EURO 1976: all you need to know

The 1976 European Championship finals were settled by a famous penalty; find out more.

Ladislav Jurkemik and Anton Ondruš celebrate Czechoslovakia's UEFA EURO 1976 victory over the Netherlands
Ladislav Jurkemik and Anton Ondruš celebrate Czechoslovakia's UEFA EURO 1976 victory over the Netherlands Icon Sport via Getty Images

Who won the 1976 EURO?

Antonín Panenka's trademark penalty settled the 1976 UEFA European Championship final in Czechoslovakia's favour, their game against West Germany having ended 2-2 after 120 minutes of football at the Stadion Crvena zvezda in Belgrade. Uli Hoeness's shoot-out miss gave Panenka the chance to settle the 20 June tie, and the Bohemians Praha midfielder rose to the occasion, deceiving goalkeeper Sepp Maier with a long run-up before gently chipping the ball into the net. "I chose the penalty because I realised that it was the easiest and simplest way of scoring a goal," he told UEFA.com. "It's a simple recipe."

Who were the top scorers at the 1976 EURO?

EURO 1976 final highlights: Czechoslovakia stun Germans
EURO 1976 final highlights: Czechoslovakia stun Germans

West Germany's Dieter Müller was the top scorer at the finals with four goals; sensationally, he claimed a hat-trick in the semi-final win against Yugoslavia on what was his international debut, then struck in the final three days later. The Köln forward had an enviable hit-rate, but would play only 12 games for his country (scoring nine times) as he struggled to dislodge Gerd Müller from his preferred position up front.

With eight goals, the Republic of Ireland's Don Givens was the leading marksman in qualifying, the QPR attacker kicking off with a treble in a 3-0 win against the Soviet Union before registering in a 1-1 draw in Turkey. Ireland failed to make it through their group, but Limerick-born Givens went out in style, becoming the only Irish player to date to score four in an international match as his side beat Turkey 4-0 in Dublin.

Where was the 1976 EURO held?

The 1976 finals were staged in two venues in the former Yugoslavia; the opening semi-final (Czechoslovakia 3-1 Netherlands, aet) and the third-place play-off game (Netherlands 3-2 Yugoslavia, aet) were held at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, in what is now Croatia. Germany's 4-2 victory over the hosts (again, after extra time) and the Czechs' final triumph both took place in the Stadion Crvena zvezda in Belgrade, in what is now Serbia.

Who managed the winning team at the 1976 EURO?

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1976
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1976

Czechoslovakia's unlikely success was overseen by Slovakian coach Václav Ježek and his assistant Jozef Vengloš. Appointed in 1972 after a three-year spell in the Netherlands with ADO Den Haag, Ježek had made his name coaching Sparta Praha, but his Czechoslovakia team were dominated by Bratislava-based players. He reportedly toughened his side up for penalty shoot-outs by asking spectators to boo and whistle at them as they practised spot kicks in training.

Who was the winning captain at the 1976 EURO?

Anton Ondruš led by example in Yugoslavia; the tall, teak-tough sweeper was a dominant figure, especially in the air, scoring in the semi-final against the Netherlands and the final shoot-out against West Germany. The 'Beckenbauer of the East' was one of seven Slovan Bratislava players in Ježek's 22-man squad, but ensured there were no cliques in the squad. "He was a leading personality in this team," remembered Panenka. "The atmosphere was really great; there were no differences between the Czechs and the Slovaks."

What was the format for the 1976 EURO?

Four teams competed at the final tournament in Yugoslavia, which ran from 16–20 June 1976. As in 1972, the two semi-finals were played simultaneously on 16 June, Czechoslovakia eliminating the Netherlands while West Germany ousted the hosts. The third-place play-off came three days later, as the Dutch beat Yugoslavia in Zagreb, before Czechoslovakia won the final on penalties the following day in Belgrade.

How did 1976 EURO qualifying work?

Watch Müller guide West Germany to 1976 final
Watch Müller guide West Germany to 1976 final

As with the two previous editions, the 1976 competition began with a qualifying group stage, the 32 teams divided into eight groups of four. Sides faced their group opponents home and away, with the top team in each section (two points for a win, one for a draw) progressing to the play-offs. The winners of these four two-legged ties went to the finals.

Who was in the 1976 EURO team of the tournament?

GK: Ivo Viktor (Czechoslovakia)
DF: Anton Ondruš (Czechoslovakia)
DF: Ján Pivarník (Czechoslovakia)
DF: Ruud Krol (Netherlands)
DF: Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)
MF: Antonín Panenka (Czechoslovakia)
MF: Jaroslav Pollák (Czechoslovakia)
MF: Rainer Bonhof (West Germany)
MF: Dragan Džajić (Yugoslavia)
FW: Zdeněk Nehoda (Czechoslovakia)
FW: Dieter Müller (West Germany)

Who scored the first goal at the 1976 EURO?

Both semi-finals kicked off at the same time and the first goal in each game was scored in the 19th minute: Anton Ondruš for Czechoslovakia and Danilo Popivoda for Yugoslavia. UEFA.com has no way of confirming which of the two goals was scored first.

The very first goal in the qualifying competition was netted by Finland's Timo Rahja in a 2-1 loss at home to Poland on 1 September 1974. The midfielder had caught the eye at HJK Helsinki but spent the 1974/75 season in the Netherlands with MVV Maastricht.

Five top facts about the 1976 EURO

Watch every Panenka penalty at EURO
Watch every Panenka penalty at EURO

• All four games at the final tournament went to extra time, making this the most competitive EURO in history, though only the final itself was settled on penalties.

• Antonín Panenka's chipped shoot-out decider in the final was the first of its kind in international football, though it has been imitated plenty of times since; "if it were patentable, I'd have patented it," he joked.

• Panenka put on weight perfecting his penalty technique. He and his club goalkeeper would stay on after training to practise spot kicks, playing for "a bar of chocolate or a glass of beer"; once he had mastered the 'Panenka' he remembered "I started to gain weight, because I was winning the bets".

• Franz Beckenbauer won his 100th international cap in the final. Beckenbauer was down to take West Germany's fifth penalty in the final, but Uli Hoeness's miss and Panenka's conversion meant he did not have to.

• Germany have not lost a major penalty shoot-out since the 1976 EURO final.

Related Items