x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Quick wits gave him vital edge

With six days to go until kick-off, we pick our all-time XI.

There were not many critics of the immaculate Bobby Moore, but those who did try to find fault with England's 1966 World Cup winning captain suggested his lack of pace denied him the right to stand along the all-time greats of the game. Moore's speed of thought enabled him to steal a yard on those mercurial strikers whose talents he attempted to snuff out, and his precision tackling ensured that he was rarely embarrassed.

Although receiving the Jules Rimet Trophy from Queen Elizabeth after leading England to an extra time Wembley victory over West Germany was the highlight of Moore's exceptional career, he probably peaked at the Mexico finals four years later. Then he was in command of a more mature, more accomplished England line-up who were regarded as unfortunate not to go all the way again. His warm bare-chested post-match embrace with Pele, the Brazilian superstar he had marked so effectively in a group fixture which Brazil won 1-0, remains one of the World Cup's magical moments. And his perfectly timed tackle on Jairzinho, scorer of the decisive goal in that encounter, was regarded as one on one which defensive text books should be based. @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae

Goalkeeper: Gordon Banks Right-back: Cafu Left-back: Paolo Maldini Sweeper: Franz Beckenbauer Centre-back: Bobby Moore Tomorrow: Left midfielder