Sunday, February 28, 2016

Manchester United's new star

Just a week a go I had never heard about Marcus Rashford. The 18-year old got his debut in Manchester United's first team in this week Europa League match against FC Midtjylland. In that match he scored two goals, becoming Manchester United's youngest player to score in European matches, and led Manchester United's 5-1 comeback.
Today the young Rashford started in his Premier League debut against title contenders Arsenal, and again scored two goals in Manchester United's well-deserved 3-2 victory against an Arsenal side that is no longer likely to contend the title.
After a long period of poor performance the success of young Rashford comes at the right time for coach Louis Van Gaal, whose job has and surely continues to be on the line. However, no matter what, as a football fan, it is great to see a new young player take up his debut with such storm, and it will be great to follow his future career.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Greatst Euro Matches: Czechoslovakia-West Germany (1976)

In 1976 the two dominant sides in Europe were West Germany and the Netherlands. These two countries had met in the World Cup final of 1974, where the Germans had gone out victorious, becoming both European Champions and World Champions. In 1976 they were set on defending their title. They started by winning their qualifying group ahead of Greece, Bulgaria and Malta, and then defeated Spain in the quarterfinals. In the semi-final against the home side Yugoslavia the never-beaten Germans came back from being 0-2 down, to win the match 4-2 after extra time with three goals by the FC Cologne striker Dieter Muller (no relation to his legendary teammate Gerd Muller), who had come on with only ten minutes to go of the match.
The German team that played the final was largely the same team as had played the World Cup final, with a few new players, notably in attack, where Dieter Muller was the striker on top and Erich Beer from Hertha Berlin was the number 10. In defense MSV Duisburg's Bernard Dietz replaced Paul Breitner. Otherwise, the team was still captained by Bayern Munich's legendary Franz Beckenbauer, supported by his Bayern Munich teammates Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck and Sepp Maier (on goal), as well as Borussia Monchengladbach's fighter, Berti Vogts. In midfield Herbert Wimmer and Rainer Bohnhof also from Borussia Monchengladbach were together with Bayern Munich's Uli Hoeness to support Beer and the great Eintracht Frankfurt player, Bernd Holzenbein.
Czechoslovakia had a strong team with what was perhaps one of the brightest generations of Slovak players ever, with seven players from the strongest Czechoslovak club, Slovan Bratislava, which in 1969 had won the European Cup Winners Cup against FC Barcelona. The captain was Anton Odrus, from Slovan Bratislava, as the centerpoint in a compact and crowded defense supported by the best goalkeeper in the world at the time, Dukla Prag's Ivo Viktor. In midfield Antonin Panenka from Bohemians Praha, Josef Moder from Lokomotiva Kosice and Jan Svehlik from Slovan Bratislava gave the balls to the two strikers, Marian Masny from Slovan Bratislava and the dangerous Zdenek Nehoda from Dukla Prague.
Czechoslovakia had reached a hard-fought final: they had won their qualifying group ahead of England, Portugal and Cyprus and then defeated the USSR over two legs in two highly charged quarterfinals. In the semi-final they faced the orange total-football machine of the Netherlands, and in a hugely dramatic match (with three red cards, two to the Netherlands and one for Czechoslovakia) won 3-1 after extra time.
After defeating all these great sides, Czechoslovakia had no reason to fear the Germans, although they were arguably facing the best team in the world at the time.
But as the match started, the Germans were not looking as awesome against a highly motivated and well organized Czech team, who from the start put a high pressure on the Germans. And it was in such a situation that they went ahead after only eight minutes. Under pressure Berti Vogts lost the ball inside the German area and the ball got to Koloman Gogh, whose shot was excellently blocked by Sepp Maier, but the riposte ended with Zdenek Nehoda, crossing the ball into Jan Svehlik, who had no problem pushing the ball into goal. After 25 minutes it looked as if the match would continue going Czechoslovakia's way. A clearing in the German defense was caught by Spartak Trnava's Karol Dobias at the edge of the German area, and his precise shot went outside the range of Sepp Maier for 2-0 for Czechoslovakia.
In their semifinal against Yugoslavia West Germany had fought themselves back from being 2-0 down to win the match, and their response came only three minutes later when Dieter Muller scored on an excellent volley after a cross from Rainer Bohnhof.
The Germans now started to work themselves into the match and putting pressure on the Czechoslovaks, who were pressed back. In the second half Ivo Viktor in particular rose to the match, making spectacular saves throughout the second half, which moved forward slowly for the Czechoslovaks. But the Germans were patient, and in the 89th minutes they were rewarded after a corner kick. Bernd Holzenbein rose ahead of Viktor to head the ball into goal and force extra time. It thus became noteworthy that every single match in the tournament had gone into extra time. Perhaps the Germans had the psychological upper hand as they went into extra time, but the defense of both sides held on as both teams were getting tired.
For the first time a European Championship final would be decided on penalty kicks.
Both sides scored on their first three kicks. After Ladislav Jurkemic brought Czecholsovakia ahead 4-3, Bayern Munich's Uli Hoeness shot went far over the goal, and in the next kick Antonin Panenka could give the title to Czechoslovakia.
Panenka's kick is one of the most famous kicks in football history. Casually, and perhaps a bit arrogantly in the face of the enormous pressure of the moment, Panenka chipped the ball softly at the center of goal as Sepp Maier dove to his left. He had had won the psychological game against Maier and had given Czechoslovakia a surprising and deserved title as they had defeated some of the best teams in the world at the time.

