England’s World Cup hero George Cohen dies aged 83

Last Updated on December 23, 2022 by

England have lost another member of their 1966 World Cup winning squad after Fulham legend George Cohen died aged 83.

Cohen, a one-club player at Craven Cottage, made his Three Lions debut in a 2-1 win against Uruguay in 1962 and established himself as first-choice defender Sir Alf Ramsey in the domestic tournament four years later.

He was vice-captain as England beat West Germany in the final at Wembley, and played his last international game just a year later, making England’s first XI of -1966 that he stopped playing for his country.

“Everyone associated with Fulham Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our greatest players – and gentlemen – George Cohen MBE,” the Cottagers said in a statement.

‘A one-club man, George made 459 appearances for his beloved Whites, in addition to earning 37 caps for England, with whom he won the World Cup in 1966.’

After Cohen’s death, only Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst remained as surviving members of the starting XI that triumphed 56 years ago. In total, only five members of Ramsey’s squad are still alive: Charlton, Hurst, George Eastham, Terry Paine and Ian Callaghan.

The exact cause of Cohen’s death is still unknown.

England legend George Cohen (left), a member of the 1966 World Cup team, has died aged 83, it has been announced

Cohen, the England vice-captain, met the late Queen at Wembley during the 1966 World Cup

The former right-back, pictured left, played the full game as England cruised to a 4-2 victory to seal what remains the country’s only World Cup

Cohen (pictured second right) celebrates with Nobby Stiles, Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson and Geoff Hurst after the game

The death of Cohen, who appeared third from the left after England won the final, means that only two members of the starting XI are alive today – Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst

Cohen cuts the grass at his home in Chessington as his wife Daphne follows after England’s tour of South America in 1964

Incredibly, George’s grandson, Ben (right), won the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003, after winning in Sydney.

Incredibly, Cohen’s grandson, Ben, was in England’s Rugby World Cup winning squad in 2003 after beating Australia in the final in Sydney.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Daphne, his sons Anthony and Andrew, his grandchildren and extended family.

Cohen was born in Cassidy Road, Fulham, west London, just after the outbreak of the Second World War. Half his family supported nearby Chelsea and the other half Fulham.

He joined his local football club from Fulham Central secondary school, where he was head boy. The school is now Fulham Cross Academy.

Cohen’s main attributes were his speed and strength, and he made his senior debut in a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in March 1957, aged 17.

He played with the Cottars between 1956 and 1969, where he scored six goals. Only five other players made more appearances than Cohen’s 459 for the club.

Cohen would have played more games if his career had not been cut short by a serious knee injury, which forced him to retire at the age of 29.

Cohen was a one-club legend and played for his local club, Fulham, from 1956 to 1969, making 459 appearances for the west London side.

The former right defender was born in Fulham and made his debut against Liverpool in March 1957, a game which his team lost 2-1.

Cohen (back, third left) pictured with his Fulham teammates outside Craven Cottage in 1964

Cohen (left) pictured with Fulham teammate Bobby Robson (centre) and Tony Macedo (right). Only five players made more appearances for the Cottagers

Cohen (second right) listens to advice from Fulham manager Vic Buckingham after a training session in Ewell, Surrey

Cohen was awarded a medal by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for being part of England’s historic triumph in 1966

He married his wife, Daphne (left) when he was 23 and the couple moved to Chessington, Surrey, then Worcester Park in South West London

Public vote in Channel 4 documentary names Cohen as England’s greatest right-back, ahead of Gary Neville and Phil Neal

For England, he was an integral part of Ramsey’s tactical set-up in 1966, with his attacking prowess offering a threat on the wing forward. His cross to Charlton led to a crucial goal that helped England beat Portugal in the semi-finals.

A Channel 4 documentary named Cohen as England’s greatest ever right-back, as decided by the public, placing him ahead of Gary Neville and Phil Neal.

Cohen married Daphne when he was 23 and the couple settled in Chessington, Surrey, before later moving to Worcester Park.

In 2016, Cohen was honored with the freedom of Hammersmith & Fulham, and a statue of him was unveiled by Fulham chairman Shahid Khan to commemorate the club legend and mark the 50th anniversary of England’s World Cup triumph.

He was awarded an MBE in 2000, along with Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Nobby Stiles and Roger Hunt, following a campaign which called for their achievement to be recognised.

