England's greatest triumph came in 1966 on home soil against the old enemy, West Germany, but the nature of Geoff Hurst's winning goal still causes much debate.
This was the second World Cup final to have been settled outside 90 minutes - with the two teams locked at 2-2 when the final whistle blew - and to date, the only final in which a player has netted a hat-trick.
However, the nature of Hurst's second goal ensures that the latter achievement is one that prompts significant controversy to this day.
By the time extra time rolled around, both sides had enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy; Germany had taken the lead through the quick-thinking Helmut Haller, only for Hurst to equalise six minutes later.
With 12 minutes to play, Martin Peters fired England into the lead, but defender Wolfgang Weber netted with a minute to play to send the final to extra time.
It was only the second final - the first being Italy's win over Czechoslovakia in 1934 - not to be settled in 90 minutes, with England coach Alf Ramsey reassuring his side before extra time: "You've won it once. Now you'll have to go out there and win it again."
Ultimately, they did, but Hurst's effort on 101 minutes would overshadow the contest to that point.
Receiving a cross from Alan Ball, Hurst pivoted and slapped a close-range effort towards goal. The ball hit the underside of the bar and then bounced down behind goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski before being hacked clear.
In this era of goalline technology and VAR, there would no longer be any doubt about the goal's validity, but back in 1966, the decision was left to referee Gottfried Dienst and linesman Tofiq Bahramov.
While the former dithered, Bahramov indicated confidently that it was a legitimate goal, and while the motive behind the 'Soviet' linesman's certainly was never truly ascertained, Hurst's effort stood.
Germany pushed men forward during the final 19 minutes in order to salvage something, but Hurst secured English football's finest hour in the 120th minute when - on a break - he fired home as fans began to pour onto the pitch in celebration.
It was, in the words of commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, "all over", although Germany would gain a measure of revenge when Frank Lampard's legitimate goal against them during the 2010 World Cup was incorrectly deemed not to have crossed the line.
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