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France feel London pride

France picked up their first UEFA European Under-18 Championship title at White Hart Lane as Czechoslovakia lost their second successive final.

France fans witnessed their first UEFA European Under-18 Championship success in 1983
France fans witnessed their first UEFA European Under-18 Championship success in 1983 ©Getty Images

France were the winners of the 3rd UEFA European Under-18 Championship as Czechoslovakia fell at the final hurdle for the second year running.

England were selected as finals hosts, while East Germany entered for the first time, though they lost their qualifying tie to Czechoslovakia as the previous winners West Germany and Scotland both made their way through.

In the finals, Group C produced the plum tie of the opening stage as holders Scotland met hosts England, plus two other previous semi-finalists, Spain and the Soviet Union. The British duo began with wins – Scotland 3-0 against the USSR, England 1-0 versus Spain – before the hosts got revenge on their neighbours for crucial defeats in the past two editions with a 4-2 victory. Spain beat the USSR 1-0, but were then held 1-1 by Scotland, meaning England could afford to lose 2-0 to the Soviets and still claim a semi-final berth.

Czechoslovakia began Group A with a 3-1 win against West Germany while Bulgaria defeated Sweden 1-0. The Czechoslovakians then drew 0-0 with Bulgaria, allowing West Germany to move within a point of the duo with the only goal against Sweden. But although West Germany beat Bulgaria 3-1, with two points for a win Czechoslovakia's 1-1 draw with Sweden took them through on goal difference.

Yugoslavia led Group B after the opening day, winning 2-0 against Romania as Italy drew 1-1 versus Turkey. But Italy then overcame Yugoslavia 2-0 while Romania put six past Turkey, and although the Yugoslavians then beat Turkey 3-1, Italy's 2-0 win against Romania gave them top spot.

Group D was another close affair. Ireland and France took the pole positions early with wins against Belgium and Finland respectively. But then Ireland were held 0-0 by Finland as France overcame Belgium 3-1, meaning Les Bleus were able to draw 1-1 with the unbeaten Irish on the final day to top the group, while Finland finished on a high, winning 4-0 against Belgium.

The teams had been spread over the country for the group stage but travelled to London for the final stages. In the last four France struck the only goal against Italy while Czechoslovakia drew 1-1 with England before defeating the hosts 4-2 on penalties.

England did at least pick up bronze against Italy, reversing their semi-final shoot-out result after a 1-1 draw, and another single-goal victory gave France the title at White Hart Lane as Czechoslovakia gained silver again.