Dortmund, Germany (AP) — Hans Tilkowski, the West Germany goalkeeper in the 1966 World Cup final against England, has died. He was 84.
German soccer club Borussia Dortmund said Monday that Tilkowski died Sunday following “a long, severe illness,” and that he had been with his family.
Tilkowski was best known outside Germany for conceding England’s third goal in extra time in the 1966 final, with the score at 2-2, when Geoff Hurst’s shot hit the bar and bounced downward. The decision to award the goal started decades of debate and much-disputed video analysis. Tilkowski always said he was sure the ball did not fully cross the line.
England won the game 4-2.
Hurst, whose three goals for England in the final made him a national hero, paid tribute to Tilkowski on Twitter on Monday.
“Terrific player for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country and a very fine man,” Hurst wrote. “I very much enjoyed the time we spent together over the years.”
In his statement of condolences, German soccer federation president Fritz Keller said Tilkowski would have been a worthy World Cup winner.
“The title of world champion would have been the deserved culmination of his career with the national team,” Keller said. “He was not only an excellent player, but he also was very involved in society off the field. For me, he’s among German football’s greatest personalities and his death is a painful loss for the (federation) and for the football family.”
In addition to his 39 games for West Germany, Tilkowski won the German Cup in 1965 and Cup Winners’ Cup the following year with Dortmund. Beating Liverpool 2-1 in Glasgow in the Cup Winners’ Cup final in May 1966 made Dortmund the first German club to win a major European competition.
“With Hans Tilkowski, German football has lost a player who was also highly regarded internationally,” Dortmund president Reinhard Rauball said in a statement.