‘A pair of Bobby-Dazzlers!’ – How England’s 1966 semi-final victory over Portugal unfolded
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England will try to win just their second ever World Cup semi-final when they take on Croatia tonight, here is how the Eastern Daily Press reported on the first: a 2-1 win over Portugal at Wembley on July 26, 1966.
Bobby Charlton, the Manchester United sharpshooter, last night scored the 39th and 40th goals of his international career spread over 73 matches and took England into the final of the World Cup.
They meet West Germany at Wembley day afternoon as the climax to this sometimes stormy but always fascinating tournament.
A crowd of 90,000 saw a magnificent game with England and Portugal showing how football should be played. England conceded their first goal in the cup when Eusebio scored from a penalty eight minutes from time, but they were already 2-0 up at that point and held on to win.
England played the game splendidly from a tactical point of view. They spent much time checking the eager Portuguese in a game played so sportingly that it was a pleasure to watch.
But England also mounted many effective quick raids. They exploited the weakness of goalkeeper Pereira in dealing with crosses and his tendancy to push out hard shots instead of holding them.
Never before had the Wembley crowd been so solidly behind England. As soon as the teams appeared they set up a chant of “England, England” and a forest of Union Jacks waved among the crowd.
England were quickly on the attack and a right-wing cross by Hunt was headed away. Then Moore, from the halfway line, sent Hunt chasing after a long through ball. Goalkeeper Pereira dashed out and miskicked his attempted clearance badly but it rolled out of danger.
As soon as Portugal moved downfield, Eusebio flashed into prominence with a quick pass to Torres, but Bobby Charlton, who had fallen back,nipped in to clear.
The England supporters were cheered by the evident intention of Bobby Charlton to shoot wherever possible. Twice he gave Pereira hit low shots to hold, one from out on the left and a straight one from 25 yards.
Portugal began to play the attractive attacking football which has made them top scorers of the tournament. Once Torres headed across goal for Eusebio but Stiles hurriedly headed the ball for a corner.
England came near to scoring when Pereira dropped a low centre by ball, but he recovered in time to hold the shot from Hurst which followed.
A good chance fell to England when Bobby Charlton slipped a fine pass to Hurst just inside the penalty area, but Hurst did not get enough sting into his shot and Pereira held it comfortably.
So successful were England’s tactics against Eusebio, that half an hour passed before he got in a shot. Then a 20-yard drive was deflected for a corner, which came to nothing.
After 30 minutes England scored. Bobby Moore sent Hunt away with a through pass and Pereira again failed to hold the ball when Hunt shot.
He pushed it out instead and Bobby Charlton, following up, sent it into the net with careful aim. This was Charlton’s 39th goal in his 73rd international.
Within minutes Pereira had another stinging shot to hold from the Manchester United man, following by one from Peters.
Coluna sent in a drive which Banks held and Eusebio blasted one just wide as Portugal battered away against by far the best defence they have met so far.
Portugal came straight out into attack on resuming. Eusebio back-heeled the ball cleverly to Torres but did not deceive Jackie Charlton, who quickly booted the ball clear.
England’s raids always looked dangerous. In one, Ball raced away on the right and sent over a high cross but Festa just managed to flick it away as Peters dashed in.
When Ball tackled Augusto a few yards outside the penalty area, Augusto tapped the free kick to Eusebio but his fierce shot flew well wide.
Danger threatened when Simoes found Torres, who flicked the ball on to Eusebio but the superb Banks again held the ball safely.
A rare England raid almost brought a second goal. Hurst made a long run on the left and crossed a fast, low ball which Carlos badly miskicked, but the ball just eluded Hunt, who was closing in fast.
Still Portugal did most of the attacking, but there was no sign of Eusebio being able to find space for his match-winning drives.
With 11 minutes left England scored a splendid second goal. The persistent Hurst, on the right, held off two defenders by the bye-line while his colleagues raced up. Then he slipped in a ground pass and Bobby Charlton hit it in his stride giving Pereira no chance at all.
With eight minutes left, Portugal struck back dramatically. In a massed attack Torres headed the ball from the left across goal with Banks well out and Jackie Charlton pushed the ball away.
Eusebio crashed home the penalty kick, his eighth goal in the tournament and the first conceded by England.
England – Banks; Cohen J Charlton; Moore, Wilson, Stiles; R. Charlton, Peters, Ball, Hurst, Hunt.
Portugal – Pereira; Festa, Baptista; Carlos, Hilario, Grace, Coluna, Augusto, Eusebio, Torres, Simoes.
Referee: P. Schwinte (France).