Euro Gold (1960-2000) (1 Viewer)

Aug 1, 2003
17,678
#1
A brief review.

France 1960

The first championship, then known as the European Nations Cup, drew a cautious response. Only 17 countries entered; the absentees included Italy, West Germany and England.

The qualifying formula was a direct elimination knockout system with home and away legs. THen the semi-finals and Final were played as a tournament.

Cold War politics threatened to kill off the event almost as soon as it had begun. After beating Hungary, the Soviet Union were drawn against Spain in the quarter-finals, but Spanish dictator General Franco refused the Soviets entry to his country.

UEFA awarded the tie to the USSR, who thus qualified for the finals, staged in France.

In the semis, the Soviet Union, with the great Lev Yashin in goal, threashed Czechoslovakia 3-0 in Marseille; the hosts, hit by the absence of injured forawrd Just Fontaine and schemer Raymond Kopa, lost a thriller against Yugoslavia, 5-4, at the old Parc des Princes in Paris.

The same venue staged the Final. The first goal was almost an own goal, Soviet skipper Igor Netto deflecting in a shot from Milan Galic. But right winger Slava Metreveli equalised and forward Viktor Ponedelnik claimed an extra time winner for the Soviets.

Spain 1964

The Soviet Union, the holders, were favourites to retain the trophy in its second edition. In 1960, Spain had refused to play the Soviets for political reasons. Four years on, they not only provided a host's welcome for them, but they also met them in the Final - and beat them.

The tournament format was the same as in 1960, with the early rounds played on a home-and-away basis. In the quarter finals, Spain beat the Republic of Ireland 7-1 on aggregate, while the Soviet Union accounted for Sweden 4-2. Denmark and hungary also qualified for the finals.

The Danes were well beaten by the Soviets in their Barcelona semi final, 3-0. Spain, meanwhile, relied heavily on the midfield brilliance of Luis Suarez, who had developed a wonderful understanding with speedy right winger Amancio. The pair sparked a 2-1 win over Hungary in Madrid.

Spain, coached by the shrewd Jose Villalonga, took an early lead in the Madrid-staged Final, through Barcelona's Jesus Pereda. But they stayed ahead for just two minutes, with Galmizyan Khusainov striking back for the Soviets. However, a late second half goal from Zaragoza forward Marcelino was the signal for Spanish celebrations.

Italy 1968

For the second tournament in succession, the hosts ended up as champions. But unlike Spain for years earlier, Italy struggled and teetered on the brink of failure before defeating a ruggedly skillful Yugoslavia in a replayed Final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

By now the European Championship was recognised as a major success and an established feature of the international football calendar. more and more countries applied to take part, so UEFA converted the qualifying competition from the direct elimination knockout system used in the first two editions into a mini-league formula.

Italy, under the managership of Ferruccio Valcareggi, overcame Cyprus, Switzerland and Romania in their qualifying group, and then Bulgaria in the knockout quarter-finals to reach the finals tournament.

The other finalists were the experienced Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, as well as world champions England, who had beaten European Championship holders Spain in the quarter-finals.

Italy brought to the finals a squad that included great figures such as goalkeeper Dino Zoff, left back and captain Giacino Facchetti and attackers Pietro Anastasi and Luigi Riva. But for all the talent, they needed the luck of a toss of a coin to earn a place in the Final after their semi against the Soviets in Naples finished goalless after extra time (the penalty shoot out had yet to be introduced into top level competition)

In the other semi, Yugoslavia beat England 1-0 in Florence. THe occassion was doubly disappointing for England boss Sir Alf Ramsey. Not only did England lose, but wing half Alan Mullery suffered the disgrace of becoming the first player sent off while representing his country in a senior international.

Left winger Dragan Dzajic inspired the Slavs and scored the goal, five minutes from time.

Yugoslavia's performance persuaded many observers that they were likely to defeat Italy in the Final. But while Dzajic did give the Slavs the lead, shortly before half time, Italy's workhorse right winger Angelo Domenghini equalised from a controversial free kick with 10 minutes remaining. Extra time failed to provide any more goals so the Final went to a replay two days later, again at the Olimpico.

Italy, with five fresh players, were too resourceful in attack for the Slavs, with Riva and Anastasi perpetual dangers. Both scored goals in the first half, while Facchetti and co at the back shut up shop in the second.

Italy were champions for Europe for - remarkably - the first and only time.

