Posted: 1/7/2016


     ENGLAND had suffered a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their 1966 opener and only if they won their group would they play the quarter final at Wembley Stadium and remain in The Hendon Hall Hotel. They did the job and defeated France 2-0 and Mexico 2-0 and would face Argentina. Ramsey had tried three different left wingers-John Connelly, Terry Paine and Ian Callaghan in each of the group matches and then gave up and played without wingers. The South Americans had kicked their way out of their group with some violent action at Villa Park. They had beaten Switzerland and Spain and tied 0-0 with West Germany. They had a torrid pre tournament European tour in Paris, Copenhagen, Vienna and Italy, where they had changed hotels three times in one day.

     Their English headquarters was The Albany Hotel in Birmingham where all the players, support staff, press, supporters and 12 Argentinian club presidents were based. They trained at the Birmingham police HQ and trying to avoid Spanish spies had hired an old bus to drive 2 hours to Lilleshall, only 30 miles away, for an intra squad match. Unfortunately the support staff had forgotten to bring uniforms, !

    Their violent and cynical play continued at Wembley, and before the introduction of yellow and red cards there was confusion when captain Antonio Rattin refused to leave the pitch when ordered to do so by German referee Rudolf Kretlein in the 25th minute.. Not only hard unfair tackles, but spitting, squeezing, and general nastiness. Geoff Hurst scored the only goal with a header from West Ham United team mate Martin Peters. It was Hurst's first match in the tournament, replacing the injured Jimmy Greaves. At the final whistle both sets of players shook hands but when The Three Lions tried to exchange shirts Alf Ramsey intervened. There is a famous photo of the bare chested George Cohen being stopped by Ramsey from swapping with Oscae Mas.  However Bobby Charlton had already exchanged shirts with Silvio Marzolini..

   Looking at the report England had committed more fouls than their opponents. Nowadays all referees and assistant all speak English and there is always an interpreter available. There is actually  a company called Football Translators that is used world wide. Antonio Rattin is large.. 6' 4" ..and an experienced captain who was wearing an armband. He had played in a 3-1 loss to England 4 years earlier at the Bradon Stadium, Rancagua in Chile. He was sent off, not for a foul, but for arguing with Kreitlein and asking for an interpretor, but was refused. It took 11 minutes for him to leave the pitch with many reserve players, staff, FIFA officials and police on hand. Alf Ramsey used the word animals to describe the opposition and 'ANIMALS' was the large one word headlines in the following morning's NEWS OF THE WORLD. He apologised after being reprimanded by FIFA.

   Of the 25 referees chosen, 19 were European including 6 British, and only 4 Latin Americans with one each from Africa and Asia (Egypt and Israel) -maybe a European bias. The refereeing teams for the quarter finals were chosen at a meeting at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington by a delegtion of Europeans. The Argentinians were invited to show up for the 9.00pm meeting. However it started at 7.00pm. Rous, knighted for his organization of the 1948 London Olympics had been a leading world referee, chosen by FIFA to rewrite The Laws of the Game and elected FIFA President in 1961 succeeding another Englishman Arthur Drewery a year after England had been chosen as 1966 hosts. In fact 16 African countries had boycotted the tournament after being told that their champions would have to play-off against the Asians for one spot.

    Referee chief Ken Aston, a headmaster from Ilford. Essex had officiated one of the most violent matches in World Cup history at Estadio Nacional in Santiago four years earlier between Chile and Italy when he had to call the police onto the pitch to remove three Italians he had ejected. While driving home after the 1966 quarter final he noticed the yellow caution and red stop lights at intersections and later persuaded FIFA to introduce yellow and red cards.

    I once drove Ken in my car 20 years later and he retold the tale and his  way of preventing confusion on the pitch. All four quarter finals were played at 3.00pm on a Saturday with only England v Argentina shown live. At Wembley Stadium there was a large scoreboard at one end with two men in white coats putting up latest scores by hand. I noticed them put up Portugal 0 v North Korea 1 from Goodison Park. after 1 minute. This was sensational. A few minutes later there was a change and I expected to see 1-1. Instead the men put up the score Portugal 0  v North Korea 3 with goals in the 22nd and 24th minute. EVEN MORE SENSATIONAL. Eusebio had then taken charge and scored four with the final score 5-3.

   The semi-final saw England play Portugal again at Wembley after a late FIFA change. It was believed that it would have been in Liverpool with West Germany playing the Soviet Union at Wembley but due to interest it was switched as was allowed under the regulations. Bobby Charlton scored two brilliant goals in the 30th and 79th minute before a late Portuguese goal from Eusebio in the 82nd minute after Jack Charlton had handled in the area.