As Good as a Mile

I’ve seen the ‘they think it’s all over…’ video of the 1966 final several times over recent weeks and was struck by a ‘what if?’ question that hadn’t occurred to me before. What if Tofik Bakhramov hadn’t given that third England goal in extra-time?

It is pertinent in light of the Lampard ghost goal last weekend and the endless debate about what might have happened had it been given. Would the England players have taken heart? Would the shaky German defence have crumbled? Would England have been more patient, rather than pushing on and exposing themselves to the counter-attack? In short, would it have changed the outcome of the match?

Applying the same logic to 1966, what if Geoff Hurst’s second goal had been ruled out? Would the Germans have been less frantic to score an equaliser at the end of extra-time and not been open to the runaway third of Hurst’s hat-trick?

And that’s my question — if it had finished 2-2, how would the match have been decided? I’ve even emailed the Danny Baker show on FiveLive for an answer, but I haven’t had one yet,  so this is what I think would have happened.

As far as I can work out, in 1934 and 1938, drawn games at the knockout stage were resolved by replays, while the dreaded penalty shootout came into play from 1974. In between times, the rules said that drawn games would be decided by drawing lots. The rule was never invoked, but presumably this is what would have happened in ’66.

I can only guess what form this would have taken. Shortest/longest straw? The toss of a coin? Or coloured pebbles drawn from a bag, Athenian democracy style?

I rather fancy the latter with a twist of the American firing squad blank bullet system.

Ten balls in a bag, nine white, one black. Five players from each side draw a ball and put into their own team’s bag without looking. The team that ends up with the black ball loses. And no one player is singled out for ridicule/death threats like they are when they miss in a penalty shootout.

Mind you, what they’d really miss would be the extra dosh for advertising Pizza Hut.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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