From wonderkid to world-beater: George Best's first five seasons in photographs

2. Internationalist

14 Nov 1964: Best scores his first goal for Northern Ireland, an equaliser in a World Cup qualifier in Switzerland. Best played in all six qualifiers for the 1966 World Cup, to be hosted in England, but Bertie Peacock's team finished a point behind the Swiss. They had beaten the Swiss 1-0 at Windsor Park but couldn't hold on to the parity Best had given them in Lausanne, losing 2-1. 

Indeed, their away form would cost them qualification from the four-team group: they won all three at home but a disappointing draw in Albania - the hosts' only point of the campaign - denied them the chance to finish level with Switzerland and force a play-off.  

It was the closest Best got to a World Cup - Northern Ireland finished two points behind the Soviet Union in the race to Mexico '70, while they were five points off Bulgaria's pace for Germany '74 and six points behind the Dutch for Argentina '78… although being in the Oranje's group did give Best the chance to seek out and nutmeg Johan Cruyff. 


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