Most players have moments in their career that they can reflect on with fondness but it’s the elite few who achieve a moment that will not only live long in their memory but also resonates throughout the globe as a point in sporting history.
One man who certainly has such an accomplishment on his CV is England’s 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.
The former West Ham striker is the only man to score a treble in a World Cup Final, an achievement made all the more spectacular when you look back at Hurst’s international career.
At the start of the 1965/66 season the then 23 year-old Hurst was still making his mark on the domestic game.
Having scored in West Ham’s 1964 FA Cup Final success Hurst was hardly an unknown but was yet to receive England recognition.
However an incredible goalscoring season in 65/66 saw the striker become impossible to ignore as he broke the 40-goal barrier for the Hammers.
Therefore it was no surprise when he made his international bow in the February against, none other than, West Germany.
Hurst performed well for his country and those displays coupled with his sparkling club form saw him included in Sir Alf Ramsey’s squad for that summer’s World Cup.
Yet he still couldn’t be guaranteed a starting berth and not until the unfortunate Jimmy Greaves suffered a deep gash to his leg in the final group game against France did Hurst get his chance to shine.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley will always be remembered for Hurst’s hat-trick but the man himself says there’s only one way you can win the biggest trophy in world football and that’s with everyone pulling together.
“The common denominator for teams that win the World Cup is the team spirit, the camaraderie and togetherness that happens over a month of being away together,” he told Wembleystadium.com.
“I feel very strongly that our success wasn’t just down to great players but the tremendous team spirit we had.
“We have a reunion every year and that camaraderie lasts forever.”
Sir Geoff will always be synonymous with that match though and he admits that it does get brought up every now and then.
“It’s what you’re known for,” he said with a reminiscent smile, “I had a reasonably good career at West Ham as well but people tend to talk about that day because it involved the whole country not just 35 or 40,000 West Ham fans.”
“Instead 32 million people watched it.”
So Sir Geoff Hurst’s place in the history books is secured but the former England striker says he didn’t actually realise the significance of his achievement at the time.
“When you win a World Cup it’s a national event but you don’t realise the magnitude of it at the time.
“However, as the years go by you come to realise the significant and positive effect it had on supporters’ lives.”