CAIRO – 22 November 2022: England hosted the World Cup in 1966, and despite being the birthplace of the beautiful game, it never actually won the cup.
Fifty-four million Englishmen were hoping to end their losing streak on home soil, so four months before kick-off, amidst a storm of fanfare, the World Cup was displayed in Central Hall Westminster, the event venue in the heart of London, like a stamp exhibition display.
Named after Jules Rimet, who launched the World Cup, this trophy was a marvel. "It's a work of art and a subject of great historical interest," said Simon Cooper, football expert and co-author of Soccernomics.
Designed by sculptor Abel Lafleur in 1929 and made of silver plated gold and lapis lazuli, it depicted the ancient Greek goddess of victory, according to the Washington Post.
Just a day after the exhibition began, the trophy disappeared. The guards were clueless as to how this happened. One said, "There was absolutely nothing wrong with our security. The trophy was just stolen." The news spread around the world, and England became an international laughing stock. A sports official from Brazil, who won two World Cups, described the theft as "a sacrilege that could not have been committed in Brazil" because Brazilian gangs revere soccer.
On March 21, Joe Mears, the chairman of The Football Association (FA), the governing body for football in England, received a dismissal.
A man named David Corbett took his dog Pickles for a walk in south London. Pickles was playing on the floor when Corbett noticed a package just laying over there, wrapped in newspaper. It was the World Cup trophy.