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The Football Association Centenary 1863-1963

The Football Association was founded on October 26th 1863 at the Freemason’s Tavern in London as the first and therefore the oldest governing body in football. A number of games were arranged in 1963 to commemorate the FA’s centenary year with the pick of these being a showpiece friendly held at Wembley between England and a FIFA XI that took to the field as the Rest of The World.

England v Rest of the World (FIFA) 1963

This was the first time a combined World XI had played a game against a single nation. The programme notes grandly proclaim that this game was the “greatest football match ever to be staged”. 

There was also some crystal ball gazing going on. The notes continue,

"Now 100 years is past. The future stretches out brightly. What will it bring? Eventually there must be a European League, and possibly a World League. I can see the time, perhaps not so far off, when the top clubs of Europe will have their own jet aircraft for long trips, and helicopters for local derbies!" Prescient eh!

The game attracted a huge 100000 sell-out crowd and no wonder for some of the best players in the World turned out. Seven of the England team for this game were later part of the World Cup winning squad of 1966 whilst the Rest of the World team featured some of the greatest players ever to grace the hallowed turf. 

England: Gordon Banks (Leicester C); Jimmy Armfield (Blackpool); Ray Wilson (Huddersfield T); Gordon Milne (Liverpool); Maurice Norman (Spurs); Bobby Moore (West Ham); Terry Paine (Southampton); Jimmy Greaves (Spurs); Bobby Smith (Spurs); George Eastham (Arsenal); Bobby Charlton (Man Utd)

Rest of the World: Lev Yashin (USSR); Djalma Santos (Brazil); Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (W Germany); Svatopluk Pluskal (Czechoslovakia); Jan Popluhar (Czechoslovakia); Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia); Raymond Kopa (France); Dennis Law (Scotland); Alfredo di Stefano (Spain); Eusebio (Portugal); Francisco Gento (Spain).

ROW Used substitutes: Milutin Soskic (Yugoslavia); Luis Eizaguirre (Chile); Jim Baxter (Scotland); Uwe Seeler (W Germany); Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)

Just look at that Rest of the World side. WOW! Packed full of footballling legends. But it was the stars of England that triumphed in this game. Terry Paine put the English one up part way through the second half. Dennis Law equalised for ROW with only eight minutes left before Jimmy Greaves popped up to bag a last minute goal and seal a famous victory for England.

Were you at the game? If you’ve got any memories of this game then please do share them in the comments below.

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