Helmut Haller

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Helmut Haller (Associated Press/Tim Ockenden)
FRANKFURT (AP) — Helmut Haller, who scored the first goal of the 1966 World Cup final and was one of the first Germans to play in Italy, died late Thursday at his home in Augsburg after a long illness. He was 73.

Haller put Germany ahead in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium, but England won the title 4-2 in extra time.

"He was one of the best teammates I've ever had," Franz Beckenbauer said.

Haller, who had been in ill health for several years, won Italian championships with Bologna (1964) and Juventus (1972 and 1973).

Germany players will wear black armbands in the World Cup qualifier against Ireland later Friday and Haller will be honored before the match against Sweden on Tuesday.

Haller played 33 games for Germany and scored 13 goals, including six at the 1966 World Cup.

"Helmut Haller was an outstanding personality of German football," said Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German football federation. "His achievements, especially at the 1966 World Cup, remain unforgettable."

Haller played for his hometown side Augsburg before moving to Bologna in 1962, where he played until 1968. He then joined Juventus and stayed there until 1973, when he returned to Augsburg.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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