The dawn of a new age for football
Blanket media coverage, a global TV audience of hundreds of millions, an official mascot and mountains of merchandise, record attendances in upgraded stadiums, wild goal celebrations and glamorous WAGs.
All these things have come to be expected of the World Cup as we approach the 2014 finals in Brazil, but they were equally evident when England hosted the event back in 1966.
Kenneth Wolstenholme famously uttered the phrase "they think it's all over" as Geoff Hurst prepared to strike the final blow in England's victory over West Germany at Wembley, but did '1966 and all that' in fact signal the start of modern football as we now know it?
The stars of the show
Excessive celebrations, interest in their "relations" and stratospheric remuneration - the blueprint for the world of the modern football player emerged blinking into the light in 1966.
The increase in over-familiar frolicking in the wake of goals scored during the '66 World Cup led to a hand-wringing debate in the TV studio on whether this sort of thing was appropriate. Soon enough, Roger Milla's quickstep by the corner flag and Bebeto's baby-rocking routine would lead people to pine for the days when players satisfied themselves with a simple hug and a kiss.
People may also be surprised to know that the fascination with WAGs didn't begin with Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole et al in Baden Baden in 2006. The wives and girlfriends of the England squad were equally fêted in 1966, invited onto the panel of World Cup report and accompanying the team as they were hailed by the gathered crowds outside their celebratory banquet at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.
At a time when the average national wage was under £100-a-week, the England squad received a bonus of £1000 each for winning the World Cup (plus £60 for each appearance). England captain Bobby Moore's preparation for the tournament had been blighted by a contract dispute with his club, West Ham United, over his demand for a £10-a-week raise.
While Moore and his team-mates were undoubtedly well rewarded, it was the generations of players who followed that have benefited most from the game's global explosion in popularity. By the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the average weekly wage of a premiership player was more than 50 times that of the UK average.
The small screen gets bigger
While not the first tournament to be televised, the 1966 World Cup heralded a sea change in the quantity and quality of football coverage.
Four years earlier British viewers had to wait several days to see games from Chile, but in 1966 games were broadcast live to homes across the UK and were available for the first time live via satellite in up to 75 countries.
England's victory over West Germany in the final was watched by 38 million people in the UK, with over ten times that number tuning in worldwide. While these figures were truly astonishing at the time, Fifa reported that there were almost 1 billion viewers "in every known territory" for the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.
Live global coverage was not the only aspect of television coverage pioneered in 1966. Slow-motion replays were introduced to help the audience assess controversial incidents (although they weren't much help for Geoff Hurst's hotly disputed goal in the final) and the BBC employed a rotating panel of 16 pundits to provide expert analysis.
All told, the presentation team was only marginally smaller than that being put together by the BBC for Brazil 2014, where the influence of this early template for football broadcasting will be plain to see.
Mascots and marketing
The 1966 World Cup blazed a trail in the commercialisation of football. World Cup Willie was the first official mascot and appeared on all manner of official merchandise. By the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, marketing accounted for almost one third of Fifa's profit from the tournament.
A cultural revolution
News bulletins broadcast during the 1966 World Cup reveal a country, and a world, in the midst of sweeping change.
In the days leading up to England's first appearance in the World Cup final, the British government proposed prison sentences for pirate radio operators, the Church of England recommended sweeping changes to divorce laws, the pop star Donovan was charged with drug offences and a 'colour bar' on black workers at Euston railway station in London was ended.
Globally, American bombers were making a record numbers of raids during the Vietnam War, there was mutiny among the military administration in Nigeria as civil war edged closer and the South African government made moves to extend its apartheid policy.
The Labour government announced a six-month pay freeze affecting six million workers the day before England's showdown with Germany, so it was perhaps just as well that Prime Minister Harold Wilson was out of the country. He was busy in foreign fields, namely the White House, meeting President Johnson as part of a round of shuttle diplomacy designed to hasten peace in Vietnam.
It was a meeting that almost caused Wilson to miss English football's finest hour. Cutting it fine in a manner almost unthinkable to a modern politician faced with potential sporting triumph, the Prime Minister only arrived at half-time.
The fact that he made it at all was in many ways a defining moment. Football was beginning to move from the margins to the mainstream of English culture.
World Cup contrasts
Has football's revolution been positive?
The 1966 World Cup heralded football's modernisation, bringing change to all aspects of the sport. What does it mean for fans, players and the game itself?