Saddlers get ready for the World Cup with a special Sporting Dinner...THE ENGLAND World Cup squad has been announced and the World Cup fever is building! Banks's Stadium will be playing host to a true World Cup Legend later this week when Sir Geoff Hurst is the celebrity speaker at our World Cup Curtain-Raiser Sporting Dinner on Thursday, May 15th.
The former England striker remains the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final following his treble against West Germany on that glorious day back in 1966.
He has a wealth of anecdotes from a colourful and distinguished career in the professional game that will both captivate and delight.
Hurst actually made his senior England debut against West Germany in 1966, but it came in a Friendly International at the start of the year.
His displays in subsequent games earned him a place in the World Cup squad, but it was the combination of Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt that started the tournament and played in the three group games.
However, Greaves suffered a leg injury that required stitches and Hurst was called up for the infamous quarter-final clash with Argentina in which his goal proved to be the winner against robust opposition.
The semi-final saw Hurst keep his place and provide an assist as Bobby Charlton’s two goals saw us overcome Portugal by two goals to one.
There were calls for a fit-again Jimmy Greaves to return to the starting line-up for the Final, but Alf Ramsey would not be swayed and the rest, as they say, is history.
The West Germans took the lead early on but it wasn’t long before Hurst headed home a Bobby Moore free-kick to level matters.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, Martin Peters made it 2-1 to England as Hurst had a hand in the goal, but there was still time for our opponents to equalise and take the game into extra-time.
During the opening period of extra-time, Hurst scored one of the most disputed goals in football history when his right-footed strike hit the crossbar and bounced down before being headed away. The England players immediately claimed the goal whilst the Germans were adamant that all of the ball had not crossed the line.
The referee had to consult his linesman and eventually the goal was given.
It was a key moment in the game and as the Germans pushed forward for an equaliser with time running out, Moore’s long ball forward was perfect for Hurst to run on to and smash into the net for his hat-trick to make it 4-2 and win the World Cup for England for the first and, so far, only time!
What a moment it was, something that will remain in English footballing history.
Hurst went on to be part of the England squad for the 1968 European Championships and the 1970 World Cup in Mexico before his International career came to an end in April 1972.
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TICKETS FOR THE WORLD CUP CURTAIN-RAISER SPORTING DINNER WITH GEOFF HURST ARE NOW ON SALE FROM THE BANKS’S STADIUM TICKET OFFICE OR BY CALLING 01922-651 414/416. THEY ARE £35 EACH, TO INCLUDE A FOUR-COURSE MEAL AND ENTERTAINMENT FROM COMEDIAN, GARY MARSHALL.