The specific nationality of the celebrated ‘Russian linesman’ (real name Tofik Bakhramov), who flagged for Geoff Hurst’s controversial second goal to stand against the West Germans in ’66. In his memoirs, he revealed that he thought the ball had actually bounced out of the net and not off the crossbar.
BOOT OF PAUL PARKER
Cursed implement that caused Andreas Brehme’s free-kick to deflect wildly over Shilton’s head in the nail-biting Italia ’90 semi-final with West Germany.
CONQUEROR OF EUSEBIO
Scared witless by Portugal’s ’66 attack ahead of their semi-final, Ramsey stuck Man United’s Nobby Stiles on main-man Eusebio. The toothless terrier turned in a man-of-the-match performance, pocketing the (then) seven-goal superstar like a plastic Biro. It didn’t help him with her indoors, though. According to his autobiography, After The Ball: “For God’s sake, put your bloody teeth in!” is what his missus yelled during the team’s West Germany Final celebrations.
It wasn’t Diego Maradona’s knee-knotting second goal in ’86 that brought a big grin to his chubby chops, it was his Falklands-avenging ‘Hand of God’ opener. Terry Butcher hooked his clearance in the wrong direction, and out popped the little Argentine’s arm to punch the ball past Peter Shilton. Everyone saw it except the Tunisian ref. “We knew a lot of Argentines died, shot down like little birds,” said Diego of the 1982 Falklands War in his autobiography El Diego. “This was revenge.”
Faith healer who Glenn Hoddle had controversially been using to guide his players before France ’98. “The biggest mistake I made was not getting her to join us from the start [of the finals],” confessed Hod in his My World Cup Story diaries. “A lot of players wanted to see her. There was both physical and mental healing to be done!”
As disastrously suffered by legendary safe hands Gordon ‘Banksy’ Banks prior to the crucial ’70 clash with West Germany, leaving Chelsea’s Peter Bonetti to guard England’s onion bag. The latter’s shakiness helped contribute to a 3-2 defeat and premature exit, despite England initially cruising to a 2-0 lead.
GAZZA GOES MENTAL
A ‘drunk’ Gazza went berserk in a La Manga hotel after being excluded from Hoddle’s ’98 squad. “He flew into a total rage and kicked a chair,” howled an exasperated Hod in his diary. “There was a lamp to my left, and he just punched it. The glass shattered all over the room.” The lesson: Never take Gazza into Robert Dyas.
’10 Heroic Lions One Stupid Boy,” ran The Mirror following David Beckham’s dismissal against Argentina in ’98, who also printed a dartboard with him as the bullseye. Tabloid hacks love it when we play Argentina, too…
Nobby Stiles’ ‘Oirish’ victory jig in ’66, Bobby Moore swapping shirts with Pele in ’70, Diego’s ‘Hand of God’ in ’86, Gazza’s blubbering red face in ’90, Ronaldo’s ‘Winkergate’ wink in ’06. And, of course, Captain Bobby raising the Jules Rimet trophy aloft Hurst and Cohen’s jubilant shoulders in ’66. VIC-TO-RY!
What captain Bobby Moore was bizarrely accused of stealing during a ’70 pre-World Cup stay in Colombia. After much fuss, court judges ruled the defensive legend was “set-up” in the theft of an emerald bracelet, worth £600, and should be given “unconditional freedom”.
KENS: WOLSTENHOLME AND ASTON
Wolstenholme was the commentator who muttered the goosepimply “they think it’s all over… it is now” and Aston is the English ref who lost control of the violent ‘Battle of Santiago’ between Italy and Chile in ’62, which saw Italy’s David punched unconscious. The perpetrator wasn’t even sent off!
LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI
Slug-’tached Brazilian tactician who masterminded the last two nations to knock England out of the WC: Brazil in Korea/Japan ’02 and Portugal in Germany ’06 (with Euro 2004 in between too). He couldn’t hack it at Chelsea in 2008-9, though.
A set of foot bones and seemingly the eternal 21st Century curse suffered exclusively by the most talented English football players. In 2002, David Beckham cracked his second metatarsal during a Champion’s League encounter and failed to be fully fit for the finals. Then it was déjà vu in ’06 as ‘boy wonder’ Wayne Rooney suffered a similar breakage (this time, the fourth metatarsal) prior to the World Cup.
