With what was the first Germany team of the Bundesliga era, things were returned to some semblance of normality as the Mannschaft reached their second World Cup final. The development of the professional league in Germany had started to produce a new breed of club, which in turn started to produce a new breed of player; one such club was FC Bayern München, and one such player was a young attack-minded defender by the name of Franz Beckenbauer – a man who would carry the flag of German football for the next decade.

Having struggled to beat Switzerland in the opening phase four years previously in Chile, there were no such problems against the same opposition this time around. After Siggi Held had put the Mannschaft a goal up with just over a quarter of an hour gone, the floodgates opened as they hammered in a further four – with the young Beckenbauer showing a keen eye for goal in netting twice. Having bolstered their goal average, a goalless draw against Argentina and a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Spain were good enough to take Schön’s side through the quarter-finals and a meeting with two-time champions Uruguay.

The quarter-final was a bruising encounter, with the eventual 4-0 scoreline somewhat deceptive. After Germany had taken the lead in the eleventh minute through Helmut Haller, the game was in the balance until a rather mad period in the first ten minutes of the second half which saw the Uruguayans reduced to nine men. After that, the game was effectively over as a contest as Germany made full use of the open space to score three further goals in the last twenty minutes, with that man Beckenbauer taking his tournament tally to three goals.

While the quarter-final result was somewhat flattering to the Germans, the opposite was the case in their semi-final against the Soviet Union. After Haller had opened the scoring just before half-time they took things easy, wrapping matters up in the 67th minute when Beckenbauer struck his fourth goal in his fifth game – not bad for a defender. The Soviets pulled the score back to 2-1 with what proved to be a consolation goal two minutes from the end – and Germany were into their second World Cup final to play the hosts England.

First Phase Group 2 v Switzerland, Hillsborough, Sheffield, 12.07.1966

5-0 (3-0)
Held 16., Haller 21., pen 77., Beckenbauer 40., 52. / –

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Höttges, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer – Haller, Brülls, Seeler (c), Overath, Held

Switzerland: Elsener – Grobety, Schneiter, Tacchella, Fuhrer – Bäni, Dürr – Schindelholz, Künzli, Hosp, Odermatt

Referee: Hugh Phillips (Scotland)
Assistants: John Adair (Northern Ireland), Bertil Lööw (Sweden)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 36,127

First Phase Group 2 v Argentina, Villa Park, Birmingham, 16.07.1966

0-0 (0-0)
– / –

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Höttges, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer – Haller, Brülls, Seeler (c), Overath, Held

Argentina: Roma – Ferreiro, Perfumo, Albrecht, Marzolini – Solari, Rattín, González – Onega, Artime, Más

Referee: Konstantin Zečević (Yugoslavia)
Assistants: Joaquim Fernandes Campos (Portugal), Bertil Lööw (Sweden)

Dismissals: – / Albrecht 65.

Attendance: 46,587

First Phase Group 2 v Spain, Villa Park, Birmingham, 20.07.1966

2-1 (1-1)
Emmerich 39., Seeler 84. / Fusté 23.

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Höttges, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer, Overath – Krämer, Seeler (c), Held, L. Emmerich

Spain: Iribar – Sanchís, Zoco, Gallego, Reija – Glaría, Fusté, Adelardo – Amancio, Marcelino, Lapetra

Referee: Armando Marques (Brazil)
Assistants: Claudio Vicuña Larrain (Chile), Choi Duk-Ryong (DPR Korea)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 41,187

GermanyGermany FR (Q)3210717.005
ArgentinaArgentina (Q)3210414.005

Other results: Argentina 2-1 Spain; Spain 2-1 Switzerland; Argentina 2-0 Switzerland.

* GA = Goal Average. It had taken a number of years for FIFA to finally settle on a way avoiding the need for play-off matches, and to this end the Goal Average was used as a tie-breaker. Introduced in 1958 and fully implemented in 1952, the GA was calculated by taking the number of goals scored and dividing it by the number of goals conceded to produce a coefficient: for example if Team A scored four goals and conceded one they would have a GA of 4.00 (4 divided by 1), and if Team B scored six goals and conceded two, they would have a GA of 3.00 (6 divided by 2).