Belgrade, 20th June 1976, Crvena Zvezda Stadium 
Attendance: 30,790 
Referee: Sergio Gonella (Italy) 

Czechoslovakia-West Germany 2-2 (AET) 
Penalty kicks: Czechoslovakia-West Germany 5-3

Czechoslovakia: Ivo Viktor; Karol Dobiaš ( František Veselý, 109), Jozef Čapkovič, Anton Ondruš (c), Ján Pivarník, Koloman Gögh, Antonín Panenka, Jozef Móder, Ján Švehlík (Ladislav Jurkemik, 79), Marián Masný, Zdeněk Nehoda. Coahc: Václav Ježek 
West Germany: Sepp Maier; Franz Beckenbauer (c) , Berti Vogts, Bernard Dietz, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Herbert Wimmer (Heinz Flohe, 46), Rainer Bonhof , Uli Hoeneß, Erich Beer (Hans Bongartz, 80), Dieter Müller, Bernd Hölzenbein. Coach: Helmut Schön 

1-0 Svehlik (8) 
2-0 Dobias (25) 
2-1 Dieter Muller (28) 
2-2 Holzenbein (89) 

Penalty kicks:
1-0 Masny 
1-1 Bonhof 
2-1 Nehoda 
2-2 Flohe 
3-2 Ondrus 
3-3 Bongartz 
4-3 Jurkemik 
Hoeness missed for West Germany 
5-3 Panenka

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Greatest Euro Matches: West Germany-USSR (1972)

