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Geoff Hurst - England 1966 Goals, and more

Loved by every English football fan, Geoff Hurst, with his World Cup hat-trick in 1966, has almost god-like status in England. Others are less keen and see Hurst and a notable controversy as the main reasons for continual and tedious references to 'years of hurt'.

Geoff Hurst - the beginning
Geoff Hurst's footballing career began in earnest when he was scouted for West Ham in 1959. Prior to then he had been playing for Chipstead in the Tandridge Sunday Football League. Hurst's time with West Ham lasted 13 years before moving to play for Stoke in 1972.

Hurst's original position was in the midfield. However, Ron Greenwood that that he was best played as a centre forward. In this position he helped West Ham to victory in the FA Cup of 1964, scoring against Preston North End. The following year he was then part of a West Ham European Cup Winners victory over 1860 Munich.

Geoff Hurst, England 1966
Geoff Hurst was picked by Alf Ramsey to be part of the 22-man England squad for World Cup 1966. However, because Jimmy Greaves was the centre forward of choice, Hurst was not expected to take any part in the competition. As expected, Greaves lined up with the team for the three group matches. Unfortunately, in the final group match Greaves suffered a severe cut to his leg, forcing Ramsey to bring Hurst onto the scene.

Hurst made the desired start to his World Cup efforts. Against a controversially depleted 10-man Argentina, Hurst scored the only goal, converting a Martin Peters cross, to put England into the semi-finals.

Despite appearing in the semi-final against Portugal, Hurst was far from ensured a place in the squad for the final. As the World Cup Final approached, Jimmy Greaves was declared fit. As soon as the media heard this there was an outcry to have the original centre forward reinstated in place of Hurst. Fortunatley, for England, Alf Ramsey held his nerve and kept Geoff Hurst in the team.

Geoff Hurst, World Cup Final Hat-trick Hero
It was the day that England fan were destined never to keep quiet about, FIFA World Cup Final 1966. Ramsey picked his team. And despite considerable pressure from the media for Jimmy Greaves to take the field, Hurst was kept in the centre forward position. And Hurst was about to vindicate his coach's decision.

The match was undisputably memorable. The Germans were quick to open the scoring in the first half. However, this only lasted 6 minutes when Hurst converted Moore's free kick, heading the ball past the German goalkeeper to make it 1-1. The second half started slowly, until Martin Peters put the home team ahead 2-1. This seemed to be how it would finish until Wolfgang Weber scored in the dying moments of full-time.

The 30 minutes of extra-time were to change Geoff Hurst's life. In the 98th minute Hurst scored again. Alan Ball kicked the ball to Hurst who, from the penalty box, struck the ball against the cross-bar from where it bounced onto the ground and into never-ending controversy. Did the ball go over the line? The Germans thought not. An unsure referee, Gottfried Dienst, asked the Russian linesman, Tofik Bakhramov, who said the goal was good. And the rest is history. A final goal by Hurst in the closing moments of the match sealed the vistory for England and made Geoff Hurst the first (and presently, only) player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

1966 controversial goal
Hurst's controversial second goal

McGlashan and the English
A Scottish viewpoint from Jack Docherty's McGlashan

© This is not 1966