The 1976 European Championships was the last such tournament to follow the traditional format of qualifiers leading to a two-leg home and away quarter-final stage, with only the semi-finals, 3rd place play-off and the final being staged by a host nation at short notice. On 22nd May 1976, the nonaligned socialist state of Yugoslavia was confirmed as the venue for the final four fixtures of the tournament after they had beaten Wales - the only British representatives in the last eight. What should have gone down as a notable achievement by the Welsh was completely overshadowed by hooliganism at the quarter-final 2nd leg in Cardiff, a rock the size of a man's fist was hurled at a linesman and other objects rained down on the pitch as Wales fell behind to a harsh penalty and then had two 'goals' disallowed. UEFA took the drastic measure of banning Wales from taking part in the next European Championships, but thankfully the ban was later reduced to merely forbidding home games from being played in Cardiff.
Despite the absence of a British team in the final four, the presence of the Netherlands and West Germany - both so impressive in the last World Cup - ensured enough interest to justify ITV covering highlights of both a semi-final and the 3rd place play-off as well as exclusive live coverage of the final. Brian Moore was the sole ITV commentator in Yugoslavia for all three games.
Alf Ramsey was still England manager when the qualifying draw was made on Wednesday 16th January 1974. Thirty-two nations entered the competition and were divided into eight groups of four, the eight group winners would progress to the quarter-finals. England were obvious favourites to finish top of Group 1 as their most difficult opponents, Czechoslovakia, had - like England - failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup having lost out to Scotland. The other nations making up Group 1 were Portugal (a mere shadow of their great team of 1966) and perennial strugglers Cyprus.
Scotland were placed in a tricky looking Group 4 alongside Spain, Romania and Denmark. Wales, like England, were in a group entirely made up of teams who had failed to make it to the World Cup, their group 2 opponents being Austria, Hungary and Luxembourg. Not so fortunate were Northern Ireland, they were pooled in Group 3 which boasted two nations who would reach the final eight of the '74 World Cup - Sweden and Yugoslavia - as well as Norway.
By the time the qualifiers began in September 1974, both England and Wales had changed their manager. Don Revie was appointed England boss on 4th July, two days after 37 year old Mike Smith had been named as the first ever full-time manager of Wales. The new Revie era was marked with a striking change to England's kit. As a result of a new commercial arrangement, the traditional plain white shirts, navy blue shorts and white socks were replaced with an Admiral design which introduced red & blue stripes down the sleeves, lighter blue shorts with red & white stripes down the sides and red & blue hoops around the stocking turnovers. England's first match in the new strip was a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Czechoslovakia (the Czech's one and only defeat in the entire tournament). A disappointing goalless draw with Portugal at Wembley was followed by the expected victories over Cyprus, which left England requiring a win in Czechoslovakia to secure a place in the Quarter-finals, but in a match that saw (in Don Revie's eyes) "the worst provocation ever seen in an international match", they were beaten 2-0. England's failure to win in Portugal three weeks later left Czechoslovakia with the relatively simple task of overcoming Cyprus in the final group match to qualify.
Northern Ireland recovered from a disappointing
opening defeat in Norway with a surprise victory in Sweden, Terry Neill
then resigned his part-time role to concentrate on his new job at Spurs
and was replaced by 29 year old Dave Clements as player/manager. Yugoslavia
were beaten in Northern Ireland's first match on home soil in over three
years, and it was looking good for the Irish until a home reverse to Sweden,
they were then left needing a two goal win in the final match away to Yugoslavia
which, predictably, they failed to achieve, but it was a gallant effort
in a difficult group.
Scotland kicked off the tournament on a wave of optimism created by their unbeaten World Cup finals campiagn, but they lost at home to Spain. Scotland's next fixture - the return match in Valencia - was the only Euro 76 group stage qualifier to be shown live on British TV (albeit in Scotland only), the match was drawn, giving Spain a clear advantage which Scotland were unable to make up.
Wales looked set to celebrate their centenary in style after coming out on top of their qualifying group, they had lost their opening game in Austria but went on to do the double against Hungary and brush aside Luxembourg before beating Austria at Wrexham. Sadly the Quarter-final draw was not kind to Wales, pitting them away in the 1st leg to Yugoslavia who had an added incentive after being told that they would stage the finals should they progress. Wales lost 2-0 in Zagreb before the infamous 1-1 draw in Cardiff was shown live on BBC Wales.
The Republic of Ireland enjoyed a strong campaign
in Group 6, beating the Soviet Union 3-0 in the opening fixture with a
hat-trick by Don Givens, but they ultimately missed out on a place in the
quarter-finals by a single point. Group 5 was clearly the 'Group of death'
containing both the Netherlands (World Cup runners-up) and Poland (semi-finalists)
as well as Italy. The Italians lost 3-1 in the Netherlands early on and
later drew 0-0 at home to Finland, Poland appeared to gain the upper hand
with a 4-1 home win over the Dutch in September 1975 but the Poles lost
the return match 3-0 the following month and were then held to a goalless
draw at home to Italy, which meant the Netherlands could afford the 1-0
defeat in the final group fixture in Rome and progress with a superior
goal difference. World champions West Germany stuttered through Group 8,
drawing both fixtures with Greece, but the Greeks undid their good work
with a disastrous defeat in Malta and the Germans finished two points clear.
British TV coverage of Euro 76
ITV games are in white, BBC or non-televised matches
are in grey.
All matches were broadcast in colour unless stated.
Qualifiers & Friendlies
Wed 04/Sep/1974 Austria 2 (Kreuz,
Krankl) Wales 1 (Griffiths)
Qualifier in Vienna
*No TV coverage scheduled. This was Wales' first match under Mike Smith, who had never played professionally but had been a member of the 1960 British Olympic squad. Arfon Griffiths, making his international debut at the age of 32 gave Wales the lead on 35 by heading into an open goal after Leighton James had committed the Austrian keeper, but Austria were well on top in the 2nd half - Kreuz volleyed a magnificent equaliser on 63 and Krankl slid Austria into a 2-1 lead on 74.
Wed 04/Sep/1974 Norway 2 (Lund
2) Northern Ireland 1 (Finney)
