Usually, an incident like this would be tagged as ‘infamous’ or some other largely negative term, but after the summer we’ve just had, let’s go with it.
Forever immortalised in the annuls of English Football history outside of this ‘ghost goal’, Sir Geoff Hurst will almost certainly go down as one of England’s finest ever strikers. In the lead-up to that momentous worldly occasion at Wembley, the man averaged roughly a goal every other game as a Hammer between 1958 and 1972.
Yes, he was an absolute baller – in case that wasn’t so painfully obvious.
Throughout which, he played around 500 times and (as I mentioned) scored about half as many times as that; all the way hoovering up a number of individual and team honours for his efforts on home soil. The most crucial of which was an FA Cup win in 1964 and a European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. Which, not only pre-exposed Geoff Hurst to some of the game’s higher society of occasions, but also gave him an insatiable appetite to win them.
A recognisable figure throughout England’s route to the European Championships Final this summer (I know it was tough in the end, but what a journey it was!), Sir Geoff was always on hand to provide some true whippets of wisdom for the current Three Lions brigade in their attempt to reclaim some of the glory his own era had brought.
Gosh, goodness knows how inspirational that must’ve been!
Nevertheless, one thing that might be slightly pushed to the shadows of history, is that England received a decent little slice of luck in order to claim that ultimate price. Coming up against their old foes West Germany, in a match-up which was far more free-flowing and ‘exciting’ than most would expect from an ‘everything-to-lose’ finale, there would be six goals overall tipped into the hosts’ favour to give them the ultimate Jules Rimet prize.
As you probably would have guessed it, England would end up scoring the majority of those six – four, to be exact. Three of which was struck home by, you guessed it, Sir Geoff Hurst. However, that middle one has become something of a sore subject for anyone of a … German variety.
And … they might have a right to that, tbf! Heck, even modern technology seems to agree with them!
As far as goals go, it was a decent one. A looping, hopeful ball into the box from Martin Peters fell slightly awry from its target, but no bother! Their star striker was ready, right on his tippy-toes to swivel on a sixpence and smash the ball home in off the bar. On the face of it, it appeared to be little more than an impressive goal, scored by an impressive player on an even more impressive night.
But the thing is, should it have stood?
Unfortunately – or rather fortunately, depending on where your allegiance lies – in-game footballing technology hadn’t quite reached a point where one could conclusively determine whether or not a ball crossed the goal line in its entirety to affirm the authenticity of a goal. Instead, they had to go ahead and rely on those balls that lay slightly higher on our face than those other attachments we have.
You know, the ones we see out of.
On the day, neither the referee nor linesman were able to accurately state that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, and given how close it was, I suppose they thought it was close enough to award the goal. A pretty brave and pivotal decision considering that this was a strike that arrived with the game on a knife-edge at 2-2 and the game firmly within extra time territory.
Whatever, it was 3-2, and Geoff Hurst himself secured it all to finish it off at 4-2.
To be honest, debate might rage on for just about forever as we’ll never be able to reach a conclusion on this. But heck, after what happened at the 2010 World Cup, let’s just hope that’s the footballing gods way of equalling things. If there was anything to ‘equal’ in the first place.
Yeah … you get what I mean!