England's moment of glory

England's moment of glory

England, despite being the birthplace of the game, had failed to make a big impact on the world stage despite having fine facilities, great infrastructure and abundant finances.

After making their debut at the FIFA World Cup in 1950, England delivered lacklustre performances in the editions that followed but their time of reckoning arrived in 1966.

Chosen to host the seventh World Cup, master tactician Alf Ramsey had constructed a fine squad that boasted the likes of Bobby Charlton, his brother Jack, Jimmy Greaves, Geoff Hurst, goalkeeper Gordon Banks and skipper Bobby Moore.

One team that always carried the favourites-tag was Brazil, with Pele and Garrincha still dishing out stellar shows in an otherwise ageing team. But the biggest shock came when Selecao were sent packing in the group stages. Pele suffered an injury after he was subjected to some rough tackles, hitting Brazil hard.

You would think that England held the edge at this point but there were a couple of forwards making quite a name for themselves. Golden boot winner that year, Eusebio was taking Portugal to dizzying heights as was Hungary's newest hitman Florian Albert.

West Germany kept putting out consistent performances as a certain young Franz Beckenbauer was making the world sit up and take notice.

'Black Panther' Lev Yashin was having another superb campaign but Russia fell short and settled for fourth.

But it was probably the two most balanced sides that engaged in the final battle at Wembley -- England and West Germany.

An intense midfield battle between two greats -- Charlton and Beckenbauer -- ensued in midfield but it was Hurst who stole that show with the first hat-trick in a World Cup final as England prevailed 4-2 after extra time. Even to date, the talking point remains Hurst's third goal which hit the underside of the bar and was contentiously given by the referee though many still believe it didn't actually cross the line.