TOP 10 WORLD CUP MEMORIES OF ALL TIME - NUMBER 10 - GOAL OR NO GOAL
It's less than a month away from the 2022 World Cup! Over the next few weeks we will share our Top 10 World Cup Memories of All Time. All are subjective, but most are commonly viewed as legendary moments.
Geoff Hurst, like Argentina's Mario Kempes, had the distinct honor of being able to score the game-winning goal of the final in extra time at home.
Hurst’s goal has reached legendary levels in England. It gave the Three Lions their first and, to date, only World Cup championship. However, the reason that this moment is not higher on the list is because it's much better known for the controversy that surrounds it than for the goal itself.
In the final, England met West Germany in the football’s mecca, Wembley. England were desperate to lift the trophy on home soil, and with World War II still fresh on everyone’s mind, a loss was unfathomable. West Germany took an early lead to the agony of the home crowd. The English fought back behind Hurst and Martin Peters to take the lead. With just seconds left Germany tied it and forced extra time. What happened then will remain with English fans forever.
In the first period of extra-time, Hurst received the ball and took a shot. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced in the goal mouth before German defender Wolfgang Weber headed it clear. The Swiss referee wasn't sure whether the ball had crossed the goal line so he consulted the linesman, who said it had. As a result, England took the lead 3-2.
On the final kick of the game, Hurst would seal the deal on a breakaway to give the English a 4-2 win. However, the controversy surrounding the game-winning goal will never die. For the English though, it was a glorious moment that will always be remembered and looked back on with delight.
Mention 1966 in England and you will awaken fond memories of England beating West Germany in a gripping 120-minute final to win the soccer World Cup. Mention it in Germany and you will be told that England profited from one of the greatest referee errors in soccer history.
The “Wembley Goal” has added a frisson to matches between the arch rivals ever since. In the intervening 50 years, World Cup and European Championship encounters have gone Germany’s way, several times in agonizing penalty shootouts that prompted former England striker Gary Lineker to redefine soccer: “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”
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