With the US ever more involved in the conflict with Vietnam, football returned to the country that invented the game 103 years earlier — England. Brazil and Italy were the two big casualties in the group stages.
Brazil side lost to Portugal 3-1 while Italy suffered the shock result of the tournament when they crashed 1-0 to North Korea, Pak Doo Ik becoming a household name in England by scoring the only goal.
The combination of Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst made England unstoppable. While Charlton tore apart Eusebio-inspired Portugal in the semis with two goals, Hurst burst of three goals secured the hosts the title against West Germany in the final. His second goal was highly controversial, bouncing down off the crossbar and, according to the linesman, over the line.
STAR VALUE: Eusebio of Portugal. Nicknamed “the Black Panther” Eusebio had a thunderous right-foot and electric pace allied to tremendous athletic ability. He finished the event with nine goals.
1970: The all-star meet
Two years after staging the Olympics, Mexico's high altitude and stifling heat was selected to host the 1970 World Cup finals.
Fears that the conditions would hinder attractive play were totally unfounded as the tournament produced a feast of attacking football, led by two of the best footballers in the world – Brazil’s Pele and West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.
Brazil, with Pele back at his best, were magnificent. They beat holders England 1-0 in the group stages, despite Gordon Banks’ now legendary save from Pele, and with Jairzinho on fire up front roared into the knockout stages.
West Germany, with Franz Beckenbauer imperious and impish striker Gerd Muller in top form, gained revenge for their defeat in the 1966 final by recovering from 2-0 down to England to win 3-2 after extra time in the last eight. Pele, Gerson, Jairzinho and, gloriously, Carlos Alberto, scored in a 4-1 rout of the Italians, and Brazil were allowed to keep the Jules Rimet trophy having won it three times.
STAR VALUE: Gerd Muller, nicknamed "Der Bomber", this pocket-sized dynamo was one of the most lethal finishers in football history. He fired 10 goals -- the maximum in the event.