England 4-2 West Germany AET
30 July 1966
World Cup Final
Wembley Stadium, England
Scorers: Hurst (3), Peters (England); Haller, Weber (Germany)

1966 and all that was the scene of England’s greatest football achievement. West Germany had beaten the USSR 2-1 at the semi-final stage to take the UFWC title. England then saw off Portugal by the same scoreline to set up an epic encounter. For the final, 93,000 spectators crammed into Wembley Stadium, and an estimated 400 million people tuned in on TV. Then it was game on as England and West Germany contested both the World Cup and the Unofficial Football World Championships.

The Germans took the lead through Helmut Haller after just 16 minutes, but England quickly struck back with a header from Geoff Hurst. Martin Peters gave England the lead in the second half, but an 89th-minute Wolfgang Weber equaliser saw the match go into extra-time.

‘You’ve won it once, now win it again,’ England manager Alf Ramsey told his side. His players didn’t disappoint. Hurst’s controversial crossbar/goal-line strike is still disputed to this day, but his stunning 120th-minute hat-trick goal could not be denied. England won the World Cup and, some might say more importantly, the UFWC to become the undisputed official and unofficial football world champions.

BBC TV viewers were treated to Kenneth Wolstenholme’s legendary ‘Some people are on the pitch…’ commentary. Less famously, ITV viewers heard Hugh Johns describe the final few seconds of the game with: ‘Here’s Hurst. He might make it three. He has! He has! So that’s it!’

The so-called ‘Russian linesman’ famed for allowing Geoff Hurst’s second goal and upsetting an awful lot of Germans, was actually from Azerbaijan. Tofik Bakhramov was a legendary football figure in his home country, and a well-respected international referee. Born in 1926, Bakhramov turned to officiating after injury ruined his playing career. He once described matches as duels, ‘full of unforeseen turns and even real miracles.’ In 2004 a grateful Hurst unveiled a statue of Bakhramov, who died in 1993, next to Azerbaijan’s Tofik Bakhramov National Stadium.

Back in England, the victorious players were whisked off to a boozy reception at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. PM Harold Wilson was in attendance wearing a World Cup tie, but the guest of honour was Pickles, the two-year-old mongrel who had found the trophy under a hedge after it was stolen by mysterious thief ‘The Pole’.

Amid the post match celebrations, German goalscorer Haller made off with the match ball, but kindly returned it to hat-trick hero Hurst a full 30 years later – after The Mirror newspaper coughed up £80,000. And let it be noted that many Germans were gracious in defeat. The Bild am Sontag reported, ‘England are 1966 world champions. Bravo. The players from the Motherland have done it for the first time.’

Many years after the event a group of boffins at Oxford University used computers to prove that Hurst’s second goal had not, in fact, crossed the line. No one in England cared one jot. England were combined official and unofficial world champions.

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This is the latest in our series of classic UFWC/WC matches during the run-up to Brazil 2014. UFWC champions Uruguay will be online favourites to take the title to Brazil, although they have a couple of tricky title matches to negotiate first. If they remain unofficial champions, they’ll have the chance to unify the unofficial and official football titles, just like England in 1966.

For more classic matches from the UFWC archives check out the brand new edition of the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions, which is out now.

New UFWC book

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.