Euro 1980 - Italy

Euro 1980 - Italy

Hosts: Italy

Final: West Germany 2 Belgium 1

Top Scorer: Klaus Aloffs (West Germany) 3 goals
Teams/Matches: 8/14
Facts and Figures:

* Euro 1980 was the first time that the finals were contested by eight teams.

* Euro 1980 was also the first time that the host nation was given automatic qualification for the finals.

* West Germany, England, Greece, Switzerland and Netherlands also expressed interest in hosting Euro 1980 before it was awarded to Italy.

* Only 27 goals were scored at an average of just 1.93 per match in a tournament dominated by defensive play.

* Crowd trouble disrupted the first-round match between England and Belgium and riot police had to use tear gas to control the violence. The match was held up for five minutes during the first half.


Under the terms of the new format, the two groups of four teams each were created; each team playing all the other sides within their group. The winners of each groups would go straight to the final with the runners-up playing each other to decide third place. The format proved disastrous in terms of entertainment with teams taking a negative attitude into their games and attacking play was reduced to a minimum.

West Germany topped Group A by virtue of a 1-0 victory over second placed Czechoslovakia. They were also involved in one of the few entertaining games of the tournament when they held a late fight back from the Netherlands to eventually triumph by three goals to two. Host nation, Italy, were widely expected to reach the final of Euro 1980 but were surprisingly held to a goalless draw in their final game by Belgium and lost out because they had only scored one goal in the championship. The drama was not over for the home fans as Italy would also lose 9-8 on penalties to the Czechs in the third place playoff match.

West Germany was clear favourites to beat Belgium and take the trophy for the second time in Euro Championship history. They set about the task of breaking down the resilient Belgians in the first half and Horst Hrubesch put them 1-0 up after just ten minutes with a confident finish. Hansi Müller had a great chance to make it two but blasted over the bar and the Championship’s leading scorer Allofs tested the keeper twice from long range.
The Germans were unable to extend their lead and the Belgians came back into the game in the second half. Francois Van der Elst was sent clear only for Uli Stielike to bring him down on the edge of the penalty area. The referee gave a penalty and Vandereycken converted to level the match. It looked as though it would take extra-time to decide who would become Euro 1980 winners but Hrubesch nodded home a corner from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge with just two minutes remaining.

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