Bonetti's international career was somewhat unfortunate. He emerged in an era of talented English goalkeepers and thus faced stiff competition for a place in the side, particularly from Ron Springett and Gordon Banks, and later on Peter Shilton, which limited him to just seven caps. He was a member of England's successful 1966 World Cup squad, but didn't make an appearance. His career with the England national side is also largely remembered for one match – the 1970 FIFA World Cup quarter-final against West Germany in Mexico, when he was thrust into the starting line-up as a late replacement for Banks, who was suffering from food poisoning. During the match England let slip a 2–0 lead and lost 3–2 after extra time, with Bonetti one of the scapegoats, although he could be reasonably faulted for only one of the three goals conceded. That game was his only ever World Cup appearance. He conceded one goal in his other six international matches.
In the 1966 World Cup final only the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the 4–2 win over West Germany received medals. Following a Football Association led campaign to persuade FIFA to award medals to all the winners’ squad members, Bonetti was presented with his medal by Gordon Brown at a ceremony at 10 Downing Street on 10 June 2009