With the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany in extra—time following a 2—2 draw after 90 minutes, England striker Geoff Hurst crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced on the line and a German defender kicked it clear.
However, the referee’s assistant Tofik Bakramov concluded it crossed the goal line.
A goal was awarded and England went on to win the game, 4-2 with Hurst completing the first ever World Cup final hat—trick.
The Alternative History:
Replays show the ball hadn’t fully crossed the line and no goal is awarded.
Germany breaks down the other end of the pitch to score and win the game 3—2.
Soccer doesn’t come home and the mood of national disappointment in England forces a dramatic rethink of the game.
The FA pumps money into developing young players and sends its coaches abroad to learn more about how the game is played elsewhere.
The 1970s see a young England team emerge, whose players display technical ability and tactical awareness that is new to the English game.
The team qualifies for 1974 and 1978 World Cups, before England finally lifts soccer’s biggest prize at the 1982 finals in Spain.
England continues to be one of the dominant forces in football, having added more World Cups to its name following triumphs in 1990 and 2006.
The holders are amongst the favorites to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Having easily won Group C and breezed past the last remaining African side Ghana in the second round, England is looking forward to a quarterfinal clash with Uruguay on Friday.