Spurs at the World Cup - Greavsie and Maurice
06 June 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
We continue our feature on Spurs players who have graced the World Cup as kick-off in Brazil is now less than a week away...
Next up, two key men in our glory, glory years of the 1960s...
Spurs 1961-1970 - 379 appearances, 266 goals
The World Cup story of Jimmy Greaves is quite often referred to in terms of the game he missed rather than the ones he did feature in, but it is an injustice to the legendary striker’s England career to only concentrate on his absence in the 1966 Final at Wembley Stadium.
During his time at Spurs, Greaves featured in seven World Cup Finals matches for England spanning two tournaments, scoring once.
Just a matter of weeks after scoring our first goal in the 1962 FA Cup Final victory over Burnley, the in-form striker - who had scored a staggering 30 goals in just 29 games for Spurs that season - was on his way to Chile as part of Walter Winterbottom’s England squad, along with team-mate Maurice Norman.
Greavsie started all four of England’s games, kicking off with a 2-1 defeat to Hungary before the Three Lions hit top form by beating Argentina 3-1, Greaves netting the third. A goalless draw with Bulgaria followed, but that was enough to see them through to the quarter-finals, where the mighty Brazil were lying in wait.
Although without Pele, they still had class throughout the squad and with Garrincha in stunning form, Brazil inflicted a 3-1 defeat on England to send them packing. Greaves was, however, involved in one of the more amusing moments of the game early on, when a stray dog ran on to the pitch and held up play.
The England striker managed to coax the canine intruder to him, grabbing it and handing the dog to an official, but not before the animal apparently had a little ‘accident’ down the front of Greavsie’s shirt!
Four years later, Greaves was without doubt the finest goalscorer in the English game and although he had suffered from hepatitis mid-season, great things were expected of him as the World Cup kicked off on home soil.
Jimmy was the only Spur in Alf Ramsey’s squad, the manager himself being the only other link to the club, and once again he was involved from the start. Selected for all three group games, he played his part even if he wasn’t among the goalscorers as England emerged top of their section after matches against Uruguay (0-0), Mexico (2-0) and France (2-0).
But a shin injury picked up in the final group game against the French kept him out of the quarter-final against Argentina, Geoff Hurst stepping into his place. England won 1-0, then defeated Portugal 2-1 in the semis, but Ramsey opted not to change a winning team for the final against West Germany, which meant Greaves on the bench.
The rest, as they say, is history. Hurst scored a hat-trick in England’s finest hour as the Three Lions won the World Cup, while Greaves was left to wonder what might have been.
On a happy footnote, Greaves finally got a winners medal last June, after FIFA finally agreed that all members of a World Cup winning squad should receive one, not just the team that played on the day.
Spurs 1955-1965 - 411 appearances, 19 goals
Centre-half Maurice was in his prime as we won the Double in 1960-61 and retained the FA Cup the following season, yet an England call-up just wouldn’t come his way.
When the selectors finally gave him the nod and drafted Norman into the side, it was just eight days from the start of the 1962 World Cup in Chile and England’s last friendly before they launched their challenge on the Jules Rimet trophy.
Walter Winterbottom’s side took on Peru in Lima and Norman lined up on his international debut alongside Bobby Moore. His Spurs team-mate Jimmy Greaves hit a hat-trick as England triumphed 4-0 and Norman impressed to such an extent that 11 days later, he found himself in the starting XI in England’s World Cup opener against Hungary.
It wasn’t the best tournament for the Three Lions however as they lost twice in the group but progressed on goal difference, only to lose to eventual champions Brazil in the second round.
They began with a 2-1 defeat to Hungary at the Estadio Braden in Rancagua, but bounced back a 3-1 win over Argentina, thanks to goals from Ron Flowers, Bobby Charlton and Greaves. A goalless draw against Bulgaria saw England edge through to meet Brazil.
The reigning champions were always going to present Norman and Moore with a tough test in defence and so it proved. Despite the absence of the injured Pele, Brazil were still able to boast the likes of, Didi, Vava and the flying winger Garrincha, who was in top form.
He fired Brazil ahead, before Gerry Hitchens levelled for England. But further goals from Vava and Garrincha sealed England’s fate and they returned home.
Norman had certainly made his mark however and continued to represent his country with distinction for another two years, winning 23 caps in total