In 1972 West Germany had built up a strong and competitive side based on the two strongest clubs in the country: Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach. While Borussia Monchenglandbach had won the 1970 and 1971 Bundesliga titles, in 1972 a period of dominance by Bayern Munich would set in, that would give the club three German and European Cup titles in a row.
Germany had qualified for the final tournament in Belgium by winning an easy group ahead of Poland, Turkey and Albania, before facing England in the quarterfinals. In the first leg at Wembley Stadium Germany got revenge for the World Cup final defeat six years before by winning 3-1.
In the semi-final they had defeated the Belgian home side 2-1 on two goals by the Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller. Muller was already then know as “Der Bomber”, and would go on to become the most prolific goalscorers of all time. But he was not the only one who would become a legend on the German side. The captain of Germany and Bayern Munich was Franz Beckenbauer, who was by then probably the best defender in the world and had redefined the role of a defender in football. Alongside he had other Bayern collagues: Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Paul Breitner and Sepp Maier in the goal. As midfield general the Germans had the elegant Gunther Netzer from Borussia Monchengladbach, who would become German footballer of the year in 1972 and 1973, before moving to Real Madrid. He was complemented by Uli Hoeness and Jupp Heynckes, from Munich and Monchengladbach respectively, who could both pass the balls and score goals.
The USSR had won their qualifying group ahead of Spain, Northern Ireland and Cyprus, and the defeated Yugoslavia in the quarterfinal. In the semi-final they defeated Hungary 1-0. It was a solid and physically strong side captained by Murtaz Khurtsilava from Dynamo Tbilisi. The midfield was entirely made up of Dynamo Kiev players: Viktor Kolotov, Vladimir Troshkin and Anatoli Konkov.
Although only one month before, in a friendly match, West Germany had beaten the USSR 4-1, it was worth noting that was in the Soviets third European final in four tries, and they remained one of the most stable and strong sides in the world.
But that June day in Brussels was again Germany's day. With a superb Gunther Netzer in midfield and a perfect Beckenbauer in defense, they completely dominated the match from start to end. Gerd Muller scored the opener when he picked up a rebound from the Soviet goalkeeper on a strong shot from Jupp Heynckes. Ten minutes into the second half the Borussia Monchengladbach player Herbert Wimmer when he got a through-ball from Heynckes that completely tore apart the USSR defense. Five minutes later Muller scored his second after he got through on a one-two with Heynckes, and that sealed the match. In the last half hour the Germans could have won the match by more goals against a disillusioned Soviet side, but the match ended 3-0, which remained the largest margin of victory in a Euro final until 2012.
In 1974 West Germany would cement itself as the strongest team in the world by winning the World Cup, and would be the only European country until Spain in 2010 who won a World Cup after winning a European Championship.
Many still regard the German side that won in 1972 as the best team to have ever won the competition. Today this role would perhaps be contested by the 2012 Spanish side.

Brussels, 18th June 1972, Heysel Stadium 
Attendance: 43,437 
Referee: Ferdinand Marschall (Austria) 

West Germany-USSR 3-0 

West Germany: Sepp Maier; Franz Beckenbauer (c), Horst-Dieter Höttges, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Paul Breitner, Herbert Wimmer, Uli Hoeness, Günter Netzer, Jupp Heynckes, Gerd Müller, Erwin Kremers. Coach: Helmut Schön 
USSR: Yevhen Rudakov; Revaz Dzodzuashvili, Murtaz Khurtsilava (c), Vladimir Kaplichny, Yuri Istomin, Viktor Kolotov, Vladimir Troshkin, Anatoli Konkov (Eduard Kozynkevych, 46), Anatoliy Baidachny, Anatoly Banishevski ( Eduard Kozynkevych, 66), Vladimir Onishchenko. Coach: Aleksandr Ponomarev 

1-0 Muller (27) 
2-0 Wimmer (52) 
3-0 Muller (58)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Greatest Matches: Italy-Yugoslavia (1968)

