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World Cup final 1966: Key player battles between England and West Germany

| 30.07.2016

Holly Thackeray | July 28, 2016

The 1966 World Cup final will throw two titan teams together in hosts England (odds-on 4/7 to win in 90 mins with Coral) and past winners of the tournament West Germany (11/8), with both staking bold claims for the coveted Jules Rimet Trophy.

Some of the best to ever lace a pair of boots will be gracing the Wembley pitch, where history can be made – but which are the key battles where this showpiece will be won and lost?


Bobby Charlton v Franz Beckenbauer

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Quarter Final - West Germany v Uruguay - Hillsborough

Some say guileful engine room operator Beckenbauer will eventually take his ball-playing excellence and transition into a silky centre back when his career begins to wind down.

Easily the West Germans’ gem, Der Kaiser will have his hands full trying to spring assaults as well as batten the hatches with Manchester United attacking midfielder Charlton roaming centrally.

Alf Ramsey’s “Wingless Wonders” will be relying on Charlton to plot and scheme and burst into the box, though the graceful midfielder will have few tracking duties unlike Beckenbauer. With both in-form and seven goals struck between them so far, we reckon the Englishman could just edge the battle for central supremacy being in front of home fans.

Nobby Stiles v Wolfgang Overath

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

Crowd favourite Stiles will have to get stuck in and ramp up his usual tough tackling style to reign in left-footed pass-master Overath.

The Cologne cult hero is far from a prolific scorer but can pull the strings, which is where Stiles must come in and stifle the supply lines to leave Beckenbauer isolated from Helmut Schon’s four pushed up forwards.

Sublime last time out in the semi-finals with an exemplary man-marking job on Portugal poacher Eusebio, the Man Utd midfield anchorman now faces his biggest test. A real character, we bet the Red Devil would celebrate in Stiles…

Geoff Hurst v Hans Tilkowski

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

The dangerman debate rages on as to whether Ramsey should risk recent returnee from injury Greaves or hitman Hurst, but it appears as though the latter will get the nod to lead England’s line.

West Germany’s Tilkowski was named Germany Player of the Year in 1965 after superb stopper performances for club Borussia Dortmund. No less effective for his nation, the number one can perhaps take advantage of Greaves’ likely absence and Hurst’s relative inexperience.

Though the German defence must beware of the relative international unknown striking quantity after two goals and an assist in three World Cup outings.

Martin Peters v Horst-Dieter Hottages

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

West Ham United’s Peters may just be the underrated pick from England’s brave bunch. A real all-rounder and able to do an exemplary job in Ramsey’s narrow midfield, he has become crucial in the 4-1-3-2 tactical switch in the tournament so far.

A goal danger from midfield with elusive movement, Peters may only be about to grab his eighth senior international cap, but he plays like a seasoned veteran – giving full back Hottages the unenviable task of tracking him. The German defender may find it hard not to get pulled out of position.

Bobby Moore v Uwe Seeler

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Group Two - Argentina v West Germany - Villa Park

Last but not least in perhaps the biggest battle of them all – can heroic skipper Moore manage to keep West Germany goal threat and striker Seeler in his pocket?

Along with Gordon Banks, Moore was integral to England keeping consecutive clean sheets throughout the competition until the semi-final.

Helmut Haller has been most prolific for the finalists so far, but Seeler’s smooth movement and ability to occupy opposition centre halves has allowed his playmaking partner plenty of space. It will be up to Moore to limit the mischief he can make.


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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.