Striker Geoff Hurst, whose hatrick helped England to World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966, launched them on a successful start to their title defence in Mexico today (Tuesday.
Striker Geoff Hurst, whose hatrick helped England to World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966, launched them on a successful start to their title defence in Mexico today (Tuesday. An opportunist goal by Hurst gave the champions a 1-0 victory over Rumania in the opening Group Three match at Guadalajara.
Hurst's match winner came in the 64th minute, just as England had begun to despair of breaking through Rumania's tough-tackling rearguard.
Tommy Wright, a second-half substitute for injury victim Keith Newton, started the move with a pass to Alan Ball. The hard running midfield players sent a perfect 20 yard pass to Hurst, who rounded Ion Dumitru before sliding the ball into the net at close range.
In contrast to the lack-lustre game between Mexico and Russia which opened the 1970 World Cup series on Sunday, England and Rumania produced an early display of close passing and quickly mounted attacks.
But their approach work to goal lacked penetration. Both sides carved out scoring chances, only to squander them.
After the goalless first half, England came out after the interval with a greater sense of purpose, and the Rumanian defence was hurried into some robust tackling. Once Hurst had scored his all-important goal, England took control of the match and gave Rumania little chance of drawing level.