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England icon George Cohen's death sparks tributes across football world

Tributes are pouring in across the football world after the death of England's 1996 World Cup-winning right back.

Pictured right, England football great George Cohen, who died at the age of 83.
England football great George Cohen (R) has died at the age of 83. Pic: Getty

Tributes are pouring in across the football world after the death of England's World Cup-winning right back, George Cohen. The Fulham great - who played in every minute of England's first and only World Cup triumph at home in 1966 - died at the age of 83.

Alf Ramsey - the World Cup-winning manager with England in 1966 - called Cohen the country’s “greatest right-back” and the late Manchester United icon George Best once labelled him "the best full back I ever played against”. Cohen, who made 37 appearances for England at right back, spent his entire club career for Fulham, where he made 459 appearances between 1956 and 1969.

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He was forced to retire from the sport at the age of 29, due to a serious knee injury. Fulham confirmed his passing with a beautiful tribute to the football icon on social media.

"Everyone at Fulham Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our greatest ever players — and gentlemen — George Cohen," the Premier League club said in a statement on Friday. "All of our thoughts are with Daphne, his beloved wife of more than 60 years, sons Anthony and Andrew, his grandchildren and extended family, as well as George's many, many friends."

Cohen was vice-captain when England beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium. His death means Geoff Hurst and Sir Bobby Charlton are now the only surviving members of England's World Cup-winning squad. Hurst - who scored a hat trick in the final - paid tribute to his friend and former teammate on social media.

"Very sad to hear my friend and England teammate George Cohen has died. Everyone, without exception, always said that George was such a lovely man. He will be sadly missed, my heartfelt thoughts are with George's wife Daphne and his family," Hurst tweeted.

Players and officials will wear black armbands and a minute's applause will take place before all Premier League matches between 26 and 28 December, as a mark of respect for Cohen. The FA has also planned a tribute for the England great at Wembley in March, when England faces Ukraine.

Fulham recognised Cohen's contribution to the club by unveiling a statue of him at Craven Cottage in 2016 - marking 50 years since his contribution to the country's World Cup triumph.

"I find it absolutely wonderful that they even thought I was worthy of it," Cohen said at the time, according to a tribute posted Friday on the club's website. "Especially as it was alongside Johnny Haynes, the greatest name in Fulham's history."

Seen here, England defender George Cohen bows his head as he shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II after his side's 1966 World Cup triumph at Wembley Stadium.
England defender George Cohen bows his head as he shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II after his side's 1966 World Cup triumph at Wembley Stadium. Pic: Getty (STAFF via Getty Images)

Cohen, who moved into the property business at the end of his sporting career, was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 36 and only received the all-clear from cancer in 1990. He also raised funds for research into dementia, which affected a number of his 1966 teammates. He announced in 2017 he would donate his brain to scientific research upon his death.

The England great's nephew Ben Cohen was also a winner on the global stage, having been part of England's Rugby World Cup triumph in Australia in 2003. Cohen was given the freedom of Hammersmith and Fulham in 2016 in recognition for his football achievements, as well as work into cancer and dementia research and awareness.

Football world pays tribute to George Cohen

Cohen's death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from across the sporting world, with Fulham teammate Alan Mullery telling the BBC: "I've just got a kick in the teeth; he's not been well for some time now. George had a wonderful life, he's got a wonderful family and he was a terrific player to play with." England legend Gary Lineker was also among those to pay his respects on social media.

with agencies

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