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Nation remembers World Cup glory on 50th anniversary

 
 Football News 24/  
 
Not many English fans would have thought 50 years after lifting the World Cup at Wembley Sir Geoff Hurst's hat-trick and a goal from Sir Bobby Charlton would be the only final goals we would have scored 50 years later!

What is more remarkable about that famous win though was the fact that Germany were favourites to win the game after England struggled to beat Argentina in the quarter-finals and then beat a below strength Portugese side in the semis.

On top of that, England's main star Jimmy Greaves, who had picked up a knock against France in the group stages was left out of the final side by Sir Alf Ramsey. Many pundits at the time thought it a huge gamble as Greaves was replaced by the relatively inexperienced Geoff Hurst. But Ramsey said much later that he made the decision based on form leading up to the final and that Hurst's link-up play with West Ham team mate Martin Peters and Liverpool's Roger Hunt was far more likely to cause the Germans problems - and so it proved.

Whilst England need extra-time goals to finally lift the title the selection made by Ramsey was vindicated.

Of the winning team, all bar two - Alan Ball - the youngest player in the squad and captain Bobby Moore are still alive. Sir Alf Ramsey died in 1999 aged 79. Alan Ball died of a heart attack aged just 61 in 2007. Bobby Moore died of cancer in 1993 and his family and former players set up a highly successful cancer charity in his memory.

Most of the team went out of football on retiring from the game although Ball had decent managerial success after a glittering career with Everton and Arsenal. Sir Bobby Charlton, who is still a Director at Manchester United managed briefly in the 1970s as did Nobby Stiles. Stiles getting Preston promoted.

Jack Charlton turned out to be the best manager from that team though having domestic success with the likes of Middle­sbrough, Sheffield Weds and Newcastle United before having a highly successful time as manager of the Republic of Ireland side from 1986 until 1996 a month short of ten years.

One thing for sure is that both they and the fans would have expected England to have repeated the feat at least once in the intervening 50 years.

JB

 

 

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