The European Championships – 1980

As you may have noticed, we’ve had a little lick of paint this afternoon ahead of this summer’s festivities and, to get you in the mood still further, we’ll bringing you a quick round up of the previous European Championship tournaments, along with some brief highlights of some of the great matches from the tournament’s history. I’m starting the round-up because this was the first of the proper, eight team tournaments. The competition had actually started in 1960, and was notable for the previous five competitions having been won by five different nations. As well as West Germany and Italy, who might have expected to have won it, it had also provided the USSR, Spain and Czechoslovakia with their only major tournament wins. By 1980, though, UEFA sought the expand the programme, though the ham-fisted way in which they did it would result in a tournament in which teams were so afraid to lose matches that they didn’t even try to play attacking football. The problem was this: the tournament was made up of eight teams, divided into two groups of four. UEFA, however, decided not to bother with semi-finals, with the group winners meeting in the final and the runners-up playing a third and fourth place play-off match. What this meant in practice was that defeat meant almost certain elimination, so most of the teams involved played ultra-defensive...

Read More