European champions Italy finished runners-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, but they were far from favourites to defend their European title in 1972. Further north, West Germany coach Helmut Schön was assembling a team many regard as the greatest to grace the competition, including Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness, Günter Netzer and Gerd Müller. They did not disappoint, crowning an imperious run with a resounding 3-0 win against the Soviet Union, still the largest margin of victory in a UEFA European Championship final.
Winners: West Germany
Runners-up: Soviet Union
Top scorer: Gerd Müller (West Germany) – 5
Did you know?
Winners West Germany totally dominated the 1972 European Player of the Year poll with Beckenbauer, Müller and Netzer occupying the top three positions.
Also in 1972
European Champion Clubs' Cup winners: AFC Ajax (2-0 v FC Internazionale Milano)
European Footballer of the Year: Franz Beckenbauer (FC Bayern München)
Eurovision Song Contest winner: Vicky Leandros (Luxembourg) singing Après Toi
European Golden Boot winner: Gerd Müller (FC Bayern München)
Men's Olympic 100m champion: Valeri Borzov (Soviet Union) running 10.14 seconds
Formula 1 world champion: Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil) driving a Lotus
Oscar for Best Picture: The Godfather
24 January – Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi is found in Guam, having spent 28 years in the jungle
1 September – Bobby Fischer defeats Boris Spassky to end 24-year Soviet domination of world chess title
5 September – Eleven Israeli athletes killed at Munich Olympics
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