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Euro '72
As with the three previous European Championships in the 1960's, the host nation for Euro 72 in June was not selected until the Quarter-finals had been completed in May - as only four nations would be involved in the final stage (merely consisting of two Semi-finals, a 3rd place play off and the final). Despite the lack of a British representitive in Belgium, both ITV and the BBC opted to broadcast the final live and each showed highlights of a Semi-final. ITV also screened highlights of the 3rd place play off.

32 nations entered the competition and were divided into eight groups of four, the eight group winners would then contest the Quarter-finals on a 2 leg home and away basis. England were placed in a relatively easy pool with Switzerland, Greece and Malta - Only the Swiss managed to take a point from England in the penultimate Group 3 fixture and the draw at Wembley left England needing only to avoid anything worse than a 3-0 defeat in Greece to progress. Scotland were in Group 5 with Belgium (who had qualified for the 1970 World Cup), Portugal (World Cup Semi-finalists in 1966) and (a then weak) Denmark, February 1971 proved to be the decisive month in this group with Belgium beating Scotland 3-0 and then brushing aside Portugal by the same score a fortnight later, Scotland went on to lose their next two group fixtures and late home victories against Portugal and Belgium were purely academic, by which time the Scots had a new manager. Group 1 saw Wales handed a difficult set of fixtures against Romania and Czechoslovakia (both fresh from competing in England's group at Mexico 70) plus Finland, yet Wales had a much better Euro's campaign than the last World Cup and were still in contention for a place in the QF's as late as October 1971. Northern Ireland again found themselves in the same group as the Soviet Union and also had to face Spain and Cyprus, a 3-0 defeat in the opening group match in Spain and another loss to the Soviet Union in Moscow left Northern Ireland needing to beat those same countries at home, but both fixtures were drawn and the Soviet Union went on to reach the final. Holders Italy topped Group 6 ahead of Austria, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, the latter only managed a solitary point (a home draw v Sweden in their opening game) whilst the emerging Netherlands failed to recover from a disappointing start in Group 7 before a 2-0 defeat away to Yugoslavia in April 1971 effectively ended Dutch hopes.

British TV coverage of Euro 72

ITV games are in white, BBC or non-televised matches are in grey.
All matches were broadcast in colour unless stated.

Qualifiers & Friendlies

Wed 11/Nov/1970    Scotland 1 (O'Hare) Denmark 0
Qualifier at Hampden
*BBC1 Scotland showed highlights at 10-10:45pm. John O'Hare headed the only goal against the weakest nation in the group on 13 mins. Despite the lead, Scotland were booed off at HT.

Wed 11/Nov/1970    Wales 0 Romania 0
Qualifier in Cardiff
?BBC Highlights?
*Possibly highlights on BBC1 "Sportsnight" at 9:20-10:45pm (if so David Coleman commentated), football is billed along with boxing (Henry Cooper v Jose Urtain). Wales had the better of a match played in driving rain, both teams hit the woodwork.

Wed 11/Nov/1970    Spain 3 (Rexach, Pirri, Luis Aragones) Northern Ireland 0
Qualifier in Seville
*Probably no British TV coverage. The Spanish coverage was in black & white. Carles Rexach put Spain ahead on 39, Pirri made it 2-0 on the hour and Luis Aragones Suarez added a third on 75.

Wed 25/Nov/1970   England 3 (Lee, Peters, Clarke) East Germany 1 (Vogel)
Friendly at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman & Bob Wilson
*Shown on BBC1 "Sportsnight With Coleman" 9:30-10:50pm. This was England's first match since losing to West Germany in the World Cup QF's six months earlier and goalkeeper Peter Shilton made his England debut on a new £30,000 Wembley turf (replacing the pitch that had been so badly damaged by the Horse of the Year shows). In a good England performance, Francis Lee put the home side ahead on 14, Martin Peters volleyed a 2nd goal on 22, Vogel fired a shot past Shilton to make it 2-1 before HT and on 63 an Allan Clarke effort was deflected in for 3-1. Peters and Lee both hit the woodwork late on. The BBC still have some 'untransmitted pictures' from this match on colour VT.

