How did the world—and Denis Law—respond to England's historic World Cup victory?by Ian Irvine / June 21, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
The film critic David Thompson recalls the closing seconds of the final match between England and Germany:
“Geoff Hurst has never been an unequivocally great player. Never will be what we call great—meaning the greatness of Di Stefano, Cruyff, Pelé, Law, Best, Puskás, Matthews and maybe a few others. But Geoff Hurst is a very good player, very well coached by everyone from his Dad to Ron Greenwood, and very good players by the luck of the numbers are going to have moments of ineffable splendour. Some are luckier than others in when these moments come.
“Hurst carries the ball on, over a field that now looks like a meadow at the end of a day when a shoot has been held… Tikowski is on the goal line. But as some keepers try to make themselves large, Tikowski seems ready to shrink. Hurst is headlong, hurtling, and he has put the ball on his left. He is going to shoot. You feel it. This is the kind of shot which, in weariness, nine out of 10 very good players… would put in the stands to the cheery derision of the crowd. But Geoff Hurst now is touched, cherry red in the golden light. He is for an instant Roy of the fucking Rovers. He… shoots an insanely accurate, unstoppable, rising shot that goes past Tikowski like an aircraft taking off and explodes against the roof of the net…
“… This is one of those moments you know all your life, by the light, the air, the feel, the force—like making love or seeing a baby squirm from the mother’s body. This is the goal that allows us to forget the third goal that bounced on the line. This is 4-2. I roar in the living-room in Isleworth in front of the black-and-white television. My son Mathew cannot quite yet know the grace that has touched Geoff Hurst. So he cries in alarm. But I am crying first… We have won.”