Man of the Tournament

Dragan Dzajic
The Red Star Belgrade left winger - dubbed "Magic Dragan" by the English media - tormented the England defence in the semi final, but Italy took much greater care of him in the Final.

Belgium 1972

No team have won back to back European Championships, and Italy's defence of their 1968 crown was halted by Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The Azzurri were held goalless in Milan, then beaten 2-1 in Brussels. The Belgian goals came from Wilfried Van Moer and Paul Van Himst, midfield general and attacking spearhead respectively of a team whose success also won them the vote to play hosts to the finals of the newly re-named competition. What had been known as the European Nations Cup now became the European Championship.

Belgium were not, however, the most outstanding team of the tournament. That honour - very clearly - went to West Germany. Manager Helmut Schoen cast aside the ageing stars who had taken West Germany to third place at the 1970 World Cup. The retirement of Uwe Seeler had forced Schoen to rebuild his attack, and, while he was at it, he took the opportunity to alter the shape of his team.

The top two German clubs of the era, Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach, provided all the key players for a team that were worthy European champions; possibly even the finest team ever to win the tournament.

The superb understanding between Bayern sweeper Franz Beckenbauer and Borussia playmaker Gunter Netzer was crucial. Helping, supporting and pulling the opposition all over the place were adventurous young left back Paul Breitner and hard working attacking midfielders Herbert Wimmer and Uli Hoeness. Ahead of them, Gerd Muller, one of the greatest opportunists in international football history, provided the cutting edge.

West Germany reached the four-team finals tournament by beating England in the quarter finals; the Soviet Union and Hungary complreted the finals line-up.

The latter two met at Brussels' Parc Astrid, with the Soviets encountering few problems on their way to what was their third final in four European Championships. In the other semi, in Antwerp, Belgium fell 2-1 to West Germany. uller scored both the visitors' goals as his side cruised into the Final at Brussels' Heysel stadium.

Victory was achieved more easily than Schoen had believed possible. The Soviets were led by a rock of a centre back Murtaz Khurtsilava, but even he could not cope with the deceptively nimble Muller, while Beckenbauer and Netzer controlled the match. The latter struck a post before two more opportunist goals from Muller and one from Wimmer secured victory.

The 3-0 margin of success remains the largest of any European Championship Final.


Man of the Tournament

Franz Beckenbauer
The 1972 European Championship was the first time Franz Beckenbauer had been used as an attacking sweeper by his country. He had developed the revolutionary role with Bayern Munich but national team boss Helmut Schoen had kept him in midfield for fear of the risks involved - until 1971.

Yugoslavia 1976


The 1972 finals had produced an outstanding team in West Germany. The next tournament, in Yugoslavia, went three better by producing four superbly competitive sides. The hosts finished fourth after losing the third place play-off to Holland, but there could be no embarrassment in that.

The 1976 finals stand out as the most outstanding of the opening era of the competition, with the Final between outsiders Cxechoslovakia and holders West Germany a dramatic classic.

Vaclav Jezek guided the Czechoslovaks to the finals after they gained a first, surprise victor over the favoured Soviet Union, 4-2 on aggregate, in the last eight. In the other quarter finals, Holland - World Cup runners up two year earlier - defeated old rivals Belgium; Helmut Schoen's West Germany, who were now also the world as well as European champions, overran Spain; and Yugoslavia won a bad tempered tie with Wales - the referee needed a police escort after disallowing two Welsh goals.

The Yugoslavs were subsequently awarded the rights to host the finals, making it the first time a major tournament had gone to eastern Europe.

Czechoslovakia set a high standard of excitement when they defeated Holland 3-1 after extra time in the first semi final. The Dutch succumbed after referee Clive Thomas sent off Johan Neeskens and Wim Van Hanegem.

West Germany also needed extra time as they hit back from 2-0 down to secure a 4-2 win over Yugoslavia.

The Germans had a new Muller - Dieter Muller, from Koln - who led their attack following the international retirement of his namesake Gerd. He scored a hattrick against Yugoslavia and also led the fightback in the Final after his side had gone down 2-0 again after just 25 minutes, to the Czechoslovaks. But although Muller pulled one goal back just before the half hour mark, only a minute of normal time remained when Bernd Holzenbein equalised from a corner from Rainer Bonhof.

For once no one scored in extra time, largely due to the splendid keeping of Ivo Viktor and Sepp Maier, and Czechoslovakia went on to win the first major event decided on a penalty shoot-out.

