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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 02:07 GMT
Brown tips England for World Cup
Gordon Brown (centre) with Trevor Brooking (L) and Geoff Hurst
England will be vying for the World Cup 40 years after last winning it
Scot Gordon Brown got to grips with the World Cup at a Parliamentary football event - then tipped England to lift the trophy next year.

"I cannot remember a more talented England squad from back to front than this one," the chancellor said.

Mr Brown, a Raith Rovers fan, was at a showing of the World Cup trophy for MPs and peers.

He was handed the cup by 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst and FA director Sir Trevor Brooking.

Sir Geoff scored a hat trick when England won the World Cup, beating West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 final at Wembley.

But as many Scottish football fans are quick to point out, the World Cup-winning side were beaten 3-2 at home by Scotland's "Wembley wizards" nine months later - and the two nations remain fierce footballing rivals to this day.

Admiring the trophy and reflecting on England's 3-2 defeat of Argentina in Geneva on Saturday, Mr Brown said it was "great" to have the World Cup on English soil.

"And after Saturday's performance against Argentina, there is real belief the England team can bring it back again next summer - 40 years on from that glorious afternoon in 1966, where Sir Geoff's goals won the day," he said.

"There have been so many great English players since then, Sir Trevor amongst them, but I cannot remember a more talented England squad from back to front than this one," said Mr Brown - whose home nation missed out on qualification for the finals.

Fifa, soccer's world governing body, is displaying the trophy in countries which will appear in the finals, to be staged in Germany in the summer.

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