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England's first cricket World Cup victory is as controversial as its only football title


Bengaluru, July 16: England won their maiden ICC Cricket World Cup at Lord's on July 14. It was their first win the final in the fourth attempt since 1979.

However, the hosts' victory was marred by some rule controversy as they won the final by the virtue of hitting more boundaries that opponents New Zealand, a criterion that many people found to be frivolous.

In this victory, which is England's biggest in cricket till date, one can draw parallel with their first and only title in the football World Cup as well.

WC Special | Stats

In 1966, Bobby Moore had led the Three Lions to win the football World Cup, but that too was marred by controversies, especially allegations of partiality.

Moore had reportedly said ahead of that tournament that had Pele not been there in the Brazil team, he would have brought the World Cup to his countrymen. Brazil were in a killing form those days, winning the trophy in the previous two editions (1958 and 1962) and were looking to make a hat-trick and bag the Jules Rimet Trophy for ever (they did it anyhow in 1970).

For England, it had become a prestige issue to win the World Cup at least once since in those days of political polarisation in Europe, continental rivals like (West) Germany and Italy had already won the trophy and since it was being hosted on their soil, the Three Lions were desperate to win it.

Pele was kicked out, literally

Brazil were targeted from their very first game. As referees from England and West Germany looked on, European opponents like Bulgaria and Portugal kicked Pele out of the competition while two of Brazil's goals were called invalid. Brazil were ousted in the group stages and it had become easier for England to sail through. The controversies in the World Cup even had impacted England's diplomatic terms with Brazil.

There were other issues related to this World Cup as well - media communication, inadequate facilities for visiting teams, etc. but it was the allegations of partiality that had taken the sheen off England's World Cup win in football.

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 11:22 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 16, 2019
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