The Czechoslovaks were better prepared for this ending; coach Jezek had even taken the trouble, before the finals, to assemble a crowd at training especially to whistle and jeer as players practised penalties. By contrast, the Germans were in disarray, with some players refusing to take spot kicks.

Both teams converted their first three penalties. Ladislav Jurkemik then put the Czechoslovaks 4-3 ahead, and Uli Hoeness stepped up and shot over the bar.

With the chance to seal victory, Czechoslovakia midfield general Antonin Panenka strolled up and audaciously chipped the ball into the centre of the goal over the diving Maier. Panenka's side were champions of Europe thanks to disciplined teamwork, honed and perfected by Jezek and his assistant Jozef Venglos.

Man of the Tournament

Ivo Viktor
Czechoslovakia went into the finals as rank outsiders but Dukla Prague goalkeeper Ivo Viktor rose to the occassion. He pulled off some sensational saves in the semi final victory over Holland and then limited a thrilling West German revival in the Final. His ultimate achievement was filling his goal in the penalty shoot out to provoke Uli Hoeness's decisive miss.


yeah... emm... ok.. enjoy. I'll probably post the 1980-2000 tournaments stuff later (fingers are aching)
 

swag

L'autista
Administrator
Sep 23, 2003
76,318
#3
FYI, "Calcio 2000" has done a nice review of the previous Euro championships for the past several issues (three an issue).

But then it's in Italian and I only catch half of it. ;)
 

Slagathor

Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001
22,708
#5
That was 1992 - I would assume its coming up in Sally's next episode :D

Can't wait for Holland :cool: Belgium was cool too, proficiat België :touched:
 
OP
OP
sallyinzaghi
Aug 1, 2003
17,678
#6
Italy 1980

By the late 1970s, such was the popularity of the tournament and the pressure for places that UEFA decided to increase the scope of the finals to take in eight countries - split into two groups of four, with the group winners meeting in the Final and the runners up playing off for third and fourth place.

The expansion of the inals meant that the hosts - in this case Italy, becoming the first nation to stage the finals twice - had to be decided well in advance. The Italians' reward was to be seeded direct to the finals.

Third qualifying tournament featured 31 teams (Albania were absent), with three groups of five teams and four groups of four. England dropped only one point in their eight games to run away with Group 1; West Germany dropped two points in their six games and strolled through Group 7. In all other groups there was only one point in it, with Belgium, Spain, Holland, Czechoslovakia and Greece just making the cut.

For the finals, hosts Italy were drawn with England, Belgium and Spain in the group stage. The other mini league featured old rivals West Germany and Holland, newcomers Greece and defending champions Czechoslovakia.

After all the excitement of the 1976 finals in Yugoslavia, the group format proved a major disappointment. The 12 group games produced a total of only 22 goals. There was also crowd trouble during England's opening game, a 1-1 draw against Belgium in Turin. Riot police used teargas to quell the unrest, but it also had an effect on the players. The game was halted for five minutes so that they could receive treatment as the teargas drifted down and across the pitch.

Jan Ceulemans cancelled out Ray Wilkins' goal for England to secure a point for Belgium, who beat Spain 2-1 in their next game. England's dream of a place in the Final disintergrated, however as they lost 1-0 to the hosts, and not even their 2-1 win over Spain in the final game could prevent their exit.

A goalless draw with Italy on the last group matchday was enough to send Belgium into a senior Final for the first time in their history.

Favourites West Germany led the way in the other group. They began with a 1-0 victory over Czechoslovakia - revenge for their 1976 Final defeat - followed up by a 3-2 win over Holland in Naples. This was the match in which the TV-watching world discovered the inspirational midfielder Bernd Schuster, who was promptly rested for the goalless draw with Greece.

Yet another German hero, now that Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer had moved on, was one of their Bayern Munich apprentices - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He scored the winner against Czechoslovakia and then boosted his reputation in the Final against Belgium in Rome by providing the inch-perfect corner from which the giant Horst Hrubesch headed a late winning goal.

Hrubesch had also opened the scoring, after 10 minutes, but the Belgians equalised in the second half through a Rene Vandereycken penalty. It had been awarded against German sweeper Uli Stielike for a trip on the onrushing Franky Van der Elst. Television replays appeared to show that the foul had been committed just outside the box, but Belgium manager Guy Thys described it as "moral penalty", claiming the goal that stemmed from it was just reward for the way the Belgians had attacked during the entire tournament.