Wed 03/Feb/1971    Belgium 3 (McKinnon(og), Van Himst 2(1pen)) Scotland 0
Qualifier in Liege
ITV Highlights
Commentator: ?????
*Surprisingly, the whole ITV network were billed to show Scotland's match in Belgium (but not England's game in Malta) at 10:30-11:25pm, most likely in black & white (arranged at short notice as there are no details in the TVTimes). SCOTTISH had their own presentation on "Scotsport". Archie Gemmell made his international debut on a mud bath of melting snow but Scotland were behind on 36 mins through an own goal by Ronald McKinnon who slipped whilst attempting to intercept a cross and sliced the ball into his own net. Paul Van Himst scored two 2nd half goals, the first with a free kick on 57 and then a penalty on 85, inbetween time Bobby Moncur cleared another Belgium effort off the line.

Wed 03/Feb/1971     Malta 0 England 1 (Peters)
Qualifier in Valletta
*No scheduled TV coverage. The home crowd were incenced by English press reports that Malta were a team of "Spanish waiters" and responded with chants of "We are the waiters, you are the bastards!". Bobby Moore was left out and so Alan Mullery captained England for the first time, there were also England debuts for for Martin Chivers, Roy McFarland and Joe Royle. The only goal of the match (which kicked off at 3pm and played on a pitch of sand) came on 35 mins with Martin Peters finishing off a good England move. Malta managed to force Gordon Banks into making one save late on.

Wed 03/Feb/1971    Cyprus 0 Northern Ireland 3 (Nicholson, Dougan, Best(pen))
Qualifier in Nicosia
*N.Ireland manager described the conditions as "Disgraceful" after the game had been played with pools of water on the pitch, but three second half goals in the 3pm KO gave the Irish a comfortable victory, James Nicholson scored on 53, Derek Dougan added another two minutes later and then George Best scored from the penalty spot on 86.

Wed 21/Apr/1971    England 3 (Chivers, Hurst, Lee) Greece 0
Qualifier at Wembley
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore
*ITV (except in Scotland) showed highlights at 10:30-11:30pm. Martin Chivers opened the scoring on 22, a Geoff Hurst header finally gave England a 2 goal cushion on 68, and another header by Francis Lee made it 3-0 on 87. Peters also saw a header rebound from the underside of the crossbar and Peter Storey made his debut. Alf Ramsey said of the Greeks "Their performance did not impress me... they provided very little opposition."

Wed 21/Apr/1971    Portugal 2 (Stanton(og), Eusébio) Scotland 0
Qualifier in Lisbon
*SCOTTISH had a "Scotsport" at 10:30-11:10pm, so highlights may have been included on that programme (if so - in black & white). For the 2nd successive qualifier, an own goal saw Scotland fall behind on 22 minutes when Pat Stanton attempted to cut out a cross, Scotland then pressed for an equaliser but found themselves defending for most of the 2nd half  and on 83 Eusébio sealed the points for Portugal and, at the group's half way stage, left Scotland in 3rd place 4 points adrift of leaders Belgium.

Wed 21/Apr/1971    Wales 1 (R.Davies(pen)) Czecholslovakia 3 (Capkovic 2, Taborsky)
Qualifier in Swansea
*No TV coverage scheduled, HTV filmed a black & white newsreel. Despite losing the services of eight regulars, Wales were in front in the 49th minute thanks to a penalty by Ron Davies following a handling offence, Alan Durban then had a goal disallowed before Wales collapsed in the final ten minutes, Winger Ján Capkovic equalised on 80, Vladimir Taborsky put the Czechs ahead a minute later and Capkovic then grabbed his 2nd to make it 3-1 on 83.

Wed 21/Apr/1971    Northern Ireland 5 (Dougan, Best 3, Nicholson) Cyprus 0
Qualifier in Belfast
BBC N.IRELAND Highlights
*Highlights were shown in Northern Ireland only on BBC1 from 11pm. Derek Dougan opened the scoring on 9, George Best netted just before HT on 44 and added another two minutes into the 2nd half before completing his first hat-trick on the international stage on 56. James Nicholson added the 5th goal on 86.

Wed 12/May/1971    England 5 (Chivers 2, Lee, Clarke(pen), Lawler) Malta 0
Qualifier at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*Highlights were shown on BBC1 "Sportsnight" at 10:15-11pm. The game was so one-sided that goalkeeper Gordon Banks only touched the ball four times during the course of the whole match, all from back passes. Martin Chivers headed England into the lead in the first minute by glancing in a quickly taken free kick on the right. Four minutes before HT Francis Lee made it 2-0 from a corner with another header, Allan Clarke made it 3-0 from the penatly spot on 46 following a hand-ball, a minute later Chivers headed in a cross for number 4 and fianlly a long range effort by Chris Lawler on 74 put the Liverpool full back on the score sheet on his international debut to make it 5-0.

Wed 26/May/1971    Finland 0 Wales 1 (Toshack)
Qualifier in Helsinki
*BBC1 had a "Sportsnight" at 9:20-10:45pm but this would have been Anglo-Italian Cup action only. John Toshack scored the only goal on 54 minutes.

Wed 09/Jun/1971     Denmark 1 (Laudrup) Scotland 0
Qualifier in Copenhagen
*No British TV coverage scheduled. Finn Laudrup netted the winning goal on 43.

Mon 14/Jun/1971    Soviet Union 1 (Evruzikhin) Scotland 0
Friendly in Moscow
*No British TV coverage scheduled of this latest Scotland defeat in the Lenin Stadium to a goal by Gennady Evruzikhin on 25 minutes, it turned out to be Bobby Brown's final game as Scotland manager as he would be sacked on 26th July.

Wed 22/Sep/1971    Soviet Union 1 (Muntian) Northern Ireland 0
Qualifier in Moscow
*No British TV coverage. Following Billy Bingham's departure for Greece, Northern Ireland appointed 29 year old Terry Neill as Player/Manager (he had been Player/Manager of Hull since July 1970 and continued his role with the Tigers concurrently). Vladimir Muntian scored the only goal on 7 minutes.

Wed 13/Oct/1971    Switzerland 2 (Künzli, Jeandupeux) England 3 (Hurst, Chivers, Weibel(og))
Qualifier in Basle
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore
*ITV showed highlights at 10:30-11:25pm (except Scottish), the TVTimes listed Brian Moore as presenter but didn't specify a commentator, so he probably did both. Geoff Hurst gave England the lead after 55 seconds with a diving header which the keeper could only push out from beyond the line, then on 10 minutes Daniel Jeandupeux equalised with a dipping 20-yard strike, but Martin Chivers restored England's lead just two minutes later with a shot from an acute angle. The Swiss hit the woodwork before finding an equaliser just before HT through Fritz Künzli on 44. England were more composed in the 2nd half as the Swiss began to run out of steam and an own goal by Anton Weibel on 80 gave England the points which took them to the top of the table ahead of the Swiss who had a played a game more.

Wed 13/Oct/1971    Scotland 2 (O'Hare, Gemmill) Portugal 1 (Rodrigues)
Qualifier at Hampden
SCOTTISH Highlights*
*Highlights were probably included on "Scotsport" 11:00-11:30pm, and at least a report was included on ITV's show for the non-Scottish regions. Tommy Docherty was now in charge of Scotland for a trial period, there were debuts for Arsenal boys Bob Wilson and George Graham as well Colquhoun (Sheff Utd), Cropley (Hibs) and Buchan (Aberdeen). The Scots were only playing for pride as they could no longer catch group leaders Belgium. John O'Hare headed Scotland ahead on 23 and an ineffective Eusebio was subbed by Portugal at HT, Rui Rodrigues equalised on 57 but 90 seconds later Archie Gemmill restored the Scots lead with another header.

Wed 13/Oct/1971    Wales 3 (Durban, Toshack, Reece) Finland 0
Qualifier in Swansea
*TVTimes promised a report on ITV's Wednesday football show of a match played in a storm, Wales could have won by a much greater margin had it not been for a fine display by the Finnish keeper who saved a penalty near the end. Alan Durban scored on 10, a John Toshack header made it 2-0 on 53 and Gilbert Reece netted a late 3rd goal (also with his head) on 89.

Wed 13/Oct/1971    Northern Ireland 1 (Nicholson) Soviet Union 1 (Byschovets)
Qualifier in Belfast
*Just a report listed for ITV of this 4pm kick off, a game the Irish had to win. Jimmy Nicholson put them ahead on 13 from a free-kick, but Anatoli Byschovets levelled on 32.

Wed 27/Oct/1971    Czechoslovakia 1 (Kuna) Wales 0
Qualifier in Prague
*No British TV coverage scheduled. The Czechs led the group going into this match on 7 points with Romania and Wales both on 5 points. Goal difference meant that a weakened Welsh team had to win to stay in the hunt for 1st place but Ladislav Kuna rocketed in a first time strike from 25 yards on 60 to put Wales out. Leighton James made his Welsh debut.

Wed 10/Nov/1971    England 1 (Summerbee) Switzerland 1 (Odermatt)
Qualifier at Wembley
BBC Highlights
David Coleman
*"Sportsnight With Coleman" BBC1, 10:25-11:10pm. England had a two point cushion on the Swiss and, unlike their opponents, still had one further group match to play, but although the result virtually guaranteed a place in the QF's, it was a disappointing performance against the part-time Swiss in front of a capacity crowd. Rodney Marsh made his international debut and Mike Summerbee gave England an early lead on 9 mins following a corner, but Karl Odermatt equalised with a shot that Shilton could only touch onto the underside of the crossbar and in on 26. Peter Storey and Francis Lee both saw efforts strike the woodwork either side of HT.

Wed 10/Nov/1971    Scotland 1 (O'Hare) Belgium 0
Qualifier in Aberdeen
BBC Highlights
*Included on "Sportsnight With Coleman". The only goal of the game was scored on 5 minutes by John O'Hare, Scotland made a sub at half time - Alex Cropley was replaced by a 20 year old Kenny Dalglish making his international debut. Scotland finished 3rd in the four team group having won all three home games but losing all three away.

Wed 24/Nov/1971    Romania 2 (Lupescu, Lucescu) Wales 0
Qualifier in Bucharest
*ITV had a football programme this night, but it was more likely UEFA Cup action (Carl Zeiss Jena v Wolves) or even the Texaco Cup SF's. The 2pm KO in Bucharest was a decisive match for Group 1 with Romania needing a win to snatch top spot from Czechoslovakia. The Romanians made the perfect start with Nicolae Lupescu scoring on 9 minutes, Mircea Lucescu sealed their QF place on 74

Wed 01/Dec/1971    Greece 0 England 2 (Hurst, Chivers)
Qualifier in Athens
BBC Highlights
Barry Davies
*"Sportsnight With Coleman", BBC1 9:20-10:50pm. England only needed to avoid a 4 goal thrashing and  secured their place in the QF's with two 2nd half goals, Geoff Hurst on 55 and Martin Chivers on 90.

Wed 01/Dec/1971    Netherlands 2 (Cruijff, Hulshoff) Scotland 1 (Graham)
Friendly in Amsterdam
SCOTTISH Highlights
*"Scotsport" highlights 11:00-11:35pm. Johann Cruijff put the Dutch ahead on 5 mins, George Graham equalised on 58 by heading in a free-kick, Bernardus Hulshoff headed the Dutch winner from a corner on 88.

The Quarter-final draw took place on Wednesday 12th January 1972 (UEFA also made the draws for the European Cup, ECWC  and UEFA QF's on the same day. News of the draws was probably included on "Sportnight With Coleman"), England were handed the worst possible tie - at home in the 1st leg to West Germany. If successful, England would then face the winners of Italy v Belgium in the Semi-finals, for which the host nation was still yet to be decided.

Wed 16/Feb/1972      Northern Ireland 1 (Morgan) Spain 1 (Rojo)
Qualifier in Hull
*No TV coverage of a meaningless match in terms of qualification which was originally scheduled to have been played in November. Because of 'The Troubles' in Belfast, the re-arranged fixture was played at Boothberry Park, Hull (the home ground of Northern Ireland's Player/Manager Terry Neill). Despite the venue, the lack of importance and (due to power cuts) a 3pm mid-week kick off time, the fixture (and George Best) drew Northern Ireland's biggest 'home' crowd of the campaign, just under 20,000. José Francisco Rojo gave Spain the lead on 41, Port Vale's Sammy Morgan equalised on his debut on 72 and the Irish finished 3rd in the group.

Wed 26/Apr/1972      Scotland 2 (O'Hare, Law) Peru 0
Friendly at Hampden
SCOTTISH Highlights
*Highlights of this friendly were scheduled to be shown on both STV at 10:45-11:15pm and "Sportsreel" on BBC1 Scotland at 10:15-10:50, Willie Donachie and Asa Hartford made their debuts in the match which saw John O'Hare open the scoring with a header on 47 and Denis Law (in his first International for 3 years) adding a 2nd on 65. Law also had another effort disallowed.


Booby Moore fouls Sigi Held, 29th April 1972Sat 29/Apr/1972    England 1 (Lee) West Germany 3 (Hoeneß, Netzer(pen), Müller)
Quarter-Final 1st Leg at Wembley
David Coleman
*This fixture was staged on a Saturday night after three top flight games and a full programme of 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier games had been played in the afternoon. Live coverage began on BBC1 at 7:30pm and was due to end at 9:50pm. With West Germany in their green away strip, Uli Hoeneß put the visitors ahead on 26 thanks to a deflected effort following a terrible defensive giveaway inside England's own box, Francis Lee equalised on 77 by prodding in a rebound following a save, but England then suffered a disastrous final 6 minutes, first Bobby Moore tripped a purposeful Sigi Held running into the box on the left (arguably outside the area, see screen grab), the referee awarded a penalty and Günter Netzer then saw Gordon Banks get a hand to his spot kick but only to push it against the post and in for 2-1, then after England had again badly surrendered possession, Gerd Müller gave West Germany a two goal cushion for the 2nd leg by turning on a sixpence to score on 88 mins. It was only England's 4th ever defeat at Wembley, manager Alf Ramsey faced criticism for sticking with the old guard and the press also blamed the amount of  games and the priority given to the domestic calendar. LWT showed some footage the following day on "The Big Match" with Brian Clough also calling for the inclusion of younger players (The match did turn out to be Geoff Hurst's farewell appearance in an England shirt). The other QF 1st legs were all drawn; Hungary 1 Romania 1, Italy 0 Belgium 0 and (on Sunday) Yugoslavia 0 Soviet Union 0.

Sat 13/May/1972    West Germany 0 England 0
Quarter-Final 2nd Leg in Berlin
Brian Moore & Jimmy Hill
*ITV covered this live (except in Scotland) as part of "World Of Sport" with "On The Ball" the first item on the bill at 12:55-1:20pm, "On The Ball Part 2" began at 3:15 and the "Pre-Match Build Up" followed at 3:40pm, the game kicked off at 4pm and coverage was due to end at 5:55pm with Jimmy Hill, Malcolm Allison and Derek Dougan offering their expert analysis - all three must have been at the ground as Bob Gardam is listed as director on-site. There was no away goals rule, England needed to win by a two goal margin to force a replay, but a defensive formation played out a goalless draw. The West German manager complained about England's "Brutal tackling aimed at the bones", Franz Beckenbauer said, "[England] confused the jungle with a football pitch.", Alan Ball responded "I never thought the West Germans would act like cry babies, they tried to make villains of us". BBC1 (except in Scotland) showed highlights on "Match of the Day Special" (with Rugby also) at 10:45pm-12:15am (commentator David Coleman), Scottish ITV also showed Saturday night highlights at 11:30pm-12:30am. The other Quarter-final results were, Belgium 2 Italy 1 (agg 2-1), Soviet Union 3 Yugoslavia 0 (3-0) and (on Sunday) Romania 2 Hungary 2 (3-3). In a replay on 17th May, Hungary beat Romania 2-1 in Belgrade. In light of the defeat to West Germany in the QF 1st leg, England had made plans to play matches in Turkey and Yugoslavia in June, but Ramsey decided to abandon the idea on the way home from Berlin.

Euro 72 Finals
It was announced on Sunday 14th May 1972 that the final stages would be played in Belgium (surprise winners against the current holders and World Cup runnners-up Italy a day earlier in the Quarter-finals). West Germany could not have been considered as they would be hosting the next World Cup, whilst the Soviet Union and Hungary/Romania were behind the Iron Curtain. England would have been chosen to host the finals had they won their Quarter-final and Italy beaten Belgium.

Four separate venues in Belgium were selected to stage each fixture - Two grounds in Brussels (including Heysel Stadium for the final), plus Antwerp and Liège.


Wed 14/Jun/1972    Belgium 1 (Polleunis) West Germany 2 (Müller 2)
(8pm bst)
BBC Highlights
Barry Davies
*"Sportnight" showed highlights on BBC1, 9:20-11:15pm, there was also a film of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics billed, the football was probably shown first (in black & white). In a physical contest, Gerd Müller headed the Germans ahead from a free-kick on 24, the hosts pressed hard for an equaliser in the 2nd half but it was West Germany who went further ahead on 71 - again through Gerd Müller. Odilon Polleunis pulled one back for Belgium on 83.

Wed 14/Jun/1972    Soviet Union 1 (Konkov) Hungary 0
(8pm bst)
Brussels *Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore
*ITV showed highlights at 10:30-11:25pm in black & white, the only goal was scrambled in on 53 by Anatoly Konjkov, it was watched by a mere 1,659 spectators (the locals would have presumably been watching the Belgium match on TV whilst supporters of the teams involved would not have been able to travel).

3rd/4th place play off

Sat 17/Jun/1972     Belgium 2 (Lambert, Van Himst) Hungary 1 (Ku(pen))
(8pm bst)
ITV Highlights
Brian Moore & Jimmy Hill
*All ITV regions except HTV and possibly Tyne Tees (who left the programme early) showed highlights of the play-off on an "International Sports Special" programme at 10:15pm-12:15am, Boxing was billed first. Raoul Lambert put Belgium ahead on 24, Paul Van Himst added a 2nd on 28, Lajos Ku scored from the penalty spot for Hungary on 53.

The Final

Sun 18/Jun/1972    West Germany 3 (Müller 2, Wimmer) Soviet Union 0
(4pm bst)
Brussels *Heysel Stadium
Brian Moore & Jimmy Hill
*Both ITV and BBC1 showed the final live, BBC1 (with Barry Davies commentating) were first on air at 3:45pm, ITV coverage began at 3:50pm with Jack Charlton, Pat Crerand and Bob McNab on the panel (HTV opted out and showed a Noel Coward film and "The Golden Shot"). BBC coverage was due to end by 5:55pm, ITV by 6:05pm, neither channel bothered with highlights. Unlike the Semi-finals, the final was broadcast in colour. West Germany had met the Soviet Union only three weeks earlier in a friendly to open the Munich Stadium (built for the Olympic Games to be held in August/September 1972), the Germans won that match 4-1 (with Gerd Müller scoring all four German goals) and were therefore clear favourites here. The German's had several good chances early on in the Euro 72 final before a thrilling sequence of events led to the first goal on 27, first a looping Gunther Netzer effort came back off the crossbar, that was followed up by a shot on the rebound by Josef Heynckes which in turn was pushed out by Rudakov, the ball then fell at Müller's feet who found the net at the 3rd attempt (his 50th goal for his country). The Soviet's, who complained that Müller had handled before scoring, went on to force a good save out of Sepp Maier before HT and looked threatening early in the 2nd half, but the German's continued to dominate for most of the match and Herbert Wimmer made it 2-0 on 52 by latching onto Heynckes' through ball and forcing it past Rudakov who could only parry the ball into the net. A super swift move out of defence on 58 saw Müller burst into the box with a one-two and claim another goal for 3-0. Khurtsilava later hit a fierce 25-yarder against the crossbar for the Soviet's and he tried again 5 minutes later - this time forcing Maier into a good save. As full-time beckoned, West German fans (despite the efforts of the heavy handed Belgian police) poured out of the stands and crossed the running track to surround the touchline, then - as the whistle blew - they raced onto the pitch waving their flags, it was a sight as startling and memorable as the performance by their team who would now be lauded as the finest in Europe since the Hungarian side of the 1950's.

Euro 72 final action replay   West Germany 3 Soviet Union 0, 18th June 1972
A strange symbol to denote an action replay (left) and the final score caption in Flemish (right).

The Brazilian Independence Cup (1972)
Back in January 1972, there had been talk of a 'Great Britain' side (with Matt Busby as manager) taking part in a tournament designed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Brazil's independence from Portugal. After it was made clear that none of Alf Ramsey's squad would be made available for the "Mini World Cup", it was decided on 21st January that Scotland would be invited instead. Days after Italy and West Germany had declined to take part, Tommy Docherty confirmed on 28th February that Scotland would take their strongest possible squad. The competition appears to have been completely ignored by British tv, although it was televised in Brazil (most of it, including the final, apparently in black & white). Fifteen nations, not including Scotland, took part in a preliminary round (three groups of five) between 11th and 25th June with only the three group winners - Argentina, Portugal and Yugoslavia - qualifying to join five other nations in the final stage. The Republic of Ireland had finished 3rd in Group 2 having managed to record their first wins in 5 years (v Iran and Ecuador).
The final stage saw eight teams divided into two groups of four, the two group winners would contest the final whilst the runners-up would play-off for 3rd place. Scotland were in Group A with Brazil*, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Group B consisted of Argentina, Portugal, Soviet Union and Uruguay. After drawing their first two games, Scotland had the opportunity to progress to the final if they could beat Brazil in the last Group A match, but the tournament went to script and it was Brazil who went through to meet Portugal in the 9th July final - where the only goal was scored by Jairzinho with a looping header in the 89th minute to win it for the hosts. Yugoslavia took 3rd place by beating Argentina 4-2 on the same day, both sides had a man sent off and the game was described as a scandalous brawl and a disgrace to football.

*Pele did not play in the tournament, he had made his farewell international appearance a year earlier on 18th July 1971 in a draw v Yugoslavia in front of 200,000 fans in Rio.

Thu 29/Jun/1972     Yugoslavia 2 (Bajevic, Jerkovic) Scotland 2 (Macari 2)
Group A
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
*Scotland twice led in their opening game through goals by Celtic's Lou Macari on 40 and 67. At 2-1, with ten minutes to go, Willie Morgan had a penalty saved after sub Jimmy Bone (making his debut) had been chopped down in the box. Dusan Bajevic netted Yugoslavia's first reply on 60 and Jure Jerkovic made it 2-2 on 86. Alex Forsyth also made his debut for Scotland in this explosive clash.

Sun 02/Jul/1972      Czechoslovakia 0 Scotland 0
Group A
Porto Alegre, Brazil
*A drab game in which Scotland went closest near the end when Colin Stein saw his header tipped over the bar.

Wed 05/Jul/1972    Brazil 1 (Jairzinho) Scotland 0
Group A
Rio de Janeiro
*Jairzinho scored the only goal with a header on 80 mins which meant Brazil had now gone 34 games unbeaten, breaking Hungary's record of 33 which ended in the 1954 World Cup final. Scotland fought well in front of a crowd of 130,000 and the Brazil manager Mario Zagalo admitted that the match could have gone either way.



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