By 1968 the tournament had become more established and been renamed the European Championship. Instead of playing knock-out matches for qualification a group qualification was introduced with four teams in each group. The winners of each group would go on to knock-out quarterfinals (home and away) after which the four teams of the final tournament would be found.
Still, some changes were not made. By 1968 it was no longer deemed possible to play an extra match in case of a tie, except for the final. Without penalty kicks or extra time, knock-out outcomes were decided on coin toss.
And this was the only time this happened when the home team of Italy won its semi-final. To get to the semifinals Italy had won a group ahead of Romania, Switzerland and Cyprus, and then defeated Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. The semi-final against the USSR ended 0-0, and the Italian captain's call for tails gave the home side the place in the final.
Despite the random nature of their victory Italy had a strong side that surely belonged to the best in the world. On goal was Dino Zoff, from Napoli, who would go on to become the most legendary goalkeeper in Italian football. The Inter fullback Giacinto Facchetti captained the side, complemented by some outstanding defenders: Inter's Tarciso Burgnich, AC Milan's Roberto Rosato and the Juventus veteran Sandro Salvatore. Although largely focused on the defensive the team possessed a powerful counter-attacking force with Inter's Alessandro Mazzola, Inter's Angelo Domenghini and Cagliari's Luigi Riva. Italy was nevertheless weakened before the final as AC Milan's strong striker Gianni Rivera and Juventus star defender, Giancarlo Bercellino were both injured. Also, the coach Feruzzio Valcareggi had chosen to play without either Mazzola or Riva for the final against Yugoslavia.
To get to the final the Yugoslav side had defeated West German and Albania in the group stages and then trashed France in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals Yugoslavia had played the defending world champions of England, who had been full of expectations about European success (defeating the defending European champions of Spain in the quarterfinals), but Yugoslavia had won 1-0 on a late goal by the Red Star Belgrade legend Dragan Dzajic.
Dzajic was not the only star of the team. Hajduk Split's Dragan Holcer and FK Partizan's Blagoje Paunovic. OFK Belgrade's Ilja Petkovic and FK Sarajevo's Vahidin Musemic were the creative forces behind the attack where Dzajic was the undisputed star.
Yugoslavia had shown they could take on everyone, and had nothing to fear when facing the Italian hosts at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Without Bercellino and Rivera Italy looked to be struggling and Yugoslavia went ahead only ten minutes into the first half when Djazic got his toe on the ball surrounded by three Italian defenders. In the second half Italy pressed forward, and finally got the equalizer in the 80th minute when Domenghini scored on a free kick that seemed to go through the Yugoslav defensive wall. The intensely fought match ended 1-1 after an extra time where Yugoslavia fought bordering violent, for the victory.
At the end, it seemed Italians were the most relieved to get 1-1.
As penalty kicks had not been introduced yet, a re-match was scheduled for two days later. While Yugoslavia played with almost the same team (only Idriz Hosic replaced an injured Ilija Petkovic), Valcareggi made some important changes to his side: Mazzola replaced a poor Giovanni Lodetti while Riva replaced Pierino Pratti in attack. Also in defense Valcareggi introduced two new players. These changes made all the difference giving the Italian side more depth in defense and creative power up front. Also, as the match started Italy seemed less affected by the fight of two days before. It was exactly Riva who bought Italy ahead after 12 minutes when he picked up a poor shot by Domenghini and placed the ball around the goalkeeper. Yugoslavia seemed unable to pick up from two days before and twenty minutes later the young Juventus striker Pietro Anastasi made it 2-0 on an elegant volley from the edge of the area.
This in reality sealed Italy's victory as the home team retreated to an intelligent defense. In fact, Riva should have scored a couple of more goals, missing some great chances on counter-attacks. Still, this did not take away that Italy had won a well-deserved victory after the coin's luck got them to the final. Two years later almost the same Italian side would make it to the World Cup final, only to be defeated by the mighty Brazilians.

Rome, 10th June 1968, Stadio Olimpico
Attendance: 32,000 
Referee: Jose Maria Ortiz de Mendibil (Spain) 

Italy-Yugoslavia 2-0 

Italy: Dino Zoff; Tarcisio Burgnich, Giacinto Facchetti (c), Aristide Guarneri, Roberto Rosato, Sandro Salvadore, Giancarlo De Sisti, Sandro Mazzola, Pietro Anastasi, Angelo Domenghini, Luigi Riva. Coach: Feruccio Valcareggi 
Yugoslavia: Ilija Pantelić; Mirsad Fazlagić (c), Blagoje Paunović, Dragan Holcer, Milan Damjanović, Dobrivoje Trivić, Miroslav Pavlović, Jovan Aćimović, Idriz Hošić, Vahidin Musemić, Dragan Džajić. Coach: Rajko Mitic 

