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Spain breakthrough remembered 50 years on

Published: Sunday 22 June 2014, 10.24CET
Luis Suárez, Amancio Amaro, Fernando Olivella and Marcelino Martínez talk UEFA.com through the swashbuckling Spain side that won their first major title 50 years ago.

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Published: Sunday 22 June 2014, 10.24CET

Spain breakthrough remembered 50 years on

Luis Suárez, Amancio Amaro, Fernando Olivella and Marcelino Martínez talk UEFA.com through the swashbuckling Spain side that won their first major title 50 years ago.

The 1964 UEFA European Championship brought Spain their first major honour as the hosts overcame holders the Soviet Union in the Santiago Bernabéu final in Madrid.

An older head in a youthful team, 1960 Ballon d'Or winner Luis Suárez had just helped FC Internazionale Milano clinch the first of back-to-back European Champion Clubs' Cups when he was called upon to inspire La Roja from midfield. "We had to play Russia – the reigning champions – but we were really up for it," recalled Suárez – heralded as "technically, the complete player," by former team-mate Amancio Amaro.

With Alfredo Di Stéfano and Francisco Gento omitted from the squad the pressure was on, but Spain rose to the occasion under the tutelage of Jose Villalonga. "When the coach wanted us to play a particular way, he was very clear about it," said ex-FC Barcelona defender Fernando Olivella. "We always had to do what he felt was best for the team."

Delicately poised at 1-1 with six minutes remaining, striker Marcelino Martínez swung the final firmly in Spain's favour with a stooping header. "It came from a nice passage of play," he told UEFA.com. "[Feliciano] Rivilla gave it to [Jesús María] Pereda and he whipped in a very fast cross. One of my strengths was heading, so it wasn't any more difficult for me to control the ball and direct it goalwards."

To hear more from Suárez, Amaro, Olivella and Martínez, click on the video player above.

Last updated: 22/06/14 15.29CET

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