Hrusbech could hardly believe his luck. At 29 he had suddenly emerged as an international hero only because Klaus Fischer, the Germans' regular centre forward, had broken a leg earlier that year.

A 48,000 crowd, well below capacity in Rome's Stadio Olimpico, watched events passively. It would have been different if Italy had been playing, but they had finished runners up in their group and failed even to get the better of Czechoslovakia in the third place play off. A dull 1-1 draw was followed by a lengthy penalty shoot out, which the Czechoslovaks won 9-8 :shocked:

As in the 1976 Final, Czechoslovakia proved merciless from the penalty spot. Italy lost when centre back Fulvio Collovati's effort was parried by Jaroslav Netolicka. The Italians claimed that Netolicka had dropped the ball over the goalline and that the shoot out should have continued. Austrian referee Erich Linemayr disagreed.

The match had proved a huge anti-climax. Europe's football rulers took the hint and scrapped the thirdplace play off thereafter.

Man of the Tournament

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Franz Beckenbauer had retired from the West Germany side by 1980 but Rummenigge, a raw junior in the Beckenbauer era, took over the mantle as leader and captain. In the Final against Belgium, it was Rummenigge's craftily flighted corner that provided the late winner for Horst Hrubesch. His efforts subsequently earned him the European Footballer of the Year award.

France 1984

France became the first hosts to win the tournament since Italy in 1968, but whereas the Italians certainly benefited from playing in their own back yard, it would be fair to say that France would have won anywhere.

After going close in the 1982 World Cup, they were worthy European champions, sweeping all before them in magnificent style to seize the crown for the first time in Paris's new Parc des Princes stadium.

France's brilliance stemmed from the midfield trio of hard working Luis Fernandez and Jean Tigana plus effervescent little Alain Giresse, all topped off by the all rounding attacking genius of Michel Platini, the France captain, Juventus superstar and European Footballer of the Year.

For the first time in the history of the competition, the entire UEFA membership entered - the total then was 33 countries, as it was before the break up of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and the former Yugoslavia. France, as hosts, qualified automatically for the finals, while the other entrants were divided into four groups of five teams and three groups of four.

Belgium, runners up in 1980, maintained a remarkably consistent run of qualification success which would last right through the 1990s, by winning Group 1 by three points from Switzerland.

The other groups were all tight. Just a point separated Group 2 winners Portugal and the Soviet Union, Denmark from England in group 3, Yugoslavia from Wales in Group 4, and Romania from Sweden in Group 5.

Group 6 and 7 were even closer. West Germany topped the former on goal difference from Northern Ireland after finishing on 11 points apiece. Griyo 7 ended amid a goalscoring frenzy that helped persuade UEFA of the importance of ensuring that all last round matches take place simultaneously, to avoid handing out any undue advantage. Holland played their last match on December 17, 1983, beating minnows malta 5-0 in Rotterdam. That meant that Spain went into their last game, also against Malta, four days later, knowing that victory would pull them level with Holland on 13 points. But to go above them, the Spanish would need to win by a massive 11 goals. Amazingly, Spain recovered from the shock of conceding a first half equaliser to win 12-1. The Dutch were furious but powerless - and, of course, eliminated.

Denmark's arrival in the finals was another indication of a shift in the balance of power within European football, as was the failure of West Germany to reach the reconsituted knockout semi-finals.

The Danes may have won their qualifying group by just a point but they put in some stylish performances. The campaign included a sensational 1-0 win away to England, when former European Footballer of the Year Allan Simonsen converted a crucial penalty at Wembley.

In the finals, however, Denmark's prospects were upset when Simonsen broke a leg during their opening 1-0 defeat by France. Platini was the match winner, scoring the first of his nine goals in five games. His haul included hattricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia, a last-minute, extra-time winner in the semi final against Portugal - one of the greatest games in the tournament's history - and the first goal, a free kick, in the Final against Spain.

Spain misfired in their opening group game, a 1-1 draw against Romania, and then had to be satisfied with another draw, against Portugal. Their third match was against West Germany, who were unusually listless and dispirited. Maceda strode forward to hit a last minute winner and ensure Spain finished top of the group, ahead of Portugal, who beat Romania 1-0 in their third match.

Loss of the European crown duly cost West Germany coach Jupp Derwall his job. Within weeks Franz Beckenbauer had been appointed in his place.

