrick Fairweather .