England's Only World Cup Glory

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The country that invented, codified and spread the most popular sport  in the world surprisingly has only one World Cup victory.

The year was 1966 and John Lennon famously proclaimed that the Beatles have now become "more popular than Jesus".  Several months later it was England's national soccer team that drew global attention when they defeated Germany 4-2 for the Cup title.  

A combination of home field advantage and a remarkable group of players made it happen: defender and captain Bobby Moore, striker Geoff Hurst, and midfielders Bobby Charlton and Martin Peters. 

Moore, Peters and Hurst were a trio of West Ham boys while Charlton hailed from Manchester United.   Hurst is still celebrated today as the only player to perform a hat-trick in a Cup final, or score three goals in a single match. 

That year, England basked in soccer greatness but the island that launched the game in the 19th century would not raise another Jules Rimet trophy.  

Perhaps the nation's golden moment resembled the success of its own homegrown Beatles, a once in a lifetime talent combination that created nothing less than magic. 

More than fifty years on and England reached the World Cup semi-finals only twice, in 1990 when they lost to West Germany in penalty shoot-outs, and in 2018 when they were taken down by Croatia 2-1.

Meanwhile, Brazil has led the international competition with 5 Cup championships followed by Germany and Italy at 4 each.

Nevertheless, the English football brand endures like the British empire, gone but not without its legacy.  The Premier League is the most watched soccer league in the world and when Russian and Chinese investors went shopping for soccer teams, they bought the Brits.

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