Next month, Euro 96 kicks off in England. It is 30 years since England hosted an international football tournament and 30 years since it won one. The result of this lack of success is that, in England, almost every aspect of that 1966 4-2 defeat of West Germany in the World Cup final has passed into legend. One example is the endless debate about the doubtful goal that put England 3-2 ahead.
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Next month, Euro 96 kicks off in England. It is 30 years since England hosted an international football tournament and 30 years since it won one. The result of this lack of success is that, in England, almost every aspect of that 1966 4-2 defeat of West Germany in the World Cup final has passed into legend. One example is the endless debate about the doubtful goal that put England 3-2 ahead. England's fourth goal, scored seconds before the final whistle, is also famous, this time because of the BBC commentator, Kenneth Wolstenhome. As Geoff Hurst, the English striker, moved with the ball towards the German goal, he observed, ?Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over? (no crowd barriers in those days !). As Hurst's shot went into the net, he said : ?It is now?. So famous have these words become that a BBC comedy sports quiz is called simply They Think It's All Over. Last month, yet another piece of that day's history became hot news. That last goal gave Geoff Hurst a hat-trick. By tradition, therefore, he should have been able to keep the match ball. But in a recent interview for a football magazine, he regretted that he did not have it. It had been taken away by Helmut Haller, one of the German players. As soon as they heard this, The Sun and The Daily Mirror, Britain's two bestselling newspapers, saw their chance for a BIG STORY. Both sent teams off to Germany to find the ball and bring it home. It was a desperate match, with enough foul play to merit several red cards. At first, The Sun took the lead. It found Haller and signed Hurst for an interview. It thought it was all over ! But then, in extra time, Hurst ?transferred? to the Mirror for £15,000 (BF 690,000) and, in a brilliant last-minute substitution, the Mirror brought on businessman Richard Branson and his famous chequebook. Victory to the Mirror !. Having filled the front page for the Mirror, the famous piece of leather now rests in London's Waterloo station behind a glass case. But who was the real winner here ? Haller was going to lend the ball to Euro 96 for free. Instead he ended up selling it for £80,000 (BF 3,7 million). foul play : vals spel, hat-trick : (hier) drie doelpunten gemaakt door dezelfde speler in een wedstrijd, to kick off : starten, to merit : verdienen, pitch : sportterrein, to take the lead : de leiding nemen.