Geoff Hurst: “Winning a World Cup for your country changes your life”

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By Bianca Britton, CNN

It’s been just over 50 years since England’s World Cup victory against West Germany in 1966 and still to this day Geoff Hurst remains the first and only footballer to ever score a hat trick in a World Cup final.

The impressive accomplishment not only immortalized him as a national hero, it also got him knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Hurst says it’s moments like that — combined with winning the World Cup for your country on home soil — “changes your life quite dramatically.”

Talking to CNN Sport, he reflected on his unrivaled achievement that over 96,000 spectators witness and 400 million people tuned into television to watch.

The ‘silly jump’

Hurst’s first goal was scored in the 19th minute, which he headed into the net after a free kick was given to England captain, Bobby Moore. It sent England fans wild as it leveled the two teams, but for Hurst all he can remember is the embarrassing way he celebrated.

“After scoring the first goal I jumped, I didn’t really know what to do and made some kind of silly jump. I look at it now and I look like a real idiot, but you don’t really know what to do with yourself,” he said.

The controversial goal

Then came extra time, after West Germany managed to wrangle another goal — leveling the scores at 2-2.

It was here that Hurst scored once again.

“The second goal has been hotly disputed and people still talk about it today,” he said.

The infamous goal hit the crossbar and sent the ball straight down on the line — making it virtually impossible to tell if it had crossed into the goal.

One minute left

With one minute left before the end of play, and the score sitting at 3-2, Bobby Moore sent the ball in a long pass to Hurst.

He says he remembers vividly what was going through his head prior to scoring the winning goal. The moment that sealed England’s fate with a 4-2 victory.

“I was thinking ‘I’m tired, I know the game’s nearly over, I’m now going to hit this ball with everything I’ve got left’ and as everyone knows I miss hit it and it flew in,” he said.

Hurst says he continues to realize the importance of winning the World Cup.

“People still talk about it today. I bumped into a woman only last week who got married on the World Cup final day and she was telling us that during the marriage service in the church with the sermon, the vicar kept telling everybody during the sermon what the score was during the game!”

Still to this day, the viewing figures for the 1966 match is still the highest recorded for an event broadcast on British television — with over 32 million (60% of Britain’s population) tuning in.

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