1966 was the glorious year when the cup actually came home. It was handed to the proud English captain by the Queen at Wembley. Let us take a trip down memory lane.

It remains the greatest achievement in England’s footballing history. The Three Lions’ sole major championship came back in 1966, when Alf Ramsey, Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore led their country to a first – and so far only – World Cup. The tournament on home soil was a landmark moment for the sport in Britain added further fuel to rivalries with Argentina and Germany that have lasted to this day. England’s squad for the World Cup was fairly young, with only four players aged 30 or over. The Three Lions’ defensive unit was built around Gordon Banks in goal and Captain Bobby Moore, who partnered the experienced Jack Charlton at centre-back. Ramsey received criticism for selecting Nobby Stiles as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder in an otherwise skilled team, but the Manchester United man would play an integral role in England’s run. He sat at the base of midfield in what would eventually become a 4-1-3-2. Bobby Charlton, who many consider to be the greatest England player of all time, was deployed centrally in the midfield three and slightly more advanced than the two players either side of him. Stiles and Bobby Charlton aside, Ramsey rotated his midfielders and forwards as he settled on a preferred system, with the likes of Ian Callaghan and Jimmy Greaves featuring in the lineup early in the World Cup. By the knockout stage, though, he had decided to do away with wingers and picked Martin Peters and Alan Ball as the two wider midfielders. Up front, Ramsey saw talent in the young Geoff Hurst and partnered him with Roger Hunt, despite his relative inexperience. Ramsey was an authoritative figure who was the first England boss to demand full control over which players were selected for the national team. He also had an appreciation for skilled, intelligent footballers and demonstrated a great deal of tactical acumen to get the best out of the players at his disposal in 1966. Ramsey is regarded as one the greatest British managers of all time and was the first person to be inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

The biggest performer in the tournament, however, was arguably the Portuguese player Eusébio. Portugal came third after losing against England in semi-final and defeating Soviet Union in the third-place match. Just as in the previous World Cup would some matches display a great deal of unsportsmanship. Uruguay against West Germany became a scandalous match in which a Uruguayan player disputed with the police after being sent off. Brazil that had won the latest two championships gave a bleak performance and was out already in the group phase with Pelé half injured. The fact that the opponent players could neutralize the skills of Pelé with unjust tackles was a shame (and for Pelé itself it was reason enough for retired from international football, until he changed his mind two years later). Italy did an even bigger fiasco than Brazil, which was definite after a humiliating loss against North Korea. This was their last match in the group and lead to a missed advancement. North Korea would be close to follow-up with another sensation when taking a lead with three goals to nothing against Portugal in the quarter-finals. Their Portuguese opponents would, however, restore the order in the world of football by five consecutive goals. England, Argentina, Portugal, North Korea, West Germany, Uruguay, Soviet Union and Hungary would make it through the group phase and on to the knockout stage. In the Quarter-finals England, Portugal, West Germany and Soviet Union won their matches. And in the Semi-finals, England & West Germany won. In the final England would beat West Germany in a dramatic and unforgettable match that needed extra time to separate the sides. Geoff Hurst did three of his teams four goals and became the first player scoring three times in a World Cup final. One of the most debated goals in World Cup history occurred after a shot by Geoff Hurst hit the crossbar and bounced down near the goal line. It was decided as over the goal line by the referee, but a debate would go on for decades afterwards if the ball was over the goal line or not. England 1966 was, by most accounts, a memorable tournament for various reasons.