As for Spain, the fates continued to conspire in their favour as they reached the Final thanks to a penalty shoot out victory over Denmark in the semis.

Finally, in the Final against France, the Spaniards' luck ran out. The gameplan prepared to deal with the hosts by veteran coach Miguel Munoz was upset by a string of injuries and suspensions. Still, Spain were giving as good as they got when a rare mistake by goalkeeper-captain Luis Arconada - Platini's low drive from a free kick spun through the keeper's hands - proved decisive after 56 minutes.

Bruno Bellone scored a second for France in the last minute shortly after Yvon Le Roux had been sent off, but then it was academic. The first goal had knocked all the stuffing out of the Spaniards.

Man of the Tournament

Michel Platini
No single player has dominated a European finals in the way Platini did 'his' home tournament in 1984. He had already achieved superstar status with Juventus in Italy, where he was League top scorer. Then he returned home to not only captain the hosts but also to shine as their finest player, score two hattricks, open the scoring ni the Final and then receive the Henri Delaunay trophy himself.

West Germany 1988

Holland, World Cup runners up in 1974 and 1978, finally secured the major prize their pre-eminence of the international game had long since earned when winning the 1988 European Championship, staged in West Germany.

The Dutch victory over the Soviet Union in the Final in Munich's Olympiastadion was strong evidence in favour of their approach to youth coaching and to all aspects of football education.

As in 1980 and 1984, there were eight finalists - split into two groups of four - comprising the hosts an seven qualifiers. In the preliminaries, Italy, the Soviet Union, England and Holland swept all before them in their groups. Spain, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland - the latter qualifying for a major tournament finals for the first time - all won through after a tight scrap.

The only hitch in the qualifying process occured in Holland's home match against Cyprus on October 18, 1987. The Dutch won 8-0 but the result was later declared invalid by UEFA because a firework thrown from the crowd struck Cyprus goalkeeper Andreas Charitou. A replay was ordered, which Holland also won, this time 4-0. Years later arguments still continued among Dutch soccer statisticians about whether details from the first match should be credited to players' records. The man with most at stake was Dutch striker John Bosman. He scored five goals in the first match but only a hattrick in the replay.

England arrived in West Germany for the finals with the best record of any of the qualifiers, having won five and drawn one of their six matches, scoring 19 goals and conceding just one. But it appeared they had peaked too early. Their form deserted them. For the only time in any major event, they lost all three of their group matches. They started with a 1-0 defeat by the Irish Republic, followed by a devastating 3-1 loss to Holland, for whom Milan centre forward Marco Van Basten scored a hattrick. The Soviet Union completed their misery, also winning 3-1.

Van Basted had been uncertain of his place in the Dutch side after their opening 1-0 defeat by the Soviet Union, the eventual group winners, in Cologne. It took the words of his friend and mentor Johan Cruyff to persuade him to stay with the squad. When Van Basten was substituted towards the end of the England game, he shook hands with veteran coach Rinus Michels as he left the pitch. hat handshake came to symbolise the new found unity of spirit that carried the Dutch to their ultimate and well-deserved victory.

West Germany topped the other group, ahead of Italy on goal difference, without even appearing convincing. The top two had drawn 1-1 in the group's opening game, allowing Spain to take advantage by beating Denmark 3-2 in their first match. But the Spaniards then lost to Italy and then West Germany without scoring a goal.

The Germans led Holland in their semi final in Hamburg thanks to a controversial Lothar Matthaus penalty after what was judged to have been a foul on Jurgen Klinsmann. German forward Frank Mill laughed as the teams ran back to the restart and told Dutch skipper Ruud Gullit: "If one of you falls over, you'll get one too." They did just that, Ronald Koeman thumped home an equalising penalty, given for what seemed like a fair tackle, and then Van Basten snatched a late winner.

The Soviet Union continued their fine record in the championships with a 2-0 victory over Italy in the other semi final.

Holland went into the Final as favourites, just as in the 1974 World Cup decider, also played in Munich's Olympic Stadium. Their opponents this time were a Soviet Union side seriously disrupted by the suspension of stopper Oleg Kuznetsov. But even he would not have been able to control the attacking flair of Gullit and Van Basten. The former scored the first goal, Van Basten the second - volleying home one of the greatest individual goals ever seen in any major international event from Arnold Muhren's long, tantalising left wing cross.

