Euro 1976 - Yugoslavia

Euro 1976 - Yugoslavia

Hosts: Yugoslavia

Final: Czechoslovakia 2 West Germany 2 (Czechoslovakia won 5-3 on penalties)

Top Scorer: Dieter Müller (4 goals)
Teams/Matches: 4/4

Facts and Figures:

* Newcastle United striker Malcolm MacDonald scored all five goals for England in a 5-0 victory over Cyprus in a Group 1 qualifier on 16th April 1975.

* This was to be the last time that only four countries could play the final tournament of semi-finals, final and third place match. The tournament was expanded to include eight teams for the Euro 1980 finals.

* This was also the last tournament in which the hosts had to qualify for the final stage.

* 19 goals were scored in the 4 games of Euro 1986 for an average of 4.75 goals per game.

* Czech player Antonin Panenka achieved notoriety for his innovative “Panenka penalty” in the final against West Germany.

The Final

The Euro 1976 final will always be remembered for Antonín Panenka’s penalty kick as the Czechs became the first team to win a Euro final shoot-out. With so much pressure, no one was anticipating the amazing skill and coolness of Antonín Panenka's lofted penalty. The Czech midfielder’s audacious chip ensured that Czechoslovakia were Euro winners 1976.

It was the perfect end to a fantastic tournament. Hosts Yugoslavia welcomed Czechoslovakia, Johan Cruyff's brilliant Netherlands side and the holders and world champions from West Germany for a footballing festival staged in Eastern Europe for the first time in Euro Championship history. The Czechs appeared to be the outsiders in such exalted company. Coached by Václav Ježek, their Euro campaign started badly with a 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley. A 2-1 victory over Don Revie's England side in Bratislava enabled them to top qualifying Group 1 and qualify for the last eight.

Wales were the surprise team of the tournament, topping Group 2 with a team inspired by John Toshack. Their hopes were extinguished in the quarter-finals by Yugoslavia that left Czechoslovakia as the tournament underdogs by defeating the Soviet Union. Holland were playing with flair and arrogance as they swept aside Belgium in a crushing 7-1 aggregate victory whilst the holders, West Germany, comfortably saw off the challenge of Spain to complete the semi-final line up.

Gerd Müller was the goalscoring hero for the Germans in Euro 1972 and now his namesake, Dieter was proving the scourge of defences. He struck a crucial hat-trick on his debut in Belgrade as the Germans staged a tremendous comeback. At 2-0 down they looked to be facing elimination but fought back to take the game into extra-time before running out 4-2 winners. The Czechs needed extra time to defeat Holland in Zagreb 3-1 after Johan Neeskens and Wim van Hanegem were both sent off .

Helmut Schön's West German were firm favourites despite the fact that Czechoslovakia had gone 20 games without defeat since they were beaten at Wembley. The Czechs went 2-0 up in 25 minutes with goals by Svehlik and Dobias. Müller struck back almost immediately but the holders had to wait until the last minute to draw level through Bernd Hölzenbein. After a goalless period of extra-time, the players stepped up for the first ever penalty shootout in the final of a major tournament. After seven successful spot-kicks, Uli Hoeness blazed over the bar and it was left to Panenka to seal the victory. He calmly waited for Sepp Maier to commit himself before chipping his penalty down the centre of the goal and Czechoslovakia were crowned Euro 1976 winners.

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