England is the second-oldest football national team in the world. In 1872, it faced Scotland in the world's first international football match. They have qualified 15 times for the FIFA World Cup. It won the World Cup in 1966 and finished fourth in 1990 and 2018. England has never won the UEFA European Championship, with third-place finishes in 1968 and 1996, the latter as hosts, being its best results. Apart from a couple of charity/friendly competitions, they've only ever won one trophy: the FIFA World Cup. The tournament was held in England, and England won 4–2 against West Germany in the final. Bobby Moore was captaining that side.
Late in the afternoon of July 30, 1966, at Wembley Stadium. After the summer rain, the sky is clear. The England team hoists their young leader onto their shoulders in their foreign red shirts. The World Cup is held in his right fist. He has a smile that can light up a decade, a sport, or a country. Bobby Moore, the England captain, is 25 years old and in his prime, holding the Jules Rimet trophy in one hand and sunshine on his golden curls. Bobby Moore's career would never reach such extraordinary heights again. England, on the other hand, would not as well.
"He [Bobby Moore] was one of the most honest defenders I've played against. He was very intelligent, with a knack for reading our play," he said.
"He played really hard, marked well, but was always honest. He was one of the best players I've ever known. The best defender."
Moore was born in the Essex town of Barking. Moore joined West Ham United as a player in 1956 and progressed through their development system. Moore's 1964 turned out to be an interesting year. He won the FA Cup with West Ham, defeating Preston 3–2 in the final at Wembley, thanks to a last-minute goal by Boyce. Moore was also selected for the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year after successfully undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. Moore would go on to win the FA Cup for the first of three times in as many years. After West Ham defeated 1860 Munich 2–0 in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965, he was awarded the trophy.
Moore possessed the uncommon ability to think faster and more clearly than anyone else on the team. Simply put, Moore possessed a quality that is as uncommon in football as it is in life: class. Moore's economy of effort made doubters wonder if the golden boy of English football was really giving it his all. Indeed, the 1966 World Cup in England saw defensive football at its pinnacle, with Moore performing at the pinnacle of his abilities to be named Player of the Tournament.
With all of their games held at Wembley, England breezed through their group, then defeated Argentina in the quarterfinals and a Portugal team led by Eusébio in the semi-finals. In the final, West Germany awaited. England was down 1–0 in the final thanks to Helmut Haller, but Moore's awareness and quick thinking helped England to a quick equalise. In a play he had practised at West Ham, he landed an immediate free kick on Hurst's head. Hurst had a goal. England went up 2–1 because of Peters' goal, but Germany equalised in the final minute of normal time with Wolfgang Weber's goal. When Hurst scored a contentious and hotly contested goal, the game appeared to be over.
As captain, he led by example, and no better example of Moore's brilliance came late in extra time in the final against West Germany when England had taken the lead thanks to a contentious third goal. Moore had the ball at his feet deep in his own half. Because England had already closed up the tense game with just a few minutes remaining to play, almost any other defender in the world would have knocked it far out of the ground or played possession. Moore's trademark through ball reached match hero Geoff Hurst softly. The scoreboard showed 4-2 seconds later, and England had clinched the World Cup.
Moore played his final game for West Ham against Hereford United in the FA Cup in January 1974. During the game, he sustained an injury. He left West Ham after more than 15 years on 14 March of that year, taking with him the club record for appearances (since surpassed by Billy Bonds) and the most international caps by an outfield player (since surpassed by Billy Bonds). For £25,000, he joined London rivals Fulham in the Second Division. During Moore's first season with the club, they won a League Cup encounter against West Ham and then advanced to the FA Cup Final, where they met West Ham once more. Fulham was defeated 2–0 this occasion. He signed his final deal as a professional player in 1978, when he joined Herning Fremad of Denmark.
He was the first footballer to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1966, and he remained the only one for the next 24 years. Moore was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year's Honours List. In 2002, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame for the first time in honour of his contribution to the English game as a player, and he was also named to the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons in the same year. Bobby Moore is honoured by monuments. At Upton Park, there is a statue, and at Wembley Stadium, there is another. Bobby Moore's true legacy is the love, passion, and hope that he continues to inspire in the hearts of every English football fan.