Cohen is the latest member of the 1966 first team to die after Hunt, Liverpool’s second highest goalscorer of all time, died aged 83 in September last year another after a long illness.

Here’s what happened to the rest of the England team that started the 1966 World Cup final.

Gordon Banks – One of the most distinguished goalkeepers of English football, Banks played 73 times for England in addition to 356 matches for Leicester City and 250 for Stoke City. He pulled off one of the best saves ever seen to deny Brazil’s Pele a certain goal in the 1970 World Cup. Banks died in February 2019 at the age of 81.

Jack Charlton – The centre-back was another who played for just one club, spending a remarkable 21 years in the Leeds United squad and amassing 762 games and 95 goals. This included a league title, FA Cup and League Cup wins and two European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup successes. He played 35 times for England and later led the Republic of Ireland in three major tournaments. He died in July 2020 aged 85 after suffering from lymphoma and dementia.

Bobby Moore – One of the greatest defenders to ever play the game, Moore captained England to glory in 1966, famously wiping his hands to avoid soiling the Queen’s pristine white gloves during the presentation of the trophy. He spent most of his career at West Ham, making 647 appearances and captaining them for over a decade. Pele described Moore as the best defender he had ever faced. Moore died aged 51 in February 1993 after suffering from bowel and liver cancer.

Captain Bobby Moore tries to retrieve the Jules Rimet Trophy from goalkeeper Gordon Banks in the victory lap.

Jack Charlton, who died in 2020 at the age of 85, throws the trophy around Wembley after England’s World Cup triumph.

Ray Wilson – Left back who played for Everton in the 1966 victory after starting his career at Huddersfield Town. He had lifted the FA Cup at Wembley just before the World Cup glory. Wilson won 63 caps for England and also played in the finals of Euro 1968. He was the oldest player in the England team in the 1966 finals at 31. He died in May 2018, aged 83 , after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for 14 years.

Nobby Stiles – Danced on the Wembley pitch with the Jules Rimet trophy in one hand and false teeth in the other. Stiles was a no-nonsense defensive midfielder tasked with hunting down dangerous opposition players and winning the ball back. In the semi-final against Portugal, he marked Eusebio out of the game. He spent most of his career at Manchester United, achieving great success. He died in October 2020 at the age of 78. He had prostate cancer and advanced dementia.

Alan Ball – The midfielder was admired by Ramsey for his stamina and hard work, which won him 72 caps for his country. He moved from Blackpool to Everton in the summer of ’66 and later played for Arsenal and Southampton before going into management. He died of a heart attack in April 2007 at the age of 61.

Toothless Nobby Stiles (right) and Alan Ball (left) celebrate on the pitch after beating West Germany in the 1966 final

Bobby Charlton nets England’s winner against Portugal in the 1966 World Cup semi-final to seal a 2-1 win

‘They think it’s all over… now’ as Geoff Hurst completes his hat-trick with England’s fourth goal in the final

Bobby Charlton – England legend who was the national team’s record scorer with 49 until he was overtaken by Wayne Rooney. When he retired from international duty in 1970, he was also the team’s record goalscorer on 106. A long and remarkable career was dominated by 17 years in the Manchester United first team which saw him survive the disaster of -air of Munich and wins the European Cup for ten years. later on. Now 85, Charlton was diagnosed with dementia in 2020.

Martin Peters – West Ham’s Peters scored the second of England’s four goals against West Germany. It was only his eighth cap but he would go on to win 67, scoring 20 times. He played more than 700 matches in his professional career with West Ham, Tottenham, Norwich and Sheffield United. Another Alzheimer’s sufferer later in life, he died in December 2019 aged 76.

Roger Hunt – Hunt played in all six games in the 1966 tournament, scoring three goals including a brace against France. He spent most of his club career at Liverpool, scoring 244 goals in 404 games as he established himself as a prolific goalscorer. He died at the age of 83 in September 2021.

Geoff Hurst – Perhaps the best known of the 1966 heroes and certainly to a modern generation, Hurst scored a hat-trick to sink West Germany. His third goal, in the closing stages of extra time was accompanied by Kenneth Wolstenholme’s immortal commentary: ‘They think it’s all over… now!’ He scored 24 goals in 49 games in England, played in two other tournaments and was prolific for West Ham, with 242 goals in 500 appearances. He is now 81 years old.