World Cup Wanderers: England 1966

Ahead of this summer's competition in Russia, gets in the mood by reviewing all former editions of the biggest tournament in football and the World Cup Wanderers who were in action!

With with just over two weeks to go until the start of the 2018 World Cup, our preview series continues as we look back to English football's finest hour in 1966!

Stage reached: 

Appearances: 0
Goals: 0
Stage reached: Winners

Having both been members of the England squad that reached the quarter-finals in Chile four years earlier, furture Wanderers striker Roger Hunt and future Whites manager Jimmy Armfield were both called up again by the Three Lions when they hosted the World Cup in 1966.

However, this time roles were reversed as boyhood Bolton fan Hunt, having grown up idolising Nat Lofthouse, was the ever-present with Armfield left an unused squad member throughout the tournament (his last international cap now already won) as Alf Ramey's side marched towards greatness.

Opening the tournament with an underwhelming 0-0 draw against Uruguay, the striker was instrumental throughout the group-stages to help England progress to the knockout stages.

Scoring the Three Lions' second goal in their 2-0 victory over Mexico, Hunt then added a brace from close-range against France to see England top their group and reach the quarter-finals.

Having been fielded alongside Jimmy Greaves during the group-stages as Hunt took his England tally to 15 goals from 16 games, an injury to his strike-partner saw him partnered by Geoff Hurst for the rest of the tournament. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hurst grabbed the only goal late on as the Three Lions beat Argentina, before both strikers turned provider against Portugal as a Bobby Charlton brace clinched a 2-1 victory over Portugal in the semi-finals to set up a final clash with West Germany.

Falling behind to Helmut Haller's early strike, Hurst equalised for England before Martin Peters fired the Three Lions ahead. However, Wolfgang Weber equalised with only moments left to force extra-time.

Hunt had the best view inside Wembley as Hurst controversially restored England's lead as he followed up the initial shot which hit the underside of the crossbar before stopping to celebrate the goal, with the "Did it cross the line?" debate continuing to rage on to this day.

There was no doubt about Hurst's hat-trick-clincher in stoppage time as he raced onto Bobby Moore's long pass forward before thundering home to secure a 4-2 victory, accompanied by Bolton fan Kenneth Wolstenholme's immortal commentary "People are on the pitch. They think it's all over, it is now!" as England were crowned World Champions,

And with 1966 remaining the Three Lions' solitary triumph on the international stage, Hunt's name along with the other ten players that started that day remains etched in English footballing folklore over 50 years later. 

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