Football: Germany's 1966 World Cup final 'ghost-goal' custodian Hans Tilkowski dies at 84

Hans Tilkowski won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 1965 before clinching the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later.
Hans Tilkowski won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 1965 before clinching the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later.PHOTO: DPA

BERLIN (AFP) - Former Germany goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski, who conceded a controversial Geoff Hurst "ghost-goal" at the 1966 World Cup football final, has died at the age of 84, his family told AFP subsidiary SID on Monday (Jan 6).

During the England v West Germany final at Wembley, Tilkowski, who made 39 international appearances, was beaten by Hurst's shot which hit the crossbar and was adjudged to have crossed the line during extra-time before England went on to lift the trophy 4-2.

The incident continues to leave a mark on German football, where the term "Wembley-goal" is used to describe goal efforts which are difficult to validate.

In English, "Russian linesman" is a term sometimes used to describe controversial refereeing decisions after Azeri Tofik Bahkramov, from the then Soviet Union, gave the green light to the goal.

"I will die with the certitude that the ball didn't cross the line," Tilkowski said of the incident.

England's goalkeeper in that game, Gordon Banks, died at age 81 in February while the other England scorer, Martin Peters, died just before Christmas aged 76.

Hat-trick hero Hurst, who had been informed of Tilkowski's death by the family, paid tribute to the former custodian as a "terrific player" and "fine man".

"Very sad to receive a call earlier to let me know that Germany's goalkeeper from 66 World Cup, Hans Tilkowski, has died," the 78-year-old tweeted.

"Terrific player for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country and a very fine man, I very much enjoyed the time we spent together over the years."

Tilkowski won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 1965 before clinching the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later.