1-0 Riva (12) 
2-0 Anastasi (31)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feeling sorry for the top team

A few weeks ago I said that with good results against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal, Leicester should be considered serious title candidates.
After defeating Liverpool and Manchester City, the Premier League leaders were now facing Arsenal away. Arsenal is under enormous pressure to win the league, and that is perhaps why they appear more as a bunch of arrogant school boys who think they are entitles to the title, than actual champions. In fact Leicester, who despite everything must start to feel the pressure of being leaders, seems much more like a side deserving of the title.
And it all seemed to go Leicester's way when Jamie Vardy scored on a penalty (yes, it was a penalty). Leicester had actually been the better team, with a risky high pressure and more possession. But early in the second half it could have been the pressure that got to Danny Simpson, who received a second red card for a silly grab on Olivier Giroud. With this Arsenal upped their pressure while Leicester defended heroically, but were unable to prevent Theo Walcott's equalizer.
And it was only in the fifth minute of extra time when a returning Danny Welbeck gave the Gunners a new shot at the title. It was also after Leicester had conceded a silly free kick outside their area, and Danny Welbeck got the header.
Leicester are still two points ahead of Arsenal on top of the league. Despite what happened today, I think nobody would have expected this three weeks ago either. But the late defeat to Arsenal could cause Leicester to falter in their faith in the title, and may give Arsenal renewed belief that the can win the title.
I think all neutrals, like myself, would love to see Leicester remain on top, and I did get very disappointed when Danny Welbeck scored!

Neville's first victory

I have never been really fond of Valencia's eagerness to fire managers and hire new ones as a way to success. Since Rafa Benitez in the 2003-2004 season Valencia has done little under a wide array of managers that have included Claudio Ranieri, Ronald Koeman and Unay Emery.
It was a surprise when the ex-Manchester United player Gary Neville was made new manager in December. With Neville never having coached a top team before, it certainly seemed a gamble, and personally I continue to be skeptical. There have been some awful results, from the elimination in the Champions League to the 0-7 humiliation by FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. And only now, more than two months since he took over, Gary Neville got his first victory when they defeated Espanyol 2-1 in la Liga.
Maybe this first victory, coming so late, will be the start of something good. I doubt it though. I fear that this first victory is just an exception under what I don't believe will be a good period for Valencia under Gary Neville.
I hope I am wrong.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Greatest Euro Matches: Spain-USSR (1964)

