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Archive for the month “June, 2016”

#Euro 2016 – and the third competition in 1968

Euro 2016 continues to fascinate us. Continuing a series of posts, I look back to 1968, a year in which Italy won the European title. Here is some material adapted from my recent book about international football – which provides a year-by-year chronicle of events on Planet Football.


Africa Cup of Nations 1968 (Ethiopia)
Final January 21, Addis Ababa Congo-Kinshasa 1 Ghana 0
Congo-Kinshasa was an alternative name at that time for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country was officially named Zaire between 1971 and 1997, during which time it appeared in the 1974 World Cup finals.

Asian Cup 1968 (Iran)
Winners Iran (8 points from 4 games)
Runners-up Burma (5 points from 4 games)
Iran took the title, winning all four of their matches in the finals. Burma were runners-up in what remains the only appearance for Burma / Myanamar – the country was officially re-named in 1989 – in the Asian finals.

The 1970 World Cup qualifiers began with Austria beating Cyprus 7-1 (May 19, Vienna). The relevant qualifying group was to be won by West Germany, who beat Cyprus 12-0 during 1969, with Gerd Muller scoring four goals, while Scotland finished as runners-up.

Italy won an undistinguished European Championship finals, as host nation. After eliminating the Soviet Union on the toss of a coin, the Italians needed a replay to beat Yugoslavia in the Final. England took third place, ahead of the Soviet Union, after a Semi Final defeat by Yugoslavia, in which Alan Mullery became the first England player to be sent off – fully 96 years after England played their first international in 1872.

European Championship 1968 (Italy)
Semi Finals
Italy 0 Soviet Union 0 After Extra Time
Italy won on the toss of a coin
Yugoslavia 1 England 0

Third Place Match
England 2 Soviet Union 0

Final June 8, Rome
Italy 1 Yugoslavia 1 After Extra Time
Final Replay June 10, Rome
Italy 2 Yugoslavia 0

Olympic Football 1968 (Mexico)
Final October 26, Mexico City Hungary 4 Bulgaria 1
Bronze Medal Match Japan 2 Mexico 0
Hungary won the Olympic football, for the third time, and Japan became the first Asian team to win a medal in this competition.

#Euro 2016 – and the second competition in 1964

With Euro 2016 underway, I thought it would be good to look back to 1964, the year that current champions Spain won their first European title. Here is some material adapted from my recent book about international football – which provides a year-by-year chronicle of events on Planet Football.

The qualifiers for the 1966 World Cup began with the Netherlands beating Albania 2-0, in Rotterdam, on May 24. This was the first time that Albania, at that time the most isolated country in Europe, entered the World Cup. The group was to be won by Switzerland, who finished a point ahead of Northern Ireland, the latter of whom were held to a 1-1 draw by Albania in the last match, during 1965. In that year, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland also finished second in their respective groups, and missed out on a short trip to England for the finals. Meanwhile Czechoslovakia, runners-up in 1962, were eliminated by Portugal.

Asian Cup 1964 (Israel)
Winners Israel (6 points from 3 games)
Runners-up India (4 points from 3 games)
Israel, who had been runners-up in the two previous competitions, secured the title by beating South Korea 2-1 in the last game (June 3, Ramat Gan).

Spain were host nation for the European Nations’ Cup finals, and beat the Soviet Union to take the trophy – in contrast to the Spanish boycott of the same opponents in 1960. Hungary took third place in the competition, and followed this with a football gold medal at the Olympics. Tragedy had struck at an abandoned Olympic qualifier between Peru and Argentina, when the use of tear gas by police, facing a pitch invasion, led to a panic in which 328 people were killed – the worst ever disaster at a football match (May 24, Lima).

European Nations’ Cup 1964 (Spain)
Semi Finals
Spain 2 Hungary 1 After Extra Time
Soviet Union 3 Denmark 0

Third Place Match
Hungary 3 Denmark 1 After Extra Time

Final June 21, Madrid
Spain 2 Soviet Union 1

Olympic Football 1964 (Japan)
Final October 23, Tokyo Hungary 2 Czechoslovakia 1
Bronze Medal Match East Germany 3 Egypt 1

Euro 2016 – and the first competition in 1960

With the start of Euro 2016, I thought it would be good to look back to the origin of what was then the European Nations’ Cup. Here is some material adapted from my recent book about international football – which provides a year-by-year chronicle of events on Planet Football.

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The inaugural European Nations’ Cup reached its conclusion this year, with the finals being held in France. The competition was organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), founded in 1954. The qualifying stage begun in 1958, and stretched through to 1960. The Republic of Ireland, the only entrant from Britain or Ireland, were eliminated by Czechoslovakia in the sole tie of the Preliminary Round, with the matches being played in the Spring of 1959, several months after some of the First Round games. Prior to this, Spain’s progress had ended with a withdrawal forced by General Franco’s Fascist government, in order to avoid playing the Soviet Union in the Quarter Finals. By contrast, Real Madrid won the European Cup for a fifth successive time in 1960, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the Final, and also took the inaugural Intercontinental Cup / World Club Championship, by defeating Penarol, of Uruguay – the South American champions. France dramatically lost 5-4 against Yugoslavia in the European Nations’ Cup Semi Finals, after leading 4-2 with 15 minutes left to play. The Soviet Union became the first European national champions, beating Yugoslavia 2-1, after extra time, in the Final. Yugoslavia in turn won the Olympic football tournament this year.

European Nations’ Cup 1960 (France)
Semi Finals
Soviet Union 3 Czechoslovakia 0
Yugoslavia 5 France 4

Third Place Match
Czechoslovakia 2 France 0

Final July 10, Paris
Soviet Union 2 Yugoslavia 1 After Extra Time

The qualifiers for the 1962 World Cup opened on August 21, with Costa Rica beating Guatemala 3-2, at San Jose. Costa Rica finished as runners-up when the North American group concluded in 1961, behind Mexico, who then beat Paraguay in a play-off to gain a place in the finals. Besides this linkage between North and South America, muddled zoning of the World Cup qualifiers placed the teams from Africa and Asia in groups alongside European countries. Although one third of the entrants came from North America, Africa, or Asia, those continents were not guaranteed any places in the finals – and eventually Mexico were only team from outside Europe and South America to make the last 16. England began their campaign with a 9-0 win against Luxembourg, featuring hat tricks by Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves – this remains England’s largest ever World Cup victory. England went on to reach the finals, ahead of Portugal, who won 6-0 at home to Luxembourg during 1961, but then lost the return match 4-2, with this being Luxembourg’s first victory in a World Cup match. Luxembourg had played in the qualifiers for each competition from 1934 onwards, and lost all 17 of their World Cup games before beating Portugal.

Olympic Football 1960 (Italy)
Final September 10, Rome Yugoslavia 3 Denmark 1
Bronze Medal Match Hungary 2 Italy 1

The second Asian Cup finals followed a qualifying process held during 1959. South Korea qualified automatically as host nation, and retained the title they had won in 1956, securing this with a 1-0 win against China (October 21, Seoul).

Asian Cup 1960 (South Korea)
Winners South Korea (6 points from 3 games)
Runners-up Israel (4 points from 3 games)

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