European Championship - 1968 held in Italy
European Championship - Held in Italy - 1968 Winners Italy
The competitions may have had a new name, but the result was classic example of home team advantage securing the day. In football terms, the Italy v Yugoslavia final was not a great attacking spectacle. Unusually, the European Championship, as it was then called, required a replay rather than a penalty shoot-out to decide the result in Italy's favour.
In terms of a form guide the Italians had no good recent form. That ignominious defeat by Korea in the World Cup was still a source of baiting by foreign fans. What the Italians did have this time was home advantage, and huge passionate crowds.
It was no surprise that England, USSR an Yugoslavia made it through to the semi-finals. My point is that ' form' teams usually make it through to the latter stages. Serbia and Bulgaria exceeded expectations in qualifying but faltered at the quarter final stage.
Top scorer overall: Riva (Italy) 7 goals
European Football Championship - 1968 Final
Riva 11, Anastasi 32
Italy: Zoff, Burgnich, Facchetti, Salvadore, Guarneri, Rosato, Domenghini, Mazzola, Anastasi, De Sisti, Riva
*An almost unique event happened in the semi-finals, a result decided on the toss of a coin. I cannot remember another important game being decided by ' drawing lots' .
Another innovation was dividing the qualifiers into groups. In the previous tournaments, the preliminary rounds were knock-out decided on home and away legs.