The 1964 European Championship again not have the participation of either Germany or Italy, although England entered, only to be eliminated in the first round of the knock-out round. The tournament had no seeding, which led to Denmark making it to the semifinals, after defeating Malta, Albania and Luxembourg. The latter had been the sensation of the tournament when they eliminated the Netherlands, and were only defeated 0-1 by Denmark in third re-match.
The final tournament was to take place in Spain, who four years before had withdrawn from the tournament when refusing the play the latter champions of the USSR. This time, the USSR, having defeated Italy and Sweden on the way, had come to Spain to defend their title, and started by crushing Denmark 3-0 and making it to the final. The Spanish home side had defeated Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to make it to the final four, where they met Hungary. It was only after a nerve-wrecking extra time that Spain scored the winner, and made it to the final.
At home in Madrid, with the Dictator General Francisco Franco watching with 80,000 other spectators, Spain would not forfeit.
The dominating force in Spanish football throughout the 1950 had been Real Madrid. Between 1956 the team had won all the European Cup titles and led by the legendary Alfredo di Stefano, it was surely the best team in the world. Di Stefano had played for Argentina, Colombia, and finally Spain, but had retired from national teams in 1961. In the team of 1964 there was only one Real Madrid player though, namely the right winger Amancio, who is still one of the legends of Real Madrid. Otherwise, the team was a good mixture of players from different teams: On goal Athletic Bilbao's Jose Iribar. In defense Atletico Madrid's Feliciano Rivillo along the team captain Ferran Olivella from FC Barcelona. On midfield another Barcelona man, Jesus Pereda, was one of the team's leading players. In attack two Zaragoza strikers, Marcelino and Carlos Lepetra were supplemented by the superb Inter Milan playmaker Luis Suarez, who in 1960 had won the Balon d'Or (the only Spaniard to have won it).
A solid and elegant team that would be facing the physically strong defending champions. On goal the USSR still had the greatest goalkeeper in the world, Lev Yashin. In defense the team had two of the best defenders in the world at the time, Torpedo Moscow's Valery Voronin and the legenday CSKA Moscow defender Albert Shesterynov. The team was captained by the veteran striker Valentina Ivanov from Torpedo Moscow, while in attack Viktor Ponedelnik, who had scored the winning goal in the 1960 final, supported Spartak Moscow's Galimzyan Khusainov and Alexey Korneev.
Spain had to win, and the team started with putting pressure on the Soviets. Only 6 minutes into the match a cross by Luis Suarez hit the leg of the Dynamo Moscow defender Edouard Mudrik and the ball landed at the feet of Pereda, who hammered the ball into the net. But the Spanish delight lasted only a couple of minutes when Khusainov received a perfect pass and slid the ball under Iribar, who looked a bit passive in the situation.
The match then became a tactical match where the technically superior Spaniards were trying in vain to open the strong Soviet defense, while not letting themselves be caught in the patient Soviet counterattacks. Shesterynov had many close encounters in his direct duel with Marcelino, one of the most interesting themes in an intense match.
Only in the 84th minutes did Spain get relief.
Pereda elegantly got around a Soviet defender on the right side and his cross went to Marcelino, who had gotten a meter away from Shesterynov. It was a difficult ball as it came down a bit behind him and low, but Marcelino elegantly got his head around and headed the ball hard and low towards the near post. To many it looked as if it had gone around the goal. But it was a beautiful goal enough to give Spain the title.
Due to the circumstances the title was not regarded highly by many pundits, and it remained Spain's only international title until they finally broke through to become a footballing superpower in 2008.

Madrid, 21st June 1964, Santiago Bernabeu 
Attendance: 79,115 
Refree: Arthur Edward Ellis, England 

Spain-USSR 2-1

Spain: José Ángel Iribar; Feliciano Rivilla; Ferran Olivella (c), Isacio Calleja, Ignacio Zoco, Josep Maria Fusté, Amancio Amaro, Jesús María Pereda, Marcelino, Luis Suárez, Carlos Lapetra. Coach: Jose Villalonga 
USSR: Lev Yashin; Valery Voronin, Albert Shesternyov, Eduard Mudrik, Viktor Shustikov, Viktor Ponedelnik, Igor Chislenko, Valentin Ivanov (c), Viktor Anichkin, Aleksei Korneev, Galimzyan Khusainov. Coach: Konstantin Beskov 

1-0 Pereda (6) 
1-1 Khusainov (8) 
2-1 Marcelino (84)

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Greatest Euro Matches: France-Yugoslavia (1960)

