The 1966 FIFA World Cup England was the eighth edition of the Football World Cup. It was held in England, between July 11 and 30, 1966. Sixteen teams participated in the final round, being divided into four groups of 4 teams where the first two of each group advanced to the quarterfinal round, starting of which direct elimination duels occurred.
The final was played at the Wembley Stadium between England and Federal Germany. After tying two goals during regulation time, an extension was made in which Geoff Hurst scored one of the most controversial goals in the history of this sport, which to this day remains in doubt whether he entered the goal or not. Finally, a fourth goal would give England its first and, so far, only World Cup, from the hands of Queen Elizabeth II.
The tournament’s top scorer was the Portuguese player Eusébio, with nine goals. On the other hand, for the first time in the history of the World Cup, a mascot, the lion Willie, was presented.
England, Federal Germany and Spain presented candidacies in 1960 to organize the eighth World Cup tournament, however the Iberian country lowered its presentation days before the election held on August 22, 1960 in the city of Rome, Italy. There, the country of origin of this sport defeated Germany by 34 votes to 27, mainly due to the active participation of the President of FIFA, the Englishman Stanley Rous, and as a way to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the English Federation of Football.
In the qualifying process, 71 selections participated. Ten spots were available to be distributed to the European areas, 4 places to South America, one to North America and a remaining quota according to the rules imposed by FIFA had to be played between the teams from Africa and Asia, which provoked the protest of the participants Africans who argued to be entitled to a quota of their own. Due to the refusal of FIFA to reconsider the measure, the 15 African teams withdrew as well as Syria and South Korea, in solidarity with the other teams.
On the other hand, the Congolese and Philippine teams did not participate due to errors in their registration. Guatemala did not participate because of territorial problems with Belize; South Africa was also excluded as a form of rejection of its apartheid policy. North Korea defeated Australia in search of the only quota for Asia and Oceania, which caused problems due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the organizing country and the North Korean republic and that almost causes the absence of the latter country due to the lack of authorization of visas.
Finally, the 14 teams classified plus England and Brazil, defending champion, were divided into four groups in a draw held at the “Royal Garden Hotel Kingston” in London. Its format consisted in distributing to the 16 selections in four blocks, from which a team for each group emerged. The four blocks were «South America», «Mediterranean Europe», «Rest of Europe» and finally the selections considered «modest» (Mexico, Bulgaria, North Korea and Switzerland).
During the month of March of 1966, the realization of the event was put in check after the robbery of the Jules Rimet Cup, which was exhibited to the public in a church in Westminster. The trophy remained lost for eight days, after which a dog named Pickless found it in the garden of a house. The thief was finally sentenced to two years in prison, while Pickless achieved great popularity being shown on the day of the opening of the event, which was broadcast on television for the first time to the entire world via satellite.