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1966 World Cup Triumph

West Ham United win World Cup ...

by Roger Hillier

Fifty years ago at Wembley, England beat West Germany 4-2 to win the World Cup with West Ham United players making more than a significant contribution to the triumph.


On that July afternoon West Ham’s trio of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were instrumental in helping England achieve its greatest footballing success.


We take a look at the trio’s role in that glorious 1966 World Cup campaign. Not just the final but also in the group and knockout stages.


As for the final, all claret and blue supporters know the story of how England’s four final goals and the skippering of the team was hall-marked West Ham United.


This feature concludes with the results of Opta Index’s analysis applied retrospectively to the 1966 World Cup final. Twenty first century technology quantifying the valuable contribution made by West Ham’s World Cup holy trinity.    

The Three Sons - Olmpic Stadium

Tribute to Moore, Hurst and Peters at the Hammers' new Olympic Stadium

Group One Game 

URUGUAY (0 - 0)

Monday July 11, 1966  Att: 87,148

For the second group match against Mexico, manager Alf Ramsay made two team changes. In stepped Martin Peters for only his 4th cap as a midfield change at the expense of Alan Ball. Winger John Connolly was replaced by Terry Paine.  


The team changes paid off as England lived up to expectations by winning 2-0. The Mexicans were unable to create a single goal scoring chance as Bobby Moore was at his commanding best.

With Jimmy Greaves injured and unable to play, Alf Ramsay had no choice but to call up the only remaining centre forward in his squad. Geoff Hurst making his World Cup debut in only his 6th game for his country, headed the game’s only goal.


The goal was a well-rehearsed Chadwell Heath move as Martin Peters crossed to the near post for his club mate’s header.  For the first time in the tournament all of West Ham’s trio made England’s starting eleven.

World Cup Final Ticket signed

World Cup Final ticket signed by

hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst

World Cup Tournament Brochure

July 30, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of arguably the greatest match in West Ham United’s history.


And neither team was wearing claret & blue.

MOORE Bobby HURST Geoff World Cup Shield Moore Hurst Peters World Cup WHU 1966 World Cup Final programme

For the opening group game against Uruguay captain Bobby Moore was the sole Hammer in England’s starting eleven. Moore was winning his 42nd cap for his country but England came up against a powerfully knit, cleverly organised Uruguayan defensive wall as both sides played out a dull goalless draw and an uninspiring start to the tournament.

Group One Game 

MEXICO (2 - 0)

Saturday July 16, 1966   Att: 92,570

Group One Game 

FRANCE (2 - 0)

Wednesday July 20, 1966    Att: 98,270

world cup willie 1966 logo

For the third and final group game Peters retained his place in the side as England comfortably beat France 2-0. Jimmy Greaves who had played in all three group games, finished the French game with a deep gash on his left shin.



Saturday July 23, 1966    Att: 90,584


PORTUGAL (2 - 1)

Tuesday July 26, 1966    Att: 94,943

England’s semi-final turned out to be one of the tournament’s best games. With Jimmy Greaves side-lined, England’s team remained the same as had beaten Argentina. England won 2-1 with man of the match, Bobby Charlton, scoring both of England’s goals. Again Hurst more than justified his selection when his persistency helped create the second goal. Ten minutes from the final whistle Hurst held off a defender in the penalty area to lay the ball back to Bobby Charlton who hit the ball first time straight into the net. Minutes later Eusebio scored from the penalty spot to leave England hanging on for the last few minutes.


After their 2-1 win Alf Ramsay was quoted

Quote Quote

This was England’s greatest victory since I became manager. We have a very good side and they have done all that was asked of them. It should be an extremely good final, but I do not think West Germany will provide a greater challenge that Portugal did tonight.

(Source: Boys of 66 by John Rowlinson).

qf ticket sf ticket


WEST GERMANY (4 - 2) aet

Saturday July 30, 1966    Att: 96,924

The biggest pre-match talking point was would Geoff Hurst retain his team place or would Jimmy Greaves step back in. Alf Ramsay decided to stay with his winning formation.


Five months after making his full England international debut in a friendly against West Germany, Hurst was facing the same opposition in what turned out to be his and England’s most memorable game. A fabulous triumph for the three lions with all of the goals courtesy of West Ham players.

WHU win World Cup Articles Peacocks Massacred Euro Reflections

England 0 – 1 West Germany (Haller 12th minute)



Hurst's 18th minute equaliser was another product off the West Ham training ground. Bobby Moore, moving out from defence, was fouled by midfielder Wolfgang Overath around 40 yards from goal. The England captain placed the ball down, looked up once and struck the free-kick quickly.


This well rehearsed move for the Hammers duo, saw Hurst move early, leaving Horst-Dieter Hoettges five yards adrift, as the England striker headed past a static Hans Tilkowski in the West German goal.

First goal

England 2 – 1 West Germany (Peters 78th minute)



With 12 minutes left to play, Alan Ball took a corner on the right. The flighted ball was headed out by No.6 Wolfgang Webber to Hurst standing just outside the edge of the area; his slightly scuffed shot was deflected into the air by Hoettges. For a brief moment it seemed like Leeds United defender Jack Charlton might reach the ball first. Mercifully for England and West Ham supporters, it was Peters who arrived to volley the ball between Tilkowski and Schnellinger on the line.  

England 1 – 1 West Germany (Hurst 18th minute)



England 2 – 2 West Germany (Weber 89th minute)



Extra –Time

England 3 – 2 West Germany (Hurst 101st minute)


50 years on, and Hurst's second and England's third, is still steeped in controversy. "did it", or "didn't it" cross the line. For England and West Ham fans, the answer is a resounding, "yes it did".


