Cup Special: At home, England win first and only title in the 8th edition

The 1966 World Cup was characterized by a contentious goal, a major decision, and the poor play of the Brazilian team, which was eliminated in the group stage.
2022-08-22 11:30:59

Sambafoot releases a look back at every World Cup in preparation for the 2022 tournament. This week, we discuss the eighth edition, which took place in 1966.

In 1966, the World Cup made its way back to Europe after eight years. When Brazil won its first world championship, the last tournament to be held on the Old Continent took place in 1958 in Sweden.

The ninth iteration of the world’s most prestigious football competition will be held in England. The decision to commemorate the Football League’s 100th anniversary was taken a few years previously, in 1960.

How was the 1966 World Cup?

The World Cup was held in 1966 from June 11 to June 30, inclusive. The 16 players competed in eight different stadiums located in seven different English cities: London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough.

Brazil were considered the overwhelming favourite to win the competition before it even started since the nation had previously won the title twice (in 1958 and 1962) and still had important players like Garrincha and Pelé in their squad.

However, the Brazilian team were becoming older and unable to duplicate their success from the two previous championships. This was great for the hosts since England won their first World Cup and had a wonderful tournament.

Brazil’s campaign

Brazil were unsuccessful at the 1966 World Cup, failing to move beyond the group stage (Portugal and Hungary advanced). One victory and two defeats marked the Canarinho team’s second and last attempt to advance at this level (the other time had been in the 1930 World Cup). Watch how the competitions went.

  • Brazil 2×0 Bulgaria;
  • Brazil 1×3 Hungary;
  • Brazil 1×3 Portugal.

England champions campaign

The English were those who preferred to see a direct rival removed very early. The hosts, who had never won the Cup, used the “home advantage” to their advantage in their quest for the crown. Check out the results of the England campaign.

  • England 0x0 Uruguay (group stage);
  • England 2×0 Mexico (group stage);
  • England 2×0 France (group stage);
  • England 1×0 Argentina (quarterfinals);
  • England 2×1 Portugal (semifinal);
  • England 4×2 Germany (final).

In front of 96,000 fans, the Cup final was held at Wembley Stadium on July 30. At the end of regulation, the score was 2-2, requiring overtime.

Hurst’s third goal in overtime continues to be controversial even now. Some fans think that after the ball hit the crossbar, it did not completely cross the goal line. But the reality is that when the score was 4-2, England were able to celebrate their first World Cup triumph.

Awards and Trivia 

The greatest players in the competition were German star Franz Beckenbauer and attacking midfielder Bobby Charlton of England. Eusébio, a forward for Portugal, has the most goals scored with nine.

The tournament selection

In addition to Banks, Cohen, and Bobby Moore from England, Marzolini from Argentina, Vicente and Mário Coluna from Portugal, Beckenbauer from Germany, Bobby Charlton and Hurst from England, Albert from Hungary, and Eusebio from Spain made comprised the “dream squad” of the 1966 World Cup (Portugal).


  • To promote the tournament, the lion Willie was the first mascot in the history of the Cups;
  • The game against Bulgaria, in the group stage, was the last game in which Pelé and Garrincha played together for the Brazilian team;
  • This was the first (and only) World Cup not played on Sundays – sports were banned on that day in the British Isles, for religious reasons, until 1973.