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EAST HAM, LONDON - 19TH FEBRUARY 2021: 1966 World Cup Sculpture of The Champions near West Ham United's old stadium in Upton Park
On this day:

England win the World Cup

Image: BradleyStearn /

It takes the crown as one of the most controversial World Cup Finals ever and with over 32 million British viewers tuning in, it is still ranked as the UK’s most watched television event in history. England’s 1966 World Cup win goes down in history for reasons that go beyond the simple fact they have yet to repeat the performance. Over 50 years since England’s (so far) only World Cup win, these are some legendary moments from the match.

Bobby Moore Lifting the Trophy

50 years on, that’s one Technicolor moment that won’t be forgotten. The shot of Bobby Moore hoisted onto his teammates shoulders and brandishing the cup has come to be symbolic of that monumental match and the historic result.

Kenneth Wolstenholme's Commentary

Any run down of the most memorable moments from that famous match would be entirely lacking without a mention of what must be football’s most well known commentaries. Delivered by Kenneth Wolstenholme a few seconds before the end of the match, the line “They think it’s all over! It is now!” has gone down in history. Not just an oft-quoted expression used by everyone in the English-speaking world, the line has been used to name albums and BBC sports quizzes alike, as well as making appearances in songs by everyone from New Order to The Beatles. Not bad.

The 1966 England team

Sir Geoff Hurst’s Controversial Goal

They were 11 minutes into overtime when Sir Geoff Hurst scored the goal that proved so controversial, it’s still being debated. The strike taken from within the penalty area, the ball hit the bar and dropped against the line marking, leaving a question of whether it had really gone in or not. Without it, the game would have finished 2-2 and England would have gone on to fight it out against West Germany the following week in a World Cup replay. As it was, Linesman Tofik Bakhramov ruled it a goal. Who cares if the replays have proved his decision wrong? His decision gave England the win—their first and the last time to date.

Hurst’s Hat Trick

Back to Hurst once again and a goal that has proved less controversial than the second of the match, but no less memorable. Scored in the final few remaining seconds, the final goal of the match, scored for England, completed Geoff Hurst’s hat trick—the first to ever be scored in a World Cup Final.