5 Historical Football Matches You Wish You Saw

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5 Historical Football Matches You Wish You Saw

There is always a great debate about which was the best football match ever seen; either on television or live in a stadium full of thousands of people. It is estimated that there are over 10 million football fans in the United Kingdom, many of whom collect memorabilia from their favourite matches. General sporting enthusiasts also collect memorabilia from historically important matches. While everyone has their own views on what constitutes an amazing historical match, there are a few that should be on everyone's list.

Some matches, such as the 1966 World Cup Final, are remarkable for their jaw-dropping goals, and others, such as the 1958 match played after the Munich air disaster, are most memorable because of the atmosphere; in this case the players and fans were all mourning the loss of players and crew who died in the crash. The range of historical matches is huge, but a few of the most important ones are listed below. Memorabilia from historical football matches you wish you saw can be bought on eBay.

Overview of Historical Football Matches You Wish You Saw

A historical football match can become memorable for different reasons. Some matches are important because of the people that played an important role in the game. They may have scored the winning goal or saved a vital penalty at the last minute. Another reason that a football match may be remembered is because of a singular and spectacular goal. Other matches are memorable for the atmosphere. If a crowd is so lively or subdued that it made you wish that you had been at the game celebrating or mourning with the other supporters, then that match should be in your list of all time memorable games.

Game 1: England vs. Germany, 1966 World Cup Final

The match that first heard the phrase, "Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over... It is now", was the World Cup Final played at Wembley Stadium on 30 June 1966. England had not been expected to reach the final, and the stands were packed with over 98,000 people. A further 32 million people watched the match live on television. At the time, England was managed by Alf Ramsey and the captain was Bobby Moore. The match was level at half-time, with both teams conceding one goal each.

In the 77th minute, things began to go England's way and Martin Peters scored from a corner by Alan Ball. The crowd erupted and began to think the unthinkable. In the last minute of the game, Germany equalised after a controversial free kick was given for an alleged foul by Jack Charlton. Germany scored from the free kick, although there was also some controversy that the goal may have hit the hand of Karl-Heinz Schnellinger. Extra time was called for, and the crowd spurred on the England team. England scored in the 11th minute into extra time, but again this was a controversial goal. The shot by Geoff Hurst hit the underside of the bar, bounced on the line, and was then cleared off the line. The referee seemed unsure of whether it was a goal and spoke to the linesman. The referee and the linesman did not speak the same language and after various hand signals the goal was awarded to England.

In the final minute of the game all of the German players pushed forward in a last attempt to draw level. Bobby Moore intercepted the ball, passing it to Geoff Hurst. The crowd began descending onto the pitch as Hurst kicked the ball into the back of the net, the final whistle blew and the match was over. The whole of the England team celebrated and became instant national heroes. Football fans who were not even born at the time know the story of the only time England has won the World Cup and consider it to be the greatest match ever played by an England team.

Game 2: Manchester United vs. Sheffield Wednesday, 1958 FA Cup 5th Round

Some matches are historically memorable for the atmosphere in the stadium. On 19 February 1958 Manchester United played against Sheffield Wednesday in the first match since the Munich air disaster that killed eight members of the Manchester United football team and injured nine others. The match was played only 13 days after the crash. The match program was left blank, as right until the last minute it was unknown who was going to be in the team. The stadium was filled with non-football fans, as well as many football enthusiasts that did not support either of the teams, but wanted to pay their respects.

The team of young, inexperienced Manchester United players took on Sheffield Wednesday. Both teams wore black armbands in memory of the players, support staff, and crew that lost their lives. The fans in the stadium were willing Manchester United players on; even the Sheffield fans seemed to want United to win, and they won 3-0.

Game 3: Italy vs. West Germany, 1970 World Cup Semi-Final

On 17 June 1970 in Mexico City, Italy met West Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup. Many people consider this to be the match of the century. It was so highly regarded that a monument was placed outside the Estadio Azteca in homage to the two teams. Fitness wise, the Italians had a slight advantage, as the West Germany team had played extra time in their quarter-final match against England.

Over 100,000 fans filled the stadium to watch Italy fly into the lead within the first 10 minutes with a goal by Roberto Boninsegna, scored from a spectacular 25 yards away. It encouraged the German players to move forward and attack, and the Italians were lucky not to concede a penalty after a foul on Beckenbauer. Throughout the remaining first half of the match, West Germany had many near misses, and by the time the half-time whistle went, most Italian fans knew they were lucky to have a 1-0 lead.

West Germany continued to attack during the second half of the match, with the star of the West German team, Beckenbauer, leading the assault on the Italians. He was body checked by Pierluigi and the German player fractured his clavicle. West Germany had already used their two substitutes so Beckenbauer was forced to continue the match with his arm in a sling. In the final minute of the match Karl-Heinz Schnellinger managed to side foot the ball into the bottom corner of the net for West Germany, forcing the game into extra time.

Only five minutes into extra time, the West Germans attacked again; Gerd Muller giving the lead to West Germany. The Italians looked beaten until a free kick landed directly at the feet of Burgnich who tapped the ball into the net, levelling the score. The West Germans pushed forward again, but Italy player Riva flicked the ball into the bottom corner of the net, giving Italy a lead of 3-2.

By the second half of extra time, the players were tired, but Muller for West Germany scored almost immediately. The ball was placed on the centre spot for the Italians and Boninsegna ran down the left hand side of the pitch, the ball fell to the feet of Rivera, and Italy scored the winning goal. The match left the players exhausted and Italy failed to beat Brazil in the final, but the determination of the players on both teams has left an everlasting impression on football fans even over 40 years later.

Game 4: England vs. Hungary, 1953 Friendly

The match between England and Hungary was played at Wembley Stadium on 25 November 1953. With over 100,000 people in attendance, most thought this friendly match was always going to be easy for the England side, as the team was unbeaten on home soil. England got off to a bad start and Hungary scored within a minute of the kick off. Despite Hungary continuing to dominate the game, Jackie Sewell scored an equaliser after 13 minutes, 8 yards from the goal. Hungary fought back, scoring two more goals within four minutes of each other. The fourth goal by Hungary was scored from a free kick. Bozsik fired the shot towards the goal and it deflected off Puskas into the net.

At 38 minutes into the game, Mortenson scored England's second goal of the match. In the second half, although England began well, Hungary managed to score two more goals; Bozsik scoring from outside the area and Hidegkuti scoring his third goal of the match. Alf Ramsey scored a penalty later, but England could not keep up with the skills of Hungary and the match finished 6-3.

After the game many of England's coaches and the managers looked to other countries for ideas for different tactics. The manager of England realised that they needed to change their style of play and improve the players overall skills if they wanted to compete internationally. Many of the England players in the match never played for their country again. In 1954 England played Hungary in Budapest, hoping for a chance to redeem themselves; England lost the match 7-1.

Game 5: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United, 1957 FA Cup Final

Considered to be one of the greatest FA Cup finals of all time, Aston Villa took on the original Busby Babes at Wembley Stadium on 4 May 1957. There was a crowd of over 99,000 fans who were noted as being polite, friendly, and just real fans enjoying a day out for the family. Only six minutes into the match the Manchester United goalkeeper, Ray Wood, collided with Aston Villa's forward Peter McParland, leaving Wood unconscious with a fractured cheekbone. United were down to 10 men, and even that could not stop them constantly taking the ball into Aston Villas half, always trying to capitalise on mistakes from the Villa players. By half-time the score was still 0-0, and Villa were lucky to be in with a chance. Whatever the manager of Aston Villa, Eric Houghton, said to his players at half-time worked.

McParland in particular came on the pitch and drove his team forward through the Manchester United defenders. He scored two goals within five minutes of each other, his first was a header that left Manchester United looking defeated. His second goal seemed to wake the Manchester team up and they began to push forward themselves. Ray Wood came back on in the second half despite his injury, and this allowed Jackie Blanchflower, who was his replacement in goal to move up the field with a fresh pair of legs.

It was not enough for Manchester United, although Tommy Taylor clawed one back seven minutes from the final whistle. Aston Villa had won the FA Cup for the seventh time. The match is remembered fondly for the atmosphere and the friendly rivalry between the two teams. Players and fans in the stadium have stated that it was one of the friendliest finals they ever experienced.

Buying Football Memorabilia on eBay

eBay sellers offer an extensive range of football memorabilia. If you know exactly what you are looking for, you can search from the eBay home page. Enter keywords, such as "football programmes" and " signed football memorabilia" to find items for a range of matches, from the early part of the twentieth century to the recent past. If you have any questions about authenticity or wish to see the memorabilia in more detail, you can simply contact the seller by using the "Ask a question" link and ask for additional information or photographs.

Seller Feedback

Checking the feedback of the seller is an important part of the buying process. Make sure that the seller that you choose has a good track record so that you can purchase with confidence. Read sellers' feedback information left by previous buyers to find those that provide high quality products that are dispatched in a timely manner.


Football is a big part of British sporting history. The sport can be traced to Medieval England, around 1200 AD, but the game has different rules today and is much less bloodthirsty. A national football league was formed in the 1850s and similar leagues exist today. Football memorabilia is hugely popular, particularly items from the twentieth century and the Victorian era.

Some of the most talked about football matches in living memory occurred in the twentieth century. These games include awe-inspiring, sometimes last minute, goals or atmospheres of camaraderie and respect. Some matches are of particular historical importance, such as England's win in the 1966 World Cup Final and the 1957 FA Cup Final where Aston Villa beat Manchester's Busby Babes in their seventh FA Cup victory. Other matches, such as the 1953 friendly between England and Hungary, marked a significant turning point for the playing style and strategy of the England squad.

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