Hurst recalls being 'booed off' after opening goalless draw in 1966

Geoff Hurst predicts it could prove to be a good omen if England get BOOED off at the World Cup – after they began victorious 1966 campaign by being jeered following a bore draw with Uruguay!

  • Geoff Hurst has said a poor start to England’s World Cup should not deter fans
  • He recalled being booed after the first game of his 1966 World Cup campaign
  • England went on to win the tournament after a hattrick from Hurst in the final 
  • The 80-year-old is ‘hopeful’ for England in Qatar ahead of their opening game
  • Hurst felt Harry Kane would need teammates to ‘share the goalscoring burden’
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

If England are booed by their own supporters after a boring goalless draw with Iran on Monday, it may prove to be a good omen, according to World Cup-winning hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

Gareth Southgate’s team were booed earlier this year after losing to Hungary twice and a bore draw with Italy, but Hurst says it was the same with Sir Alf Ramsey’s team at the start of their successful run through to winning the final in 1966.

Hurst, now 80, has just been featured in a film about his life and says few people remember the reaction to England’s opening game, when an unadventurous Uruguay held them to a goalless draw at Wembley.

Geoff Hurst has recalled England being booed after the opening game of the 1966 World Cup

A more recent England team received a similar reaction when they lost 4-0 to Hungary in June

‘I was sitting on the bench against Uruguay, who were not interested in coming out to play, and what surprised me a few months ago, when I was looking through old footage for this film, was that we were booed off the field after a boring 0-0 draw.

‘It just goes to show that you are never really sure what will happen, and we were not even sure in the final that we would win it. It was only when the final goal went in and the whistle blew that we knew we had won.’

Ramsey had famously said before the tournament that he thought England would win it, a surprisingly bold prediction from an otherwise cautious manager, and Hurst reveals the players did not share his confidence.

Hurst felt that Harry Kane will need his teammates to ‘share the goalscoring’ burden in Qatar

‘I don’t think you go into any competition at the highest level thinking you’re going to win the league, or the cup or even the World Cup, so it was remarkable that Sir Alf should say that. He was not normally the kind of manager who would say anything like that, so it was very surprising.’

But he adds: ‘We had been unbeaten the year before the tournament, and over three years he’d put together a successful side of hard-nosed professionals and some of the best players we’ve had in this country.’

And while Hurst is quietly confident Southgate’s side can emulate the success of the Boys of ’66, he says Harry Kane’s team-mates need to share the England captain’s goalscoring burden.

Kane has hit 51 goals for England, which is three more than the combined total of 48 that the other 13 forwards and midfielders in the current squad have managed.

He pointed to the goalscorers throughout the 1966 team as a reason for their success

‘We need to be wary of too much reliance on Harry Kane. In our time, apart from the three front men me, Roger Hunt and Jimmy Greaves, we had goals from midfielders like Alan Ball, Martin Peters and Bobby Charlton.

‘So I think now we need to see more goals coming from other areas and players, such as Mason Mount, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, who scores goals for his club. We need them to start nicking goals, not just Harry.’

But he adds: ‘I am very hopeful we are going to do well, with the best group of young players for a long time and a real sense of unity. I am very optimistic.’

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