The idea for a European Cup of Nations was first proposed by Henri Delaunay in the 1930s, but only took form after he became Secretary General of UEFA in 1954. The tournament started in 1958 as a knock-out tournament with only limited interest, and only 17 teams signed up, among whom notable absences were England, Italy and West Germany. The tournament was to be played by home and away knock out matches until the semifinals, which were to take place in France, the home of Delaunay, who also gave name to the trophy.
The four teams that made it to the semifinals in France were the French hosts, Yugoslavia, USSR and Czechoslovakia. USSR got there controversially as they were to face Spain in the quarterfinals, but Spain, ruled by Francisco Franco, refused to play the Communist country, who advanced without a match.
But the first semi-final was to see France face Yugoslavia. France had without doubt high hopes after their side had thrilled the world in the 1958 World Cup, making it to third place, only defeated by the mighty Brazilians. However, their two biggest stars, Just Fontaine and Raymond Kopa were not available to play. Instead of Kopa, France was captained by Lens' Maryan Wisnieski who in 1955 had been the youngest man ever to play for France. The veteran Jean Jaqcues Marcel was another important player of a team that in fact had no other returnees from the 1958 World Cup. Still, the French had high expectations to their team. To make it to the semifinals France had first dispatched Greece, and had then destroyed Austria 9-4 on aggregate.
Yugoslavia was nevertheless not to be underestimated. They surely had one of the strongest sides in the world at the time, which was seen only a few months later when they took gold in the Rome Olympics and two years later when they made it to the World Cup semifinals in Chile and had made it to the quarterfinals of the 1958 World Cup. The team that Yugoslavia brought to France had some very experienced players. The FK Partizan legend and Red Belgrade star, Branko Zebec was throughout the 1950s one of the world's best players, and was also captaining the side in Paris. In attack the Yugoslavs were powerful with a striking force of Milan Galic from FK Partizan and Drazen Jerkovic from Dynamo Zagreb. The left winger Borivoje “Bora” Kostic was also a prolific goalscorer, who today remains the most scoring player in the history of Red Star Belgrade.
To make it to the semifinals the Yugoslavians had eliminated Bulgaria and Portugal, and the match in Paris was to be a repeat of a match two years before, when Yugoslavia had defeated France 3-2 in the first round of their 1958 World Cup group.
But now France was at home and expectations were high.
Only 11 minutes into the match it was Milan Galic who brought the visitors ahead, but only one minute later the Stade de Reims striker Jean Vincent equalized for France. Both teams maintained their positions throughout the first half, but in the dying minutes the home player, from RC Paris, Francois Heutte, brought France ahead 2-1. France, wanting to force a result, continued attacking in the second half and things looked good when the captain, Wisnieski, brought France ahead 3-1.
Although the Hajduk Split defender Ante Zanetic soon scored a second for Yugoslavia, France continued attacking, and it all was going their way when Heutte scored his second and France's 4th 17 minutes into the second half.
The match could hardly change now, and France seemed content in front of their delighted spectators. But as often happens in football it all fell apart in five magical minutes for Yugoslavia. With 15 minutes to go. When Borislav Knez scored for Yugoslavia it seemed it gave Yugoslavia renewed belief in a good result, and only three minutes later Drazan Jerkovic scored the equalizer, and before the French could get over the shock, they went 4-5 down on another strike by Jerkovic.
France had ten minutes to recover, but never managed to against a Yugoslav side that fought with claws in the last minutes of the match. A disappointed France even went on to lose the match for third place 0-2 to Czechoslovakia. The next time France would again have a shot at a European final would be in 1984.
In the meantime, Yugoslavia were to face the USSR in the final, who had beaten Czechoslovakia 3-0 in the other semifinal. To this day the first match of the tournament remains the one with most goals scored in ordinary game time!

Paris, 6th July 1960, Parc de Princes
Attendance: 26,370 
Referee: Gaston Grandain, Belgium 

France-Yugoslavia 4-5 

France: Georges Lamia, Jean Wendling, Robert Herbin, Bruno Rodzik, Jean-Jaques Marcel, Rene Ferrier, Michel Stievenard, Lucien Muller, Maryan Wisnieski (C), Francois Heutte, Jean Vincent. Coach: Albert Batteux
Yugoslavia: Milutin Soskic, Vladimir Djurkovic, Fahrundin Jusufi, Ante Zanetic, Tomislav Knez, Branko Zebec, Zeljko Perusic, Drazan Jerkovic, Milan Galic, Dragoslav Sekularac, Borivoje Kostic (c). Coaches: Tirnanic, Lovric and Nikolic 

0-1 Galic (11) 
1-1 Vincent (12) 
2-1 Heutte (43) 
3-1 Wisnieski (53) 
3-2 Zanetic (55) 
4-2 Heutte (62) 
4-3 Knez (75) 
4-4 Jerkovic (78) 
4-5 Jerkovic (79)