England’s World Cup victory in 1966 is iconic for a multitude of reasons. World Cup wins, are of course, always a source of national and sporting pride, with its status as England’s sole victory in a major tournament an extra reason to savour that success. From the famous lines of commentary delivered by Kenneth Wolstenholme (“they think it’s all over… it is now!”) to Geoff Hurst’s pioneering hat-trick in the final to defeat West Germany 4-2, that day in 1966 has become part of the fabric of English culture both sporting or otherwise. One aspect of that day that is instantly recognisable and yet subtle at the same time is the kit that Alf Ramsey’s side wore on their way to victory.
It is no surprise that subsequent England teams have tried to tap into what made that 1966 incarnation so effective; the “thirty years of hurt” line from Baddiel and Skinner’s seminal Euro 96 pop hit hints at a national side that will forever be defined by comparisons to their triumphant predecessors, but of course it is no longer thirty years of hurt. It has now been over half a century since Bobby Moore lifted the famous trophy, but that appreciation for the past endures in England’s new kit. On this site, we have already explored England’s new kit and its classic feel, with the makers Nike explicitly drawing connections between the classic red away shirt in which England’s 1966 team reached the top of the world.
Red has formed the basis of almost all England away shirts since, with the home kit perennially a variation of a white shirt with England crest and garnish. Other than a few rogue dalliances with shades of navy, England’s away outfit has been a red that harks back to Wembley 1966. Variations of that away kit have seen different interpretations, with new editions of the kit aiming to make their own memorable stamp on England’s history. However, the away kit for 2018 is effortlessly English, a simple yet attractive red shirt that moves beyond identikit iterations from previous years.
England hosted the World Cup in 1966, giving what was already one the world’s leading sides an extra advantage. England head to Russia with no such luxuries, considered quarter-final contenders rather than an elite side with genuine title ambitions. Yet in Geoff Hurst, a prolific domestic striker made the jump from English darling to world superstar. It would take a brave punter to bet against Harry Kane continuing his imperious Spurs form in Russia.
Interestingly, many of the leading bookmakers have England among the top eight favourites to claim the trophy, with bet365 pricing them at 16/1 to lift the famous trophy. However, knockout football has fine margins that can be determined by the performance of a top striker. Kane may not score a hat-trick in the final, but there is no reason why the leading striker cannot be pictured in that famous red shirt lifting the trophy as his countrymen did over fifty years ago. With the Englishman in red hot form currently, it is surprising to see Kane listed at odds of 17/1 to be top goalscorer in Russia from sites like Unibet.
Yet any optimism comes with the caveat that England have regularly disappointed in major tournaments since 1966, with unrealistic expectations stemming from that famous trophy win. Therefore, punters will want security when it comes to backing the Three Lions; by analysing the best free bets site in the UK, supporters can follow events in Russia knowing they have benefited from accessing the most attractive offers. If England do end up lifting the trophy, they will do so in a similarly attractive kit that will become immortalised in the same way that the red shirt of Bobby Moore in 1966 did.
The yellow shirt of Brazil became immortalised because of the team’s success, with photos of the likes of Pele and Carlos Alberto ensuring that youngsters across the world would grow up with a soft spot for that shirt. Conversely, the shirt of a Hungary side inspired by Ferenc Puskas to become one of the most fearsome and inventive international sides of all time has been comparatively forgotten because that side failed to achieve success on the biggest stages. If England can pull off the unexpected, but not impossible, in Russia, then what is a fashionable throwback shirt will become legendary in its own right.