July 30, 1966 is a date etched on the heart of every English football fan as this was the day that football truly came home; nearly 97,000 were in attendance at Wembley to see their heroes beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time and win the World Cup.
The Germans had taken the lead through Helmut Haller after a nervy opening to the match, but West Ham striker Geoff Hurst pulled the scores level with a fine headed goal. His club-mate Martin Peters put England ahead after 78 minutes.
An equaliser by Wolfgang Weber in the last minute of normal time had threatened to spoil the host nation’s party, but two extra-time goals from Hurst – the first a disputed effort that bounced down from the crossbar over (or, as the Germans argued, onto) the goal line – saw England become world champions at last.
Captain Bobby Moore received the Jules Rimet Trophy from Her Majesty the Queen – an outcome that had seemed unlikely three weeks earlier after the opening game of the tournament, a stultifying 0-0 draw with Uruguay.
After that game, boos had rung out around Wembley Stadium, but comfortable victories had followed over Mexico and France, then a quarter-final win over Argentina in a bad-tempered match, and an exciting 2-1 semi-final success against Portugal.
The introduction to the team of Hurst, after an injury to star striker Jimmy Greaves, and the addition of midfielder Peters at the expense of an out-and-out winger, had seen England click into gear. Hurst would keep the recovered Greaves out of the team to become the first man to bag a World Cup final hat-trick.
Many images from the day still loom large in the hearts and minds of England supporters; Moore being hoisted onto the shoulders of his team-mates; talisman Bobby Charlton weeping with emotion, toothless midfield enforcer Nobby Stiles dancing a victory jig, trophy in hand.
Most of all, they can recall Hurst’s thunderous strike for England’s winning goal, forever underscored by Kenneth Wolstenholme’s famous commentary: “Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over… It is now!”