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A rare relic from English football's finest hour which has been in German hands for the past 40 years finally came home when it sold at auction for £38,400.. The prestigious red No 2 shirt worn by right-back George Cohen during the 1966 World Cup final victory at Wembley was bought by an English bidder for almost double the expected price at auctioneers Christie's.

The anonymous buyer snapped up the unique piece of sporting history that Three Lions hero Cohen had swapped with his West German opponent Lothar Emmerich on the final whistle. Emmerich's family have held on to it until now.

Cohen famously blocked the West German winger's vicious last minute shot which ricocheted into the path of Wolfgang Weber for a late equaliser to take the classic game into extra time.

Fulham star Cohen - who was described by Manchester United legend George Best as "the best full-back I have ever played against" - was one of the five heroes of Alf Ramsey's '66 side to receive an MBE in 2000.

Due to financial hardship in 2000 Cohen was forced to sell his World Cup winner's medal. Fulham, the club he played his whole career at, paid £80,000 to take it back to display at the Craven Cottage museum.

Other team-mates from 1966, including Geoff Hurst and Alan Ball, have also profited from selling their medals to secure their financial future.

Cohen's shirt, which had been given a pre-sale estimate of £20,000, was in remarkably good condition 40 years on from England's triumph, with only a touch of wear and tear.

Christie's spokesman Matthew Paton confirmed that the shirt was now in the the hands of an English supporter.

He said: "Although we have to bear in mind the privacy of our buyers we can confirm that he was a UK private buyer.

"Unsurprisingly, we have now sold two of the 1966s World Cup winners shirts and three winners medals and they have all gone to UK private buyers.

"David Convery, head of sporting memorabilia at Christie's, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the result today for George Cohen's 1966 World Cup final shirt."The shirt had returned to London for the first time since 1966 for the sale.

"The pre-sale exhibition was extremely popular with hundreds of people viewing it on our website so it was no surprise at all that it sold for almost double the presale estimate."

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