The Soviet Union, in what was to be their swansong in these championships, had a great chance to come back into the match when goalkeeper Hans Van Breukelen carelessly conceded a penalty midway through the second half. But he redeemed himself by saving Igor Belanov's spot kick. The last Soviet hope had gone and Holland were rarely troubled thereafter.

Man of the Tournament

Marco Van Basten
Holland's centre forward wanted to go home after the opening group defeat by the Soviet Union. Old coach and mentor Johan Cruyff persuaded him to think again - and Van Basten proved his commitment by thrashing a hattrick past England. In the Final, Van Basten olleyed one of the most spectacular goals seen at such a high level. A pity for football that ankle trouble would end his career prematurely.

Sweden 1992

The magic that Van Basten and the Dutch conjured up in 1988 was not to be repeated four years later in Sweden. Indeed, Van Basten missed a penalty in a semi final shootout against a Denmark side inspired by the fairytale genius of Hans Christian Andersen.

The Danes came from nowhere to win the tournament for the first time. In doing so, they overcame the favourites twice : first Holland in the semi finals, and then Germany in the Final.

Sweden was a suitably peaceable venue for the climax of a championship that had been shaken by political upheavals in Germany, the Soviet Union and the Balkans.

The Soviet Union, for example, collapsed in the months between their national team qualifying for the finals and the finals themselves. The Soviets played under the banner of the Commonwealth of Independent States, before fragmenting into a plethora of new republics (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia etc)

The former East Germany had been consigned to history just as the qualifying tournament began. The GDR federation, as one of its last acts, withdrew from the competition just before it started. Key players such as midfielder Matthias Sammer and forwards Thomas Doll and Andreas Thom thus played for a unified Germany in the Finals.

Then there was the complex situation in the Balkans. Yugoslavia had been one of the most outstanding teams in the qualifiers, byt in spring 1992 their country was in the midst of civil war. UEFA barred them from the finals on security grounds and recalled Denmark - who had finished runners up to Yugoslavia in qualifying Group 4 - in their place.

The Danes were given just two weeks' notice. Coach Richard Moller Nielsen heard the news while he was decorating his kitchen - the domestic task he had set himself that summer.

Hosts Sweden, in the finals for the first time, deservedly topped Group 1. A wonderful goal by Tomas Brolin brought them victory against a disappointing England side on the last matchday. This left the English bottom of the group, with their pain exacerbated by the controversy over the substitution of captain and top scorer Gary Lineker by manager Graham Taylor in the closing stages of the game.

Denmark were runners up in the group, thanks largely to a 2-1 victory over an underachieving (and ultra cautious) France side managed by their old hero Michel Platini. He would quit after their first round failure and later take on the co - presidency of the French organising committee for the 1998 World Cup Finals.

The Danes qualified for the last four despite the absence of their best player, Michael Laudrup, who had quarrelled with Moller Nielsen.

In Group 2, Holland and Germany possessed too much firepower and experience for the newcomers Scotland and the CIS, although Germany did need a last minute goal from midfielder Thomas Hassler to snatch a draw in the opening match against the latter.

The two semi finals produced some great entertainment. Holland drew 2-2 with Denmark, who held on without the injured Henrik Andersen (probably the Danes' finest player) and then beat the Dutch 5-4 on penalties. The decisive penalty miss was by Van Basten, who for once was intimidated by the overwhelming presence of Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel.

Brolin was on target again for Sweden in the other semi final, but this time it was in vain as the hosts went down 3-2 to Germany, for whom the outstanding Hassler scored their opening goal with a superb free kick.

Germany, coached by Berti Vogts, overwhelming favourites to win the Final in Gothenburg's Ullevi stadium. But Denmark - from coach Moller Nielsen through Schmeichel, skipper Lars Olsen, midfielder Kim Vilfort and forward Brian Laudrup - had not read the script. GOals from John Jenson and Vilfort - allied to the rock solid inspiration of Schmeichel and Olsen - duly produced one of the greatest shocks in the history of the European Championship.

Man of the Tournament

Thomas Hassler
While Denmark were undoubtedly the team of the tournament, the outstanding individual featured in the losing side in the final : Koln and Germany midfielder Thomas Hassler. Not for him the simple square pass - he always sought to surprise opponents with his sleight of foot and inflict damage with his swerving free kicks.

England 96 and Holland/Belgium 00 to continue later... I have not mustered up the courage to continue typing on the 2000 tournament :D
 

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