Ponedelnik heads USSR to EURO 1960 final glory against Yugoslavia

USSR 2-1 Yugoslavia (aet)
The Soviet Union came from behind to be crowned inaugural champions thanks to Viktor Ponedelnik's extra-time winner.

EURO 1960 final highlights: USSR 2-1 Yugoslavia
EURO 1960 final highlights: USSR 2-1 Yugoslavia

Lev Yashin provided the defiance and Viktor Ponedelnik the extra-time winner as the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia 2-1 to become the first team to lift the Henri Delaunay Cup.

In the inaugural UEFA European Championship final courtesy of a dramatic 5-4 comeback win against France in the last four, Yugoslavia's flair came to the fore once more in the showpiece. Milan Galić put them ahead in scrappy fashion and thereafter it was only Yashin's heroics in goal which denied them. Slava Metreveli levelled the scores before Ponedelnik wrote his name into Soviet folklore with the decisive second.

1960 EURO: All you need to know

Initially, Yugoslavia's touch and tactical intelligence gave them the edge on a slippery pitch, Dragoslav Sekularac and Bora Kostić keeping up their good work of the semi-final. Their opener, however, did not reflect their early style: Galić was given the credit for bundling in Drazen Jerkovic's cross-shot, although Igor Netto was also in the vicinity. That goal took Galić equal with the world record of scoring in ten consecutive internationals.

Action from the Parc des Princes
Action from the Parc des PrincesAFP via Getty Images

Yashin, 30, then started to show his excellence, making a series of fine saves, especially from thunderous Kostić free-kicks, to keep his team in the game. Yugoslavian counterpart Blagoje Vidinic, by contrast, dropped Valentin Bubukin's long shot and allowed Metreveli to equalise.

Best goals of EURO 1960
Best goals of EURO 1960

Valentin Ivanov spurned a fine chance with three minutes left, though Yugoslavia missed a golden opportunity of their own in extra time when Jerkovic allowed the ball to skid under his foot right on the goal line. It proved decisive for, with seven minutes remaining, Ponedelnik headed his country to glory.

The first player to be called up to the Soviet Union national team while playing for a second division club, Ponedelnik had justified his  selection by hitting a hat-trick on his debut in a 7-1 win against Poland in May 1960. Now he was the toast of his country. "There are matches and goals which are really special, sort of a climax of a player's sporting life," he said later.

1960 EURO: Team of the Tournament


Lineups

Viktor Ponedelnik, USSR forward: "I always enjoy remembering that final. Having beaten Yugoslavia, the Soviet national team became the first ever European champions. No one can forget such moments of glory, be it the public, football fans or the players themselves. As for myself, the 113th-minute winner was the most important of my whole career. For that goal I must give credit to a superb cross by our left winger Mikhail Meshki."

Lineups

Yugoslavia goalkeeper Blagoje Vidinić gathers the ball under pressure
Yugoslavia goalkeeper Blagoje Vidinić gathers the ball under pressureAFP via Getty Images

USSR: Yashin; Chokheli, Maslyonkin, Krutikov, Voynov, Netto (c), Metreveli, Ivanov, Ponedelnik, Bubukin, Meskhi
Substitutes: none
Coach: Gavriil Kachalin

Yugoslavia: Vidinić; Durković, Jusufi; Žanetić, Miladinović, Perušić; Šekularac. Jerković, Galić, Matuš, Kostić
Substitutes: none
Coach: Ljubomir Lovrić

Referee: Arthur Ellis (England)

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