Yugoslavia beat world champions England to reach EURO 1968 final

Yugoslavia 1-0 England
Dragan Džajić scored the only goal as Yugoslavia ended England's hopes.

EURO 1968 highlights: Yugoslavia 1-0 England
EURO 1968 highlights: Yugoslavia 1-0 England

Yugoslavia beat England 1-0 to deny Sir Alf Ramsey's world champions the chance to add the European crown to their trophy cabinet.

Coach Rajko Mitić had claimed before the 1968 UEFA European Championship semi-final that this was Yugoslavia's best team since the one he himself had graced in the 1950s – and the opposition seemed to believe him. 'England in danger of defeat' ran the headline in one English national newspaper, and so it proved as a result of Dragan Džajić's decisive goal.

EURO 1968: All you need to know

Ramsey's team selection appeared to reflect the caution of his country, with two ball-winners among a five-man midfield playing behind only Roger Hunt up front. Shorn of Geoff Hurst and Nobby Stiles, both injured during a friendly in Hannover just four days earlier, England paid the price. As such, their opponents, deploying a sweeper at the back, showed no fear.

It also proved to be a game lacking in fluidity, though England nonetheless managed to create a handful of chances, Alan Ball heading against the bar from an offside position before then shooting over wastefully after a good move. The 1966 FIFA World Cup winners might have won comprehensively if they had the firepower, or indeed a winger to match Džajić, the smoothest in Europe.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1968
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1968

Showing tremendous ball control for someone so tall and well built, he beat three men with bewildering sleight of foot before being stopped by a fourth. When a long ball came in from the left, he stole behind the admirable Bobby Moore, chested it down and hammered it high past Gordon Banks in the England goal.

England's task became doubly difficult when Alan Mullery received the dubious honour of becoming the first ever England player to be sent off in the country's 424-international history. It proved beyond them.

EURO 1968: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Yugoslavia: Pantelić; Fazlagić (c), Damjanović, Paunović, Holcer; Petković, Osim, Pavlović, Trivić; Musemić, Džajić
Substitutes: none
Coach: Rajko Mitić

England: Banks; Newton, Wilson, Labone, Moore (c), Hunter; Mullery, Ball, Charlton, Peters; Hunt
Substitutes: none
Coach: Sir Alf Ramsey

Referee: José María Ortiz De Mendíbil (Spain)