If Czechoslovakia's opening loss to West Germany was a sign that the holders were in decline, their 3-1 win against Greece was a clear warning that they were not yet ready to be written off altogether.
Though the manner of the Germans' victory made them clear favourites to progress from Group A, the Czechs knew the importance of at least remaining in contention. As if to underline that their descent had not yet turned into free fall, it was the Czechs' 1976 penalty shoot-out hero Antonín Panenka whose wickedly curling free-kick put them in front after just six minutes.
They lacked a killer instinct, though, and Greece were level inside the quarter-hour, Thomas Mavros crossing into a crowded penalty area for Nikos Anastopoulos to head in. The same player nearly scored again before Mavros himself went close with a header.
Though threatening going forward, Greece continued to look susceptible at the back. Ladislav Vízek ran onto a through ball to put the Czechs in front on 26 minutes, but it was not until just after the hour that they put the game to bed when Zdeněk Nehoda converted an easy opening created by Ján Kozák.
The champions had an outside chance of defending their title in the final, but knew they were going to need Greece to do them a favour in their final assignment against West Germany.