Eleven minutes into extra-time Nobby Stiles started the move from just inside the England half, his pass found Alan Ball on the right-wing, the Blackpool man's near-post cross found Hurst standing in line with the penalty spot.


“The ball came slightly behind me, Hurst said later, But I turned and hit it with my right foot. It hit the underside of the bar and came down, but in that split second I was falling too and probably had the worse view of anyone in the stadium.”


Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst wasn’t certain either and decided to consult Tofik Bakhramov, the linesman from Azerbaijan. His viewpoint was thirty yards away and level with the six-yard box; his verdict was that the goal should stand.




England 4 – 2 West Germany (Hurst 120th minute)


In one of those moments in keeping with the career of Bobby Moore, the England captain nursed the ball out of defence on the left of his own penalty area. There were seconds left and the demand from his colleague Jack Charlton, echoed by every England supporter in the stadium, was to despatch the ball into the nearest stand, and over it if possible.  

Now It Really Is All Over

1966 Think It All Over

Antonio Rattin Argentine captain arguing with referee Herr Rudolp Kreitlein, after being ordered off the field as Bobby Moore looks on

Hurst 1st goal Peters goal

Martin Peters scores England's second goal

Hurst 2nd Computer goal

Geoff Hurst's effort crashes down off the underside of the bar

It's official - Geoff Hurst's crucial second goal for England against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final was correctly awarded.


That is the the conclusion reached by the Sky Sports Monday Night Football team after they used modern technology to try and answer definitively whether the goal, one of the most famous and controversial in football history, should have stood.

Hurst's second goal comes under the microscope

Hurst third goal

Instead Moore looked up and hit a perfect pass to Hurst in the inside left position. Setting off for goal, and chased by Overath, Hurst’s mind was made up: “Bally was to my right, but all I wanted to do was shoot with every ounce of my strength. I thought, even if I hit it into the car park, it’ll take a while to fetch the ball and the game will be over.”


As every English football fan knows, the ball flew past Tilkowski into the top corner. Hurst had his hat-trick, Wolstenholme had found the words to match and Dienst finally blew for time.


Source: Boys of 66 by John Rowlinson.

Geoff Hurst nets England's fourth for an historic hat-trick

Alf Ramsey

Bobby Moore hands the World Cup to manager Alf Ramsey

Conclusive statistical evidence of how England deserved to win 1966’s World Cup final and West Ham United’s comprehensive contribution to that triumph was published 35 years after the final. In 1966 kick-by-kick match analysis was non-existent by today’s standards, but in 2000 Opta Index, the then official statisticians for the Premiership, had recently upgraded their kick-by-kick analysis software and applied it retrospectively to the 1966 World Cup final.  


Opta Index’s latest match analysis software evaluated more than 350 different aspects of the 1966 player’s performances. This included points awarded for everything from a short pass to a long range pass as well taking into consideration the foot the kick was made with, and where it happened on the pitch.    

World Cup Grid claret

A summary of Opta Index’s results were published in the Thursday October 5, 2000 edition of the Evening Standard in a feature entitled "Now it really is all over".


Totalling up each team’s individual player’s points, England’s 14,415 points conclusively outpointed West Germany’s 12,186.  


From a West Ham United supporter’s perspective the output is startling. In terms of the individual player performance points, West Ham’s World Cup Trio dominated the final.


In the player performance tables of the England and West Germany players, the claret and blue trio recorded three of the top four points scores.


Geoff Hurst topped the poll with a massive 2,679 points, and not surprisingly was man of the match.  Captain Bobby Moore (2,261), Alan Ball (1,844) and Martin Peters (1,517) were second, third and fourth respectively.  


The top West German player was Helmut Weber with 1,476 points.  


Other key aspects of the analysis on Moore and Peters showed



21st century technology quantifies and proves the value of

West Ham United’s contribution to English football’s

most memorable occasion.

But as Hammers’ fans

Of Bobby Moore’s passes, a staggering 91% went to team-mates, the highest for any player on the day.



Two goal assists for Bobby Moore (he supplied the passes from which Hurst netted his first and third goals).



Martin Peters made more tackles than any other England player, though one fewer than by West German defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger.

we already knew this.

The Finals in England were the eighth staging of the World Cup. England was chosen as host nation over opposition from West Germany and Spain.

Jamie Carragher and Ed Chamberlin marked the 50th anniversary of England's triumph by analysing the historic match in a Monday Night Football special.


And the duo used statistical data from Opta, plus the Sky Pad touchscreen and virtual reality from EA Sports, to provide a unique insight into England's 4-2 success. Carragher used EA Sports technology to show that the whole of the ball had indeed crossed the line at the fateful moment when Hurst put England 3-2 up.

world cup willie world cup willie world cup willie

Enamel souvenir badges courtesy of Big Al's Badges

Geof Hurst 50th Anniversary

Geoff Hurst reunited with 1966 World Cup final ball

West German Helmut Haller, who put Germany ahead was famously pictured clutching the distinctive orange match ball on the steps to the Royal Box.


Tradition dictates the scorer of any hat-trick gets to keep the ball but it was 30 years after the final that it finally ended up in Hurst’s hands.


The ball was brought home by a team of reporters from the Daily Mirror in 1996 amid much fanfare and now resides at the National Football Museum in Manchester, where it is one of the most iconic pieces of football memorabilia.

Event held on July 30th 2016 to Celebrate the

50th Anniversary