European Championship History - 1980 Italy
1980 was the year that the competition first saw 8 teams compete in the final contest. The winners of Group A and Group B would play in the final for the title whilst the runners up in both groups would play in the third place play off.
1980 also saw a new system in selecting a host for the contest as the UEFA gathered before the tournament to decide who should host it, this had been the decision and system that FIFA had used for the World Cup, this also meant that who ever was selected to host the competition would qualify for it automatically.
Because of the expanded format, the final tournament went through some changes as well. Two groups of four teams each were created; each team would play all others within their group. The winners of the groups would go straight to the final (there were no semi-finals), while the runners-up disputed the third place match.
England had stormed through qualifying and possessed a world-class striker in 1978 and 1979 European Footballer of the Year, Kevin Keegan. The Hamburger SV ace was unable to find the target, however, and after opening with a 1-1 draw against Belgium, England’s ambitions evaporated with a 1-0 loss to Italy. Italy had kicked off with a goalless draw against Spain, and they too crashed out after being held to the same scoreline by Belgium, who were suddenly through to their first major final thanks to a fine squad and excellent coaching from Guy Thys.
In the other half of the draw, West Germany had voyaged south with a revitalised team driven by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and 20-year-old Bernd Schuster. A playmaker in the Günter Netzer mould, Schuster had few equals in world football at the time. "I don't think I have ever seen such a perfect player," enthused team-mate Horst Hrubesch. "Bernd was the outstanding player in the team. He connected the whole thing."
Out of the fourteen matches played in the tournament 27 goals were scored, Group A alone producing 13 of the goals whilst Group only a mere nine. Hosts Italy were also playing poorly, they may have gone through the group stages undefeated but they only scored one goal.
Group A was an exciting group, the first match was Germany and Czechoslovakia who played each other in the 1976 euro final but this was settled with a header from German striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to give Germany the 1-0 victory.
The Netherlands wasted no time in defeating Greece 1-0 in their first game, but their clash with West Germany would be filled with goals and drama.
Young Bernd Schuster encouraged his side with an outstanding performance by assisting all of Klaus Allofs goals to give West Germany a 3-0 lead and Allofs a hat trick. Lothar Matthaeus, 19, who was making his debut for the German team conceded a penalty which Johnny Rep converted before Rene van der Kerkhof's scored another goal to make the final score 3-2.
When Greece played Czechoslovakia, the Czechs took the lead in the 6th minute but it was quickly equalized by Greece, only for Czechoslovakia to score again 12 minutes after Greece’s goal and again in the second half to give the Czechs a 3-1 victory over the Greeks.
The remaining Group A games were both draws with Netherlands drawing 1-1 with Czechoslovakia and Greece drawing 0-0 with West Germany, This saw west Germany through to the final undefeated and high in confidence.
Group B opened poorly with a one all draw when England played Belgium, Belgium’s Jan Ceulemans equalizing England's opener, scored by Ray Wilkins with the game's only thrilling and quality moment.
Spain managed to hold Italy for a goal less draw in their first outing o the games, but then lost 2-1 to Belgium. Italy had to beat England by 2-0 to stop Belgium qualifying with a draw after the Beligan win over spain, but sadly for the Italians they managed just one, through Marco Tardelliwith their only decent offensive move. So a dull 0-0 draw when Italy played Belgium meant the hosts were out, having scored fewer goals, and Belgium were though to the final to play West Germany.
Third Place Play-Off
The third place play off saw Italy the hosts meet 1976 finalists Czechoslovakia were the match finished 1-1, Czechoslovakia were the first to hit the back of the net in the 54th minute with Jurkemik scoring, but it was false hope for the Czechs as Italy equalized in the 73rd minute with Graziani saving the hosts from a dramatic lose.
The match then went to a dramatic penalty shoot out. Both teams scored and the first 17 kicks were successful until the Czechoslokaians Jaroslav Netolicka saved Fulvio Collovati's effort, making the final shoot out score 9-8 in Czechoslovakia’s favor.
West Germany went to the final knowing they were competing for their second European title and Belgium stood in their way of it, whilst Belgium were thrilled to even reach the final they wanted the win and the title for themselves. After 1976 when they reached the final and lost to Czechoslovakia on penalties West Germany were looking to redeem themselves.
West Germany were everyone’s favorites for the title and the expectation for West Germany was correct as they collected their second continental title, thanks to the inspiring speed and vision of Bernd Schuster, and given a cutting edge by unlikely hero Horst Hrubesch.
Schuster and Klaus Allofs passed between each other, Schuster made a diagonal run, then instinctively chipped the ball into the penalty area and the path of the marauding Hrubesch, who was already known for his ability to head the ball with force, who took the opportunity to score with a low but powerful header in 10th minute and left Belgian keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff with no chance, West Germany were up 1-0.
Luckily for the Belgians their goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff was on form and kept West Germany at bay and prevented them from extending their lead on many occasions. Eventually Belgium managed to fight back and earned themselves a penalty in the 75th minute of time. Rene Vandereycken forced another good save from Harald Schumacher before Francois van der Elst, who was ready to pounce on the re-bound, was tripped by Uli Stielike on the edge of the area, falling inside it to win a 75th-minute penalty that Vandereycken converted to make the score 1-1.
West Germany who were now under pressure with only 15 minutes left, managed to clinch a goal just as the thought of extra time loomed over the teams as extra-time loomed.
Pfaff misjudged a corner which gifted Hrubesch to once again head home, this time at the near post, claiming his second international goal of the tournament for himself and won the game for his country to take home the European trophy for the second time in the tournaments history.