Mancunian indie geniuses who spun out the greatest World Cup anthem ever with 1990’s World In Motion, recruiting Liverpool’s John Barnes for a mid-song rap. “Catch me if you can, ’Cos I’m an England man, And what you’re lookin’ at, Is the masterplan’.
A musical tour de force!
The speedy ‘wonderkid’ of 2002, whose sensational strike against Argentina was hailed by many as ‘goal of the tournament’. Eight years later in Germany ’06, an off-boil Owen would be gaining the dishonour of being the quickest English World Cup substitution ever, jarring his own knee after a pitiful four minutes play against Sweden.
PICKLES THE DOG
The four-year-old mongrel who found the stolen trophy next to a car in Norwood, South London in 1966. “Pickles drew my attention to a package lying by the front wheel,” recounted his owner, David Corbett, in The Observer. “I tore some paper [off] and saw a woman holding a dish over her head!” It was the Jules Rimet trophy. Weeks later, England won it.
The stage England love to reach before being sent packing back to Her Majesty. The Three Lions have managed it a frustrating six times: in 1954 (2-4 vs Uruguay), 1962 (1-3 vs Brazil), 1970 (2-3 vs West Germany), 1986 (1-2 vs Argentina), 2002 (1-2 vs Brazil) and 2006 (lost on pens vs Portugal).
England players’ win bonus in ’66 (along with £1,000 in cash, which thanks to a rubbish exchange rate and the Inland Revenue, equated to about £647!). “It wasn’t even a particularly nice coat,” George Cohen told The Sunday Mirror. “So we said to Alf Ramsey: Thanks very much, but we’ll do our own deals!”
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Widely used 21st Century football cliché that could easily be applied to just about every England World Cup campaign ever. Classic bowel-troublers include the play-off defeat vs Russia ’58 (Chelsea’s Peter Brabrook hits the post twice and had a ‘goal’ ruled out), West Germany’s 90th minute equaliser in ’66, Chris Waddle’s spot-kick horror in ’90, Sol Campbell’s disallowed ‘goal’ vs Argentina in ’98 and more spot-kick woe vs Portugal in ’06.
TWENTY SEVEN SECONDS
The time it took for Bryan Robson to score against the French in Spain 1982. It remained the fastest World Cup goal ever up until ’02, when Turkey’s Hakan Sukur belted one past Korea Republic after a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 11 seconds.
Angry Argentine players openly emptied their bladders against the Wembley tunnel, following their bone-crunching 1-0 defeat in ’66. Prior to this, captain Antonio Rattin was dismissed for ‘violence of the tongue’ (despite the German ref not being able to speak Spanish). The beautiful game
at its ugliest!
VIV ANDERSON MBE
The pacey Nottingham Forest right-back who travelled to Spain ’82 to become the first black player to represent England at a World Cup finals. Sadly for him, however,
Ipswich Town veteran Mick Mills kept him out of the side and he failed to make a single appearance.
The name applied to Ronaldo’s infamous wink in the ’06 quarter-final that earned him the tag of ‘most hated man in England’. After Wayne Rooney appeared to ‘stomp’ on Portugal’s Richard Carvalho, Rooney was subsequently red-carded, and as he left the pitch, cameras caught Ronaldo sneakily winking at his bench. England lost on pens.
Terry Butcher’s gaping head-wound and blood-spattered shirt may have come from a vital qualifying match against Sweden in 1989, but it looked more like something out of Friday the 13th Part IV. Still, that didn’t stop this “six foot four of solid muscle” colossus courageously heading the ball like a possessed madman and enabling England to grab the 0-0 draw they required.
England’s bright young hopefuls for the 2014 World Cup include Luke Shaw, Daniel Sturridge, JOrdan Henderson, Ross Barkley and, after a terrific season at Liverpool, Raheem Sterling. Which ones will make the plane?
The number of games England lost at Spain ’82 (out of five) and still got eliminated. France, the Czechs and Kuwait were all brushed aside, but goalless draws against West Germany and hosts Spain in a second-stage group saw their hopes die. Keegan and Brooking made their tournament bows against the latter with 27 minutes left, but it was too little too late.