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HD Settles World Cup Controversy

19 May 2006

A forty year old argument over one of the most hotly disputed moments in football has finally been settled by modern high definition technology.

For the first time since it was shot 40 years ago the famous British Pathe colour footage of the 1966 World Cup final has been transferred into high definition video.

“It didn’t cross the line,” says ITN Archive Commercial Director, Chris O’Hearn.

“The footage shows the line in almost full view as the ball bounces down from the bar. It hardly crossed the line at all, and certainly didn’t cross completely as it should have done to be legitimate. I don’t know who should feel bad, England or German supporters but that’s what it shows,” O’Hearn said.

The beautifully clear images have a perfect view of England’s controversial third goal by Geoff Hurst, which has been the subject of argument from the moment the Russian linesman ruled it had gone in.

It put England ahead 3-2 in extra time and made the Germans chase the game, giving away the fourth goal in the dying seconds.

Analysis of the goal has suffered from the limitations of video but it’s now in perfectly sharp, unblurred digital images.

The footage was originally shot by British Pathe on 35mm film. While television audiences watched in black and white on the BBC, cinema newsreels were able to show the British Pathe footage in glorious Technicolor.

Around 14 minutes of the final game still exists, including iconic scenes from the famous victory lap by England’s World Cup heroes.

ITN Archive, which represents the British Pathe collection, has had the entire film transferred into HD ahead of the 2006 World Cup, which will be the first to be screened in high definition.

The World Cup footage was taken from a 35mm camera negative, cleaned and scanned using a Spirit telecine transfer onto HDCAM SR 1080p at 24fps.

Thousands of hours of newsreel footage including British Pathe, Gaumont British and British Paramount are available in HD compatible 35mm film from ITN Archive.

Christopher O’Hearn
Commercial Director, ITN Archive
+44 20 7430 4287

Frame grabs and footage are available from ITN Archive for news access only. Please credit ITN Archive or


ITN Archive is the world’s leading broadcast footage source.

It comprises nearly 700,000 hours of footage covering the entire history of moving images from 1896 to the present day. ITN Archive has a unique collection of footage from exclusive representation of Reuters Television, Channel 4, Granada, British Pathe, Fox News, Fox Movietone, Airtime, Survival and other collections.