West Germany oust hosts Belgium to reach EURO 1972 final

Belgium 1-2 West Germany
Two goals from the predatory Gerd Müller subdued the hosts.

EURO 1972 semi-final highlights: Belgium 1-2 West Germany
EURO 1972 semi-final highlights: Belgium 1-2 West Germany

The narrow margin of victory did not mask West Germany's superiority in their 2-1 victory against Belgium in the 1972 UEFA European Championship semi-finals.

Belgium were looking to follow in the footsteps of the previous two hosts, Italy and Spain, who had both lifted the trophy on home soil, but fell short of the showpiece. They had their chances – Odilon Polleunis converting late on – but two goals from the predatory Gerd Müller had already done the damage for the vastly more experienced German outfit.

EURO 1972: All you need to know

In truth, West Germany were in a different class, even experienced Belgium defender Georges Heylens struggling to subdue them. Erwin Kremers proved a particular menace early on, beating two defenders before forcing a save from Christian Piot, who then missed a low cross from Jupp Heynckes which Müller could not quite reach. The great man soon made amends, though, heading in Günter Netzer's lob when Piot missed his punch.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1972
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1972

Germany captain Franz Beckenbauer assumed control of the game after half-time, slowing it down to his team's pace, while Netzer was pulling the strings upfield. Indeed, the latter also set up Germany's second, pinging the ball into the penalty area and to Müller, who controlled before finishing past Piot.

Jean Dockx, a defender by trade, tried hard in midfield but was no Wilfried Van Moer; Raoul Lambert and Paul Van Himst had their moments; and Polleunis scored from close range with seven minutes left. It was merely a coat of gloss for Belgium, however, with Heynckes' wild shot over when clean through summing up their day.

EURO 1972: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

The teams lining up for the national anthems
The teams lining up for the national anthemsdpa Picture-Alliance via AFP

Belgium: Piot; Heylens, Dolmans, Thissen, Martens (Polleunis 70); Vandendaele, Semmeling Verheyen; Dockx, Lambert, Van Himst (c)
Substitutes: Sanders, Van Binst, Teugels, Thio
Coach: Raymond Goethals

West Germany: Maier; Beckenbauer (c), Breitner, Schwarzenbeck, Höttges; Netzer, Wimmer, Hoeness (Grabowski 59); Kremers, Müller, Heynckes
Substitutes: Vogts, Bonhof, Löhr, Kleff
Coach: Helmut Schön

Referee: William Mullan (Scotland)