Euro 1960 - France

Euro 1960 - France

Hosts: France

Final: Soviet Union 2 Yugoslavia 1

Top Scorer: Slava Metreveli,Viktor Ponedelnik & Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), Milan Galic & Drazan Jerkovic (Czechoslovakia), Francois Heutte (France) (2 goals each)
Teams/Matches: 4/4

Facts and Figures:

* The 1960 UEFA European Nations Cup was the first in Euro Championship history.

* The tournament was a knockout competition with just 17 teams entered. The teams played home-and-away matches until the semi-finals with the winner’s meeting in the final.

* Notable absentees included England, West Germany and Italy.

* The Republic of Ireland played Czechoslovakia in a home and away preliminary round to decide the last of the sixteen available places. The Czechs lost the opening game 2-0 in Dublin but won 4-0 in the return leg to secure their place in the full draw.

* Spain, still under President Franco’s far-right dictatorship, refused to travel to the Soviet Union, the main supporter of the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War, and withdrew Euro 1960.

* France recorded the biggest win of the tournament when they defeated Greece 7-1 in their opening match, eventually going through 8-2 on aggregate.

* There were 17 goals scored in the 4 games held in the Finals of Euro 1960 at an average of 4.25 goals per game.

* The Soviet Union achieved its only major football Championship win when they were crowned Euro 1960 winners.

The Final

The Soviet Union began the competition with a 3-1 first leg victory over Hungary in front of 100,000 fans in Moscow and a 1-0 victory in the second leg put them into the quarter finals. Spain’s refusal to compete presented them with a walk-over into the semi-finals where they comfortably defeated Czechoslovakia 3-0 in Marseille. Ivanov scored either side of the half-time interval with Poneldenik completing the scoring. The other semi final produced a thrilling encounter with Yugoslavia pulling off a 5–4 victory over the home nation despite having trailed by 3-1 and 4-2. Czechoslovakia beat France 2–0 in the third place playoff.

The final of Euro 1960 took place on July 10th at the Parc des Princes in Paris, refereed by Englishman Arthur Ellis. The Soviet Union coached by Gavriil Kachalin and led by legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin. He was known all over the world as the "Black Spider" because he wore a distinctive all-black outfit and because it seemed he could save almost anything. Yashin played over 800 games in his career including 78 caps for the National side. He saved around 150 penalties and kept 270 clean sheets.

Yugoslavia took the lead through Milan Galic just before half time but Slava Metreveli equalised for the Soviet Union in the 49th minute. After 90 minutes the score was level at 1–1 so the match went into extra time. With just seven minutes remaining, Viktor Ponedelnik scored with a header to give the Soviets victory and they were crowned Euro 1960 winners. Ponedelnik retired in 1966 having scored 21 goals in 29 games for his country. He went on to work as a coach and sports journalist as well as an advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

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