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1966 World Cup

Pickles, The Dog who Found the Cup

Introduction: 1966 World Cup

The 1966 World Cup was marked by the theft of the Jules Rimet Cup and dubious refereeing in the final match. Even though the Brazilian team was optimistic after winning the championship for the second time, neither Pelé nor Garrincha could avoid one of the worst campaigns ever.

The country that created football hosts the World Cup

The 8th edition of the World Cup took place in England, the country that created modern football, from July 11 to July 30, 1966. Interestingly, no games were held on Sundays for religious reasons in the British Isles.

During the championship, the highlight was the Portuguese player Eusébio, top scorer who helped eliminate Brazil and the surprising North Korea. The Asian team managed to defeat Italy 1-0, and was greeted with rotten tomatoes when they returned home.

First World Cup Mascot

The first World Cup mascot was introduced in 1966. World Cup Willie, a friendly lion, was considered the precursor of mascots in major sporting events. The idea was to promote the World Cup and profit from the commercial appeal.

Willie mascot

Theft of the Jules Rimet Cup in 1966

The Jules Rimet Cup was displayed at an exhibition in London a few months before the start of the World Cup. But on March 20, 1966, it was stolen from the site.

The disappearance involved Scotland Yard investigators. But who ended up sniffing out the lost trophy was Pickles, a little dog who was walking with his owner in a square in the area.

The valuable cup was hidden among the bushes, wrapped in newspaper. After a lost week, England managed to recover the trophy with the help of the hero dog that became a world celebrity. But 17 years later, in Brazil, the cup would be stolen again, never to be found again.

Brazilian National Team in the 1966 World Cup

The Brazilian team was going through a phase of great prestige after winning the World Cup twice. But the problems started when the main team for the ’66 World Cup was not defined.

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With 47 players taking turns during training sessions and changes in the physical preparation of the Brazilian team, everything was only settled on the eve of the beginning of the championship.

The end of the Pelé and Garrincha duo

The debut was a victory over Bulgaria: 2 x 0, with goals by Pelé and Garrincha. This would be the last game they would play together for the Brazilian national team. With this duo, Brazil never lost.

Pelé was violently booked in the game and was absent during the 3-1 loss to Hungary. This game ended Brazil’s 13-game unbeaten streak in World Cups.

In the quarterfinals, Portugal played well and eliminated Brazil 3 x 1. One of the worst campaigns of the Brazilian team in World Cups.

Controversial ’66 World Cup Final

England and West Germany played the final at Wembley Stadium to an audience of 98,000 fans. The match was exciting, but also controversial.

The game was still tied at 2-2 when England’s Geoff Hurst, in the 11th minute of extra time, shot the ball over the German goalkeeper’s crossbar. The ball fell near the goal line and bounced back. The referee awarded the controversial goal to England.

In the last minute of the game, three fans stormed the field. But Hurst continued the counterattack and scored England’s fourth goal. It is believed to this day that the refereeing benefited the hosts of the 1966 World Cup.

But, with a score of 4-2, England were declared champions. The recovered Jules Rimet Cup was handed over to the English team by the Queen herself.

World Cup Series:


FIFA. 1962 FIFA World Cup Chile. Available at: <>. Accessed on: 19/02/2018


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