European Championship History - 1960 France
As with the FIFA World Cup, the European Champion Clubs' Cup and the modern Olympics, the first major European national competition was the brainchild of a Frenchman: Henri Delaunay, the secretary of the French Football Federation.
Delaunay's native France was selected from among the semi-finalists to host the first final tournament, but that was still a long way off when teething troubles emerged early on. Only a flurry of late applications took the number of entries over the required minimum of 16, and when the inaugural European Nations' Cup eventually got under way it did so without Italy, West Germany and England.
17 teams were entered therefore a preliminary qualifier to create a round of 16 was needed. Czechoslovakia eliminated the Republic of Ireland 4-2 on aggregate. The first of the Euro matches saw the USSR defeat Hungary 3-1 in front of 100.000 people in Moscow.
High scoring matches included France defeating Greece 8-2 on aggregate. Meanwhile Spain beat Poland 7-2 and Czechoslovakia overcome Denmark 7-3. Yugoslavia, Romania, Austria and Romania also advanced.
Politics came into play during the quarter final as Spain refused to travel to the USSR whilst the Soviets were refused entry into Spain by Franco. So Spain withdrew giving the USSR a free pass into the semi-finals. In the other three quarter finals France, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia all succeeded.
The final tournament consisted of three eastern countries plus France. This tournament consisted of two semi finals, and a play off for third place also the final itself.
The Soviets easily beat the Czechoslovakians dominating the game 3-0. The other match however made a huge score line but Yugoslavia triumphed over the tournament hosts 5-4.
The third place decider was seen in the favour of Czechoslovakia as they beat the already demoralised French 2-0 in Marseille.
During the final Yugoslavia dominated the first half who had a lucky goal which was intended to be a cross but was deflected in by Milan Galic. The Legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin pulled off several fantastic saves. Georgian Slava Kalistratovich Metreveli equalised bringing the game to 1-1. But during the final minutes of extra time Ponedelnik scored a header from a cross which secured the only USSR football victory.