The Goal Average method clearly favoured defensive teams – for example a team that had scored four goals and conceded one would end up having a better figure (4.00) than a more attacking team that might have scored ten goals and conceded three (3.33). The tie-break method was changed to Goal Difference (GD) for the 1970 tournament in Mexico.

Quarter-Final v Uruguay, Hillsborough, Sheffield, 23.07.1966

4-0 (1-0)
Haller 11., 83., Beckenbauer 70., Seeler 75. / –

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Höttges, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer, Overath – Haller, Seeler (c), Held, L. Emmerich

Uruguay: Mazurkiewicz – Troche – Luis Ubiñas, Gonçalves, Manicera, Caetano – Salva, Cortés – Pérez, Rocha, Silva

Referee: Jim Finney (England)
Assistants: Aly Hussein Kandil (Egypt), Hugh Phillips (Scotland)

Dismissals: – / Troche 49., Silva 54.

Attendance: 40,007

Semi-Final v USSR, Goodison Park, Liverpool, 25.07.1966

2-1 (1-0)
Haller 42., Beckenbauer 67. / Porkujan 88.

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Lutz, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer, Overath – Haller, Seeler (c), Held, L. Emmerich

USSR: Yashin – Ponomaryov, Shesternyov, Voronin, Danilov – Sabo, Khusainov – Chislenko, Banishevskiy, Malofeyev, Porkujan

Referee: Concetto Lo Bello (Italy)
Assistants: José María Codesal (Uruguay), Juan Gardeazabal (Spain)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 38,273

The final was a dramatic affair, with Haller’s early opening goal quickly cancelled out by West Ham United striker Geoff Hurst. When England took the lead twelve minutes from time through Hurst’s Hammers team-mate Martin Peters the game appeared to be over, but that famous German ability to take things right to the end led. From Lothar Emmerich’s free-kick, twenty-two year old 1. FC Köln defender Wolfgang Weber somehow poked the ball home with what was almost the last kick of the match to take things to extra time. It was Weber’s first goal for the Mannschaft, and he was to score only one more in an international career that spanned some ten years and fifty-three matches.

Nine minutes into the first period of extra time, what turned out to be one of the most talked-about moments in international football happened. Following a cross from winger Alan Ball, Hurst spun on a sixpence and smashed the ball against the inside of the crossbar – which is where the story takes different paths. It has never been proven for sure that the ball was over the line – as it has to be for a goal to be awarded – but after a brief consultation in sign language between Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst and Soviet linesman Tofik Bakhramov (from that point on known as simply “the Russian linesman”), the players were directed back to the centre circle.

As Germany pressed in search of an equaliser, England skipper Bobby Moore delivered a defence-splitting ball to Hurst, who buried his shot past the helpless Hans Tilkowski in the German goal – eliciting what the famous “they think it’s all over… It is now!” from commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme. 4-2 to England, and the first and so far only World Cup Final hattrick to Hurst.

Despite video analysis being used by both sides to either prove or disprove the legality of Hurst’s second goal – or “goal”, the fact remains that we will never know for certain if it actually crossed the line. If I were to be honest having seen all of the available evidence, I don’t think that it did. From that point on, any shot that came down off the inside of the crossbar was known in Germany as a Wembley-Tor, and in an interesting quirk of fate the very same thing happened during the second phase encounter between the two sides in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – though with Germany being the beneficiaries of what was in this case an obviously poor decision from the officials.

Out of the eleven German squad members that played in the final in 1966, only one man – ‘keeper Hans Tilkowski – was over thirty. Even then, Tilkowski had celebrated his thirtieth birthday only eighteen days before the final itself. This young squad were to form the nucleus of Helmut Schön’s great German team – one that would dominate the European and World game for much of the following decade.

Final v England, Wembley Stadium, London, 30.07.1966

2-4 aet (1-1, 2-2)
Haller 12., Weber 89. / Hurst 18., 101., 120., Peters 78.

Germany FR: Tilkowski – Höttges, W. Schulz, W. Weber, Schnellinger – Beckenbauer, Overath – Haller, Seeler (c), Held, L. Emmerich

England: Banks – Cohen, J. Charlton, Moore, Wilson – Stiles, B. Charlton, Peters – Ball, Hunt, Hurst

Referee: Gottfried Dienst (Switzerland)
Assistants: Tofik Bakhramov (Soviet Union), Dr. Karol Galba (Czechoslovakia)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 96,924

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