Tales from an author

#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


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