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A Look Back at the Birth of the Euros: 1960

A Look Back at the Birth of the Euros: 1960

The first edition of the European Championship, then known as the European Nations' Cup, kicked off in 1960. It was a pivotal moment in European football, marking the beginning of a prestigious international tournament that continues to captivate fans today.

A Tournament Takes Flight

The concept of a pan-European football competition had been floating around for decades. Henri Delaunay, the secretary-general of the French Football Federation, first proposed the idea in 1927. However, it wasn't until 1958, three years after Delaunay's passing, that the tournament finally came to fruition.

The Inaugural Tournament

France hosted the inaugural edition, with 17 national teams vying for the title. The format was quite different from today's Euros. After two years of qualifying matches, only four teams reached the final stage held in France: Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and France.

A Tense Final and a Soviet Victory

The final match, played in Paris, was a nail-biter. Yugoslavia took the lead just before halftime through Milan Galić. However, Slava Metreveli equalized for the Soviet Union shortly after the break. The score remained tied after regulation time, forcing extra time. Finally, with seven minutes left, Viktor Ponedelnik headed the winning goal for the Soviet Union, securing their place in history as the first European champions.

Why the Euros?

The European Nations' Cup was born out of a desire to create a prestigious international tournament specifically for European nations. Prior to this, the FIFA World Cup was the pinnacle of international football, but it included teams from all continents. The Euros provided a platform to showcase the best footballing talent exclusively from Europe, fostering a sense of regional competition and national pride.

The success of the 1960 tournament paved the way for future editions of the European Championship, which has grown into a global sporting phenomenon. The Euros continue to be a showcase for European footballing excellence, attracting millions of viewers worldwide.

Category: Football news
Tags: Euro 2024

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