Fifty years after THAT goal at Wembley, West Germany captain Uwe Seeler still says England’s Geoff Hurst’s controversial shot never crossed the line in the 1966 World Cup final.
Hurst’s second goal in the 101st minute of extra time put England 3-2 ahead after the match had finished 2-2 over 90 minutes and is arguably the most controversial goal in international football history.
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England went on to claim a 4-2 win over West Germany with Hurst becoming the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
But whether or not the ball bounced behind the line from Hurst’s shot for England’s third goal has been debated for half a century with tomorrow marking the 50th anniversary of the 1966 final.
Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst awarded the goal after consulting with his linesman, Azerbaijan’s Tofiq Bahramov, of the then USSR.
Some modern studies, using film analysis and computer simulation, suggest the ball never crossed the line, something Seeler has insisted on for half a century.
“I was standing at the back of the box and saw exactly that the ball didn’t cross the line,” the 79 year old said.
Hurst’s shot beat West Germany goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski, the ball hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced on the line before being headed away by defender Wolfgang Weber.
But Dienst’s decision has always baffled the Germans and their captain, Seeler.
“We were all in a state of commotion, none of us knew what was going on,” Seeler said.
“No one [in the West Germany team] could understand why the goal was given.”
While the 1966 final remains England’s only World Cup triumph, the Germans’ victory at the 2014 Brazil finals was their fourth world title and Seeler said it is time to put the 1966 controversy to bed.
“I believe all the players have now well digested the events,” he said. “Even if it was a defining moment, sport is sometimes like that.
“You have to absorb it and put it away.”
Up until his death in 1998, Dienst conceded he had no idea whether the ball ever fully crossed the line and, in his autobiography 1966 And All That, Hurst said the Germans were probably right.
Seeler joked about the incident whenever he met members of England’s 1966 side.
“When Geoff or Bobby [Moore] or Jackie [Charlton] were here, we’d have a laugh together about it,” he said. “They knew alright that the ball wasn’t in. They saw it.”
Seeler said he is pleased goal-line technology in the modern game means there will be no such repeat of the events 50 years ago.
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