Euro 1972 - Belgium

Euro 1972 - Belgium

Hosts:Belgium

Final: West Germany 3 Soviet Union 0

Top Scorer: Gerd Müller (West Germany) 4 goals
Teams/Matches: 4/4

Facts and Figures:

* Iceland was the only UEFA member who was not involved in qualifying having not entered since 1964. They returned to the competition in 1976.

* There were eight qualifying groups of four teams each. The matches were played on a home-and-away basis. A win was rewarded with 2 points and draws 1 point.

* Only group winners went through to the quarter-finals. The quarter-finals were also played in two legs on a home-and-away basis.

* There were 10 goals scored in 4 matches at the finals of Euro 1972, for an average of 2.5 goals per game.

The Final

The UEFA Euro 1972 Final was played on 18th June at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. The match was contested by the Soviet Union, playing in their third final in Euro Championship history, and West Germany.

West Germany reached the final for the first time by beating England in the quarter-finals and then the hosts, Belgium, in the semi-final. A 3-1 victory at Wembley in their first leg match against England allowed them to play out a goalless home leg and go through comfortably. Gerd Müller scored both goals for the Germans with a consolation goal from substitute Odilon Polleunis for the Belgians.

USSR reached the final by beating Yugoslavia 3-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals before defeating Hungary 1-0 in their semi-final match. A goal by Anatoliy Konkov was enough to see them through thanks to a late penalty save from keeper Evgeni Rudakov.

Gerd Müller was again the hero in the final as his two goals led to the Germans being crowned Euro 1972 winners. The Soviet Union had suffered at the hands of Gerd Müller the previous month when he scored all four goals in a 4-1 thrashing. West Germany’s masterful passing display in the final was regarded as the performance of the tournament as they toyed with their opponents. West Germany's three most influential players were all involved in the opening goal. Skipper Franz Beckenbauer took the ball out of defence and Günter Netzer volleyed against the crossbar. Evgeni Rudakov produced a fine save to keep out the rebound but there was Müller, the predator, controlling it and slotting it home.

With two wingers stretching the defence and Uli Hoeness running forward from midfield, Müller was left free to roam the penalty area and seize his opportunities. His career tally of 68 goals in 62 internationals speaks for itself. Herbert Wimmer added a second on 52 minutes before Müller struck again in the 58th minute to put the match beyond the Soviets. Georg Schwarzenbeck made a rare appearance in the opposition penalty area and attempted a one-two. The ball broke to Müller who made no mistake.

Murtaz Khurtsilava managed to hit the bar and force a full-length save from Sepp Maier but there was no way back for the Soviets. The performance of the Germans in the final of Euro 1972 was widely acknowledged as a footballing masterclass.

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