EURO 1960: all you need to know

The inaugural European Nations' Cup finals were contested in France; find out all the key details.

The USSR team and delegation in France in 1960
The USSR team and delegation in France in 1960 ©AFP

Who won the 1960 EURO?

The Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in the final of the 1960 European Nations' Cup, Viktor Ponedelnik heading the winner 23 minutes into extra time in front of a crowd of 17,966 at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Milan Galić had bundled Yugoslavia into the lead just before the break, but Slava Metreveli levelled for the reigning Olympic champions after the restart, and it took a series of fine saves from Lev Yashin to keep the USSR in the game. The final looked to be heading for a replay until 23-year-old SKA Rostov-on-Don striker Ponedelnik notched the winner. He later told UEFA.com: "The Soviet national team became the first ever European champions. No one can forget such moments of glory. As for myself, that 113th-minute winner was the most important of my whole career. That was the star moment of my life."

Who were the top scorers at the 1960 EURO?

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

Five players finished the finals level on two goals:

Milan Galić (Yugoslavia)
François Heutte (France)
Valenrtin Ivanov (Soviet Union)
Dražen Jerković (Yugoslavia)
Viktor Ponedelnik (Soviet Union)

Two others scored five in qualifying:

Titus Buberník (Czechoslovakia)
Just Fontaine (France)

Where was the 1960 EURO held?

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1960
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1960

The first European Nations' Cup finals were staged in France; Paris's Parc des Princes hosted one semi-final and the final, while the other semi-final and the third-place play-off game took place at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. The Parc des Princes had held the first European Cup final four years earlier, Real Madrid beating Stade de Reims 4-3, and both that final and the EURO decider had the same referee: England's Arthur Ellis.

Who managed the winning team at the 1960 EURO?

Gavriil Kachalin led the USSR to EURO success in 1960, having led the team to Olympic football gold in 1956. He was also in charge for their 1958, 1962 and 1970 FIFA World Cup campaigns, and also won the 1964 Soviet Supreme League while in charge of Dinamo Tbilisi.

Who was the winning captain at the 1960 EURO?

Spartak Moskva midfielder Igor Netto captained the Soviet Union to EURO glory in 1960, having spearheaded their Olympic triumph in Melbourne, Australia, four years earlier. He won five USSR titles and three domestic cups at Spartak, but is best remembered for an extraordinary act of sportsmanship at the 1962 World Cup when he told the referee to disallow a goal against Uruguay because the ball had entered the net from the wrong side. Team-mate Ponedelnik told UEFA.com: "In everyday life he was a shy and modest man, but he always had his say and argued his point to the end. It was not by chance that our national team's greatest moments are tied to his name."

Igor Netto with the trophy after the 1960 final win
Igor Netto with the trophy after the 1960 final win©UEFA.com

What was the format for the 1960 EURO?

Four teams competed at the final tournament in France, which took place from 6–10 July 1960. The hosts lost the opening semi-final 5-4 to Yugoslavia, despite taking a two-goal lead twice at the Parc des Princes. In the other semi, which kicked off later the same night, the USSR made light work of Czechoslovakia, winning 3-0. France fell 2-0 to Czechoslovakia in the third-place play-off in Marseille on 9 July before the USSR edged out Yugoslavia in the final the following day.

How many teams featured in the 1960 EURO?

Four teams figured at the inaugural finals, after only 17 entered qualifying; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not interested, while Italy, the Netherlands and 1954 World Cup winners West Germany also declined.

The USSR got the better of Yugoslavia in the final
The USSR got the better of Yugoslavia in the finalAFP via Getty Images

How did 1960 EURO qualifying work?

The first EURO was a knockout competition, with a single preliminary round tie ensuring that the field was reduced to 16 teams for the first round, with ties settled over two legs. The winners of the four second-round ties all made their way to the final tournament in France (with the USSR making it through on a walkover after Spain refused to play them for political reasons).

Who was in the 1960 EURO team of the tournament?

GK: Lev Yashin (Soviet Union)
DF: Vladimir Djuković (Yugoslavia)
DF: Ladislav Novák (Czechoslovakia)
MF: Igor Netto (Soviet Union)
MF: Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia)
MF: Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union)
FW: Slava Metreveli (Soviet Union)
FW: Milan Galić (Yugoslavia)
FW: Viktor Ponedelnik (Soviet Union)
FW: Dragoslav Šekularac (Yugoslavia)
FW: Borivoje Kostić (Yugoslavia)

Who scored the first goal at the first EURO?

Yugoslavia and USSR tangle for possession in the final
Yugoslavia and USSR tangle for possession in the finalAFP via Getty Images

Yugoslavia forward Milan Galić got the first goal at the first EURO final tournament, registering 11 minutes into the opening semi-final against hosts France at the Parc des Princes. Jean Vincent equalised within a minute, but Yugoslavia went on to win 5-4. Galić struck in every round of the 1960 EURO and was a European Cup finalist with Partizan in 1966, the Belgrade side losing 2-1 to Real Madrid in Brussels.

The very first goal of the qualifying competition was scored by the Republic of Ireland's Liam Tuohy, as his team beat Czechoslovakia 2-0 in Dublin on 5 April 1959. They lost the preliminary-round return leg 4-0 in Prague on 10 May. A future Ireland manager, Tuohy was working in the Guinness brewery and playing part-time football for Shamrock Rovers at the time.

Whose idea was the first EURO?

Henri Delaunay: architect of the  UEFA European Championship
Henri Delaunay: architect of the UEFA European ChampionshipAFP via Getty Images

During his time as general secretary of the French Football Federation (FFF), Henri Delaunay had proposed to FIFA in 1927 that there should be a continental championship for Europe, and he returned to the idea upon becoming the first General Secretary of UEFA following the continental body's foundation in 1954. He died in 1955, but his son Pierre was made secretary of the European Nations' Cup organising committee the same year, with the trophy for the new competition named the Henri Delaunay Cup in recognition of his father's founding role. The fee for teams wishing to enter the first edition was just 200 Swiss Francs.

Five top facts about the 1960 EURO

• Yugoslavia's 5-4 win against France in the opening semi-final remains the highest-scoring game in EURO finals history.

• An average of 4.25 goals per game (17 in four matches) were scored at the 1960 EURO: by far the highest hit-rate in any edition of the competition.

• Vlastimil Bubník, who scored for Czechoslovakia in the third-place play-off win against France, won an ice hockey bronze medal at the 1964 Winter Olympics.

• Final-winner Viktor Ponedelnik's surname means 'Monday' in Russian. The game kicked off at 22:00 on Sunday, Moscow time, and did not conclude until just after midnight; "my surname was a dream for headline writers," recalled Ponedelnik.

• The USSR players each received $200 in prize money for winning the EURO, and were feted at an Eiffel Tower reception after the game, where Ponedelnik remembered meeting Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabéu. "He was ready to buy half of our squad with no hesitation. We avoided the conversation …"

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