Hurst says Capello echoes 1966 supremo Ramsey

Hurst says Capello echoes 1966 supremo Ramsey

Published Jun. 10, 2010 11:17 a.m. ET

The man who scored a hat trick in England's sole World Cup final win 44 years ago believes that current coach Fabio Capello is a similar sort of leader to Alf Ramsey, his 1966 counterpart.

Geoff Hurst, who scored three times in England's 4-2 extra-time win over West Germany, said Thursday that Capello shares Ramsey's ability to instill discipline in a team.

``One player told me privately (that) when they show a video after the game, he picks up on some of the mistakes the players are making and they hate being pointed out, picked out,'' Hurst said. ``There's a sort of nervousness.''

Capello, who is renowned as a tough and demanding coach, has been credited with turning a squad which failed to reach the 2008 European Championship into one of several hoping to challenge favorites Spain and Brazil for the title in South Africa.


Hurst said in an interview with The Associated Press that Ramsey had a similar impact on his squad in the buildup to the 1966 World Cup, which was played in England.

But despite being strict, Hurst said Ramsey knew when to allow the players to relax.

After England's dour and disappointing 0-0 draw with Uruguay in its 1966 opener, Ramsey gave the players a day off and sent them to London's Pinewood Studios to watch the making of a James Bond movie and ``The Double Man,'' starring Yul Brynner.

They were even allowed a glass of wine each.

``To have a glass of wine in a World Cup with Alf Ramsey is priceless because the discipline is so strict, much like they have today,'' Hurst said. ``I have never met anybody with as much power in the game in football and in business in 40 years as Alf had in our group.

``And Fabio Capello, his record is brilliant wherever he's been.''

Capello won the Italian league title seven times with three teams, the Spanish league twice with Real Madrid and also led AC Milan to the Champions League title.

England has reached just one semifinal since 1966 but Hurst said Capello has given England a platform to win again.

Hurst added that England's fortunes rest heavily on the performance of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who Hurst said is ``one of the outstanding players in the world,'' along with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi.

``One player does not make a team, but I must say that it's inconceivable that we can win the World Cup without Wayne Rooney playing up front,'' said Hurst, who is an ambassador for World Cup sponsor McDonald's.

Hurst said Spain deserves its position as favorite to lift the trophy in the July 11 final but that it will be disappointing if England does not at least reach the semifinals.

The only man to score a final hat trick, Hurst joked that his ideal scenario would be for England to win the final 4-0 with Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard scoring twice each.

``If it takes someone to score three, then so be it,'' Hurst said.