West Ham United's three musketeers had played integral roles in securing England's swashbuckling 1966 FIFA World Cup victory.

And Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters again carried the hopes of the nation down Mexico way, four years later.

By then, Peters had joined Tottenham Hotspur in a British record, £200,000 transfer that saw fellow 1966 champion Jimmy Greaves head to the Boleyn Ground.

Another of England's heroes, Moore, saw his participation in Mexico 1970 put under threat when he was placed under house arrest in Colombia after being accused of stealing a bracelet from the Green Fire jewellery shop inside Bogota's Tequendama Hotel.

As his team-mates flew to Mexico, the marooned Moore was left sweating over the charges that could scupper four years of preparation for the greatest show on earth.

But as he finally greeted his freed skipper on the tarmac at Guadalajara Airport after seeing him released on condition that he undertook to visit any Colombian consulate, if requested, a grateful Sir Alf Ramsey announced: "Welcome back Bobby - it's good to see you."

Reunited with his equally relieved team-mates, Moore looked unflustered by his harrowing ordeal as he led England out for their opening Group C match against Romania, where Hurst's header got England off to a winning start in the rarefied atmosphere of the Jalisco Stadium.

Indeed, the second match saw Moore have one of the greatest games of his career jousting with a brilliant Brazilian side containing the likes of Pele, Carlos Alberto, Tostao and Rivelino.

A record crowd of 70,900 witnessed a classic as an England side also containing Hurst missed their chances, while Jairzinho forced goalkeeper Gordon Banks into a first-half wonder save before netting the second-half winner that helped him on his way to scoring in every single one of the South Americans' half-dozen matches.

"See you in the final," recalled Bobby in Moore on Mexico looking back on the moment when he famously swapped shirts with Pele at the final whistle.

"I think you will," replied the Brazilian legend who was destined to go on to help his country become the first nation to lift the trophy three times with a 4-1 win over Italy.

Geoff Hurst
Geoff Hurst in action against Brazil at Mexico 1970

With Hurst rested for the final group game, debutant Allan Clarke slammed home a crucial penalty in a 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia to set up a quarter-final meeting with their 1966 adversaries, West Germany.

Despite the absence of the food-poisoned Banks, Alan Mullery and Peters sent England racing into a 2-0 lead as some of the England players taunted the wilting Germans with cries of 'Auf Wiedersehen'.

But as Franz Beckenbauer pulled one back and Sir Alf Ramsey withdrew Bobby Charlton and Peters in preparation for an impending semi-final, Uwe Seeler levelled before Gerd Muller nicked a vengeful 3-2 victory in extra-time.

"People said that we had a better side in Mexico than we did in 1966 but good teams win things and the 1970 squad didn't," concluded Peters who, like both Moore and Hurst, would never step onto the World Cup stage again.

Hurst, who netted 24 goals in 49 England appearances added without regret: "Despite Mexico, I had a good career and when you've scored three goals in a World Cup final you tend to be reasonably happy. I played at a great time for British football - we won the World Cup, Manchester United and Celtic won the European Cup, the crowds were at their height and we had George Best, Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves to name but a few."

But the final word on Mexico 1970 goes to the 108-times capped Moore: "We had faced a tremendous task in defending our title thousands of miles from home in a strange country, under crippling conditions and, speaking as skipper, I do not see how Sir Alf can be blamed. I will always be frustrated by the events of Bogota and our defeats by Brazil and West Germany. Mexico could have been all so different."