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World Cup 1966 final preview: Hurst or Greaves for England glory against West Germany?

| 30.07.2016

a class=”author” href=”https://sports.coral.co.uk/news/author/holly-thackeray”>Holly Thackeray | July 29, 2016

England v West Germany

  • World Cup 1966 final
  • Saturday, July 30th
  • Kick-off: 15:00 BST
  • Wembley, London
  • Live on BBC

Greaves or Hurst goal headache for Ramsey

We made it! Hosts England are history boys as they prepare for their first ever World Cup final since the tournament’s inception in 1930, and street parties down the country are prepped for celebration, immersed in football fever.


So, scarf down your Cheese Doodles and Ring Dings, get the telly warmed up for the big game and get your brass out with Coral on Booby Moore to lead our boys to glory…

There is much pressure on the brave lions (odds-on at 4/7 to win in normal time with Coral and lift the Jules Rimet Trophy, shortened from 5/1 before a ball was kicked) to deliver for an expectant English nation, and manager Alf Ramsey faces a huge hitman dilemma – which striker should he select against ruthless West Germany?

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Semi Final - Portugal v England - Wembley Stadium

The issue up top appears to be who will partner reliable Roger Hunt – proven and prolific goal-getter Jimmy Greaves, only just back from injury, or in-form frontman Geoff Hurst?

History books could well come back to haunt Ramsey and his legacy if, as expected, his stubborn resistance to change a winning team and reinstate goal hungry Greaves sees Hurst in the starting line up for the Saturday showpiece.

Wembley and the world will be watching Ramsey’s selections from the sidelines and there are arguments to be made for both marksmen to feature.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup England 1966 - Group One - England v France - Wembley Stadium

There a few more reliable scorers than Greaves, though he has yet to net in this competition and reports suggest Ramsey will keep the faith with the team that saw off semi-final foes Portugal.

That means Hurst helping lead the line and, though the West Ham United man has notched two in his last three for England’s lion hearts, the striker only made his international debut in this calendar year – against the West Germans no less.

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Semi Final - Portugal v England

Still, after his assist set up brilliant Bobby Charlton against the Portuguese, Hurst may be worth backing with a few bob down the bookies with Coral. If you fancy a bit more of a gamble why not go for a Hurst hat-trick on the night, but remember nobody has ever achieved that in a World Cup final before.

Germany have second World Cup in sights

Plenty of patriotic punters are backing England for a maiden major international title on home turf at Wembley, but fans must remember West Germany (11/8 to clinch their second World Cup in normal time) have experience of winning before back in 1954 when they downed Hungary’s Magical Magyars.

The two teams contesting this trophy had an identical record in the group stage with two triumphs and one draw apiece, though the Germans were able to do what England couldn’t and sink first ever hosts Uruguay.

Soccer - 1966 World Cup - Semi Final - West Germany v USSR

Helmut Schon’s side have been hitting the back of the net for fun and by golly do they have a potent strikeforce in skipper and Hamburg hitman Uwe Seeler and Bologna playmaker Helmut Haller, though the latter is trailing ousted Portugal poacher Eusabio in the race for the Golden Boot.

Schon is widely tipped to field four pushed up forwards with silky Franz Beckenbauer holding down the fort in midfield, though the elegant Emperor is a goal threat of his own and stands on three tournament strikes – not bad.

After thrashing Switzerland and Uruguay by four and five goals respectively, England must be on alert to the West German threat all over the park.

England to be history boys?

What gives England the edge, however, is number one Gordon Banks, who Ramsey owes for denying predator Eusabio at crucial times in the semi-finals.

Banks is to thank for England keeping clean sheets all the way through the competition until that final four fray with the Portuguese, and the crafty keeper will aim to avoid conceding again on the biggest stage of his career thus far. Will England ever have another in goal like him?

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Semi Final - Portugal v England

An extra-time win for the expectant English could be worth a punt, with very little between these two rivals. Though, if you are sick of the ongoing debate over which striker should lead the line, look instead to place a few bob on Bobby Charlton, easily the standout midfielder of the World Cup so far.

The instrumental Manchester United attacker looks a legend in the making and may well bag another brace, with Ramsey tipped to stick with the narrow 4-1-3-2 which has served him well so far. Meanwhile, courageous captain Moore’s leadership is expected to be vital.


Then of course there is always midfield enforcer Nobby Stiles, who has scored his only international goal thus far against West Germany back in a February friendly.

England won that exhibition encounter 1-0, with both the last two meetings finishing by that narrow scoreline. Ramsey’s Lions have never lost to the West Germans (or Germany as previously known) and since their first draw in 1930 have gone on to win six successive friendlies – so there is certainly room for English optimism! Who knows what the future holds from here…

See the 1966 odds up close:



See our football page for more dabbles on the World Cup finalists!



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.