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EURO 1968: all you need to know

See how hosts Italy made the most of good fortune to win the first rebranded EURO.

Yugoslavia's Ilija Petković and Italy's Giacinto Facchetti ahead of the UEFA EURO 1968 final
Yugoslavia's Ilija Petković and Italy's Giacinto Facchetti ahead of the UEFA EURO 1968 final Alamy Stock Photo

Who won the 1968 EURO?

Italy trailed Yugoslavia at Rome's Stadio Olimpico to a Dragan Džajić effort after 39 minutes and looked to be heading for defeat, but Angelo Domenghini struck with ten minutes left to make it 1-1 and force a replay two days later. "To be honest, we didn't deserve to draw," admitted goalkeeper Dino Zoff. Coach Ferruccio Valcareggi brought in Sandro Mazzola and Luigi Riva for the rematch, and the latter shared scoring duties with Pietro Anastasi to finally see off Yugoslavia 2-0. "We definitely deserved to win that game," added Zoff.

Who were the top scorers at the 1968 EURO?

EURO 1968 final highlights: Italy 2-0 Yugoslavia
EURO 1968 final highlights: Italy 2-0 Yugoslavia

The tournament's top scorer with two goals, Dragan Džajić was named a Serbia and Montenegro Golden Player to mark UEFA's Golden Jubilee in 2004. He won more caps for the former Yugoslavia than any other player, 85 from 1964–79, and saved his best for the EURO. In 1968, he famously lobbed England goalkeeper Gordon Banks to conjure the late winner in the semi-final and also opened the scoring in the decider against Italy.

Two players had finished the qualifying competition level on six goals:

Janós Farkas (Hungary)
Luigi Riva (Italy)

Where was the 1968 EURO held?

Three stadiums in Italy were used for the 1968 EURO finals. Italy won the 'coin-toss semi-final' at Naples' Stadio San Paolo, while the other last-four game was at Florence's Stadio Comunale. The third-place play-off and the two EURO finals then all took place at Rome's Olimpico Stadium – with the third-place match and the first final both on the same day, 8 June.

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

Who managed the winning team at the 1968 EURO?

Ferruccio Valcareggi led Italy to success in 1968 on home soil. His appointment in 1966 followed Italy's humiliating FIFA World Cup defeat by North Korea, after which their own fans had pelted them with rotten tomatoes. Former Fiorentina midfielder and coach Valcareggi revived the Azzurri's fortunes over the next eight years. Italy suffered just six losses under his tutelage, including to Brazil in the final of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Who was the winning captain at the 1968 EURO?

Inter Milan defender Giacinto Facchetti captained Italy to glory in 1968. An all-time great, the left-back made the right call at the toss of the coin after Italy's goalless draw with the Soviet Union, enabling the hosts to reach the final. Facchetti spent his entire playing career with Inter, where he won four Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, two European Cups and two European/South American Cups. He scored three goals in 93 Italy games.

What was the format for the 1968 EURO?

The tournament's new name of UEFA European Championship – which replaced European Nations' Cup – was accompanied by a new qualifying format: eight groups of (seeded) teams played each other twice; the top side in each group progressed to the two-legged quarter-finals. The four winners – England, Italy, USSR and Yugoslavia – duly advanced to the four-team final tournament in Italy, which entailed two semi-finals, a final and a third-place play-off.

Roger Hunt congratulates Bobby Charlton after England's quarter-final victory over Spain
Roger Hunt congratulates Bobby Charlton after England's quarter-final victory over SpainPopperfoto via Getty Images

How many teams featured in the 1968 EURO?

Four teams figured at the finals, after 31 had entered qualifying; Malta and Iceland opted out, while West Germany made their debut.

How did 1968 EURO qualifying work?

For the first time, the qualification phase involved a group stage instead of just two-legged knockout ties, and led to a quarter-final round featuring the eight group winners. Debutants West Germany came second in their section behind Yugoslavia, while world champions England topped their group by holding Scotland to a 1-1 draw in front of 130,711 spectators at Hampden Park, the biggest crowd for any European Championship match.

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

Who was in the 1968 EURO team of the tournament?

GK: Dino Zoff (Italy)
DF: Mirsad Fazlagić (Yugoslavia)
DF: Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)
DF: Albert Shesternev (USSR)
DF: Bobby Moore (England)
MF: Ivica Osim (Yugoslavia)
MF: Sandro Mazzola (Italy)
MF: Angelo Domenghini (Italy)
FW: Geoff Hurst (England)
FW: Luigi Riva (Italy)
FW: Dragan Džajić (Yugoslavia)

Who scored the first goal at the 1968 EURO?

After the opening semi-final between the USSR and Italy finished goalless, Yugoslavia midfielder Dragan Džajić scored the first goal of the 1968 EURO, striking in the 86th minute against England at the Stadio Comunale, Florence. The only goal in a 1-0 victory, it meant Yugoslavia ended world champions England's chances of adding the European crown to their global title.

The first goal in the qualifying competition had been netted by the Netherlands' Miel Pijs on 35 minutes as the Oranje drew 2-2 with Hungary in Rotterdam on 7 September 1966. The defender, who had spells at PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Rotterdam, earned eight international caps but that effort against Hungary was his only Netherlands goal.

Five top facts about the 1968 EURO

Italy pose before the 1968 EURO final against Yugoslavia
Italy pose before the 1968 EURO final against Yugoslavia Getty Images

• The final, where Italy beat Yugoslavia after their first meeting finished 1-1, is the only European Championship or World Cup decider to go to a replay.

• Italy's semi-final victory is the only competitive European international to have been decided by a coin toss.

• Johan Cruyff made his Netherlands debut at home to Hungary, in what was the first group game in the competition's history, on 7 September 1966. He scored in the 2-2 draw.

• Scotland's match with England at Hampden Park, the pair's last competitive meeting before EURO '96, attracted what remains a record EURO crowd: 130,711.

• Alan Mullery became the first senior England player to be sent off in their 1-0 defeat by Yugoslavia in the semis.

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