The unknown connection between cricket and Fifa World Cup finals
France footballer Kylian Mbappe became the latest football player to record a hat-trick in the FIFA World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday (December 18). But do you know, Mbappe is not the only player to record the feat? And that the individual who holds the record also happens to be a former first-class cricketer?
Yes, Geoff Hurst, known in the cricketing community as the ex Essex county cricket player, remains the only first-class cricketer ever to have also scored a FIFA World Cup final hat-trick to his name. He became the first football player in the history of the sport to produce three goals in a World Cup final.
He achieved his feat during the 1966 FIFA World Cup final played in London's famous Wembley Stadium, helping England come out triumphant at the quadrennial event for the first time. That remains the last time England won the FIFA crown, reason why Hurst stands so fresh in the fans' memories.
Before Mbappe, the only person to score a hat-trick in FIFA World Cup Final, had also played first-class cricket.— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) December 18, 2022
Geoff Hurst in 1966 final
Played cricket for Essex
Meet Geoff Hurst
Hurst played only one first-class match, which came during the 1961-62 County Championship season for Essex. In that game, he didn't ball but got the chance to play his two innings. However, the player couldn't open his account on the batting front either, finishing with no runs on the board is only game of cricket ever.
Record, though, belies the word of mouth in favour of Hurst's cricketing abilities, with many lauding his fielding brilliance and his wicketkeeping skills back in the day. But the man's football commitments meant he could only dedicate his service to cricket for a span of one first-class game.
Back in the time when football took the professional route earlier than cricket, and provided a stronger and more secured livelihood to sportspersons, it would've been an easier choice for the now 81-year-old.
In love with football, Sir Geoff Hurst was there to witness Argentina clinch another FIFA final to their name over France.
Many congratulations to Mbappe, whatever happens. I've had a great run!— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) December 18, 2022
Despite the result, Hurst made it a point to congratulate Mbappe for his brilliance and for equalling his record.