10 Great Goals from the 1966 World Cup

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England fans remember the 1966 World Cup fondly because their team won the tournament on home soil. But it was a great tournament for plenty of other reasons too: North Korea’s seemingly impossible run to the quarter-final, Eusebio making it rain goals, West Germany playing some incredible soccer, and plenty more besides.

Over at reddit/r/soccer, Omar_Til_Death (who is a big fan of either The Wire or Omar Gonzalez or both) has converted every goal from the 1966 World Cup into .gif format, and posted links to every single goal for you to relive. I highly recommend spending an afternoon doing so.

I did just that—for work, of course—and I now present to you my 10 favorite goals from the 1966 World Cup, in chronological order:

1. Gérard Hausser (France)

—France 1-1 Mexico, Wembley, Group 1
The low, right-footed strike from outside the box is special enough, but it’s Hausser’s razor-sharp cut with his left foot, sending three Mexican defenders in the wrong direction, that makes this one of my favorites.

2. Bobby Charlton (England)

—England 2-0 Mexico, Wembley, Group 1
Charlton was (and is) famous for being able to shoot powerfully and accurately with either foot, which explains why his little feint to the left is enough to scare the Mexican defenders into shifting that way, opening up space for Charlton to release his long-range missile, which looks laser-guided even though the military didn’t start using that technology until 1967.

3. Sigfried Held (West Germany)

—West Germany 5-0 Switzerland, Hillsborough, Group 2
Held’s twisty-turny dribble to get to the byline was worth a goal, so I like to believe that West Germany’s #9, Uwe Seeler, deliberately scuffed his shot against the post so Held could get his name on the scoresheet.

4. Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)

—West Germany 5-0 Switzerland, Hillsborough, Group 2
The 20-year-old Beckenbauer was still playing midfield in 1966, and this pacy burst straight through the middle of the Swiss defense illustrates how dangerous the young Kaiser was.

5. Luis Artime (Argentina)

—Argentina 2-1 Spain, Villa Park, Group 2
Ermindo Onega’s chipped pass is a delicate delight, but it’s Luis Artime’s first touch, which both kills the ball and takes it forward into shooting position, that makes this one worth rewatching, again and again and again.

6. Lothar Emmerich (West Germany)

—West Germany 2-1 Spain, Villa Park, Group 2
This goal is a miracle of geometry, because Emmerich should not be able to score from that angle. It’s just too tight. But not only is Emmerich’s shot so powerful that the keeper didn’t even see it, it’s also precise enough to find the absolute corner of the goal.

7. Garrincha (Brazil)

—Brazil 2-0 Bulgaria, Goodison Park, Group 3
The Internet is full of bendy free kicks, but bendy free kicks hit with the outside of the foot, at pace, are still a rare treasure. Soccer fans in Brazil maintain that their team would have been serious contenders for the 1966 World Cup had opposition teams not been allowed to target both Pele and Garrincha for injury in every game.

8. János Farkas (Hungary)

—Hungary 3-1 Brazil, Goodison Park, Group 3
Ferenc Bene’s cross was on point, but Farkas’ finish—a first-time volley on the run—is a reminder that great Hungarian soccer moments don’t begin and end with the 1950s exploits of Ferenc Puskás and co.

9. Eduard Malofeyev (Soviet Union)

—Soviet union 3-0 North Korea, Ayresome Park, Group 4
I love the looooong look that Josef Sabo takes, presumably waiting for Malofoyev to get in the right spot, before sending the ball forward. And I love the fluid chest-and-volley move from Malofeyev to finish. Put the two together and you get a goal I could watch all day.

10. Geoff Hurst (England)

—England 4-2 West Germany, Wembley, Final
This goal gets twice as good when you think about the context. England are 3-2 up in extra time of the World Cup Final, at Wembley. Hurst had scored the goal to make it 3-2, which was and is still controversial as it may not have actually crossed the line. It’s the 120th minute. If Hurst scores here then he makes England world champions and becomes the first man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, but Germany’s #12 Wolfgang Overath is definitely gaining on him. So he just hits it, hard as he can, near post.

Bonus: Eusebio (Portugal)

Portugal 3-1 Brazil, Goodison Park, Group 3
You probably noticed: No Eusebio goals. The Portuguese forward was the tournament’s top scorer with nine, but four of those were penalty kicks and the none of the other five were quite as rewatchable as the 10 goals above. One of Eusebio’s strengths was that he dominated the six-yard box with pace, power, technique and quick-thinking, and so most of his goals are from close range. The above goal came closest to cracking the top 10, and highlights what made Eusebio such an unstoppable force in 1966.

Enjoy those 1966 World Cup goals in .gif form? There are plenty more worth seeing in Omar_Til_Death’s reddit post, so I encourage you to go and take a look.

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