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Spurs at the World Cup - Alf Ramsey

Tue 03 June 2014, 11:25|Tottenham Hotspur

As the World Cup draws ever nearer, we take a look at the Spurs players to grace football's biggest stage.

Alf Ramsey
Spurs 1949-1955 - 250 appearances, 24 goals

The first player to ever feature in the World Cup finals while on our books as a professional was Alf Ramsey, who appeared three times for England during their ill-fated 1950 challenge.

The full-back had joined us from Southampton the previous May and won his first England cap as a Spurs man against Italy in November, 1949, ironically at White Hart Lane in front of over 70,000 fans.

Having been a key member of our side which won the Second Division championship in 1949-50, it was no surprise that he was selected by England for the World Cup squad which travelled to Brazil, along with team-mates Eddie Baily, Bill Nicholson and Ted Ditchburn.

But Ramsey was the only one of the quartet picked by the selectors for England’s opening Group Two game against Chile at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Aged 30, he played his part in a promising start by the Three Lions, who won 2-0 thanks to goals from Stan Mortensen and Wilf Mannion.

That was as good as it got though. England’s second game against the minnows from the USA has gone down in football folklore as one of the biggest World Cup surprises of all time, as the Americans won 1-0 in Belo Horizonte, with Ramsey in the line-up.

Years later, during a TV interview, Ramsey was asked by the late Brian Moore: ‘Did you play when the USA beat England in the 1950 World Cup?’ – to which Alf replied: ‘I was the only one who did!’

In the final group game against Spain, Ramsey was joined by Baily in the England team, but they suffered another 1-0 defeat and with only the group winners progressing, it meant a disappointing early exit.

However Ramsey had some unfinished business with the World Cup, and 16 years later he guided England to their greatest moment, lifting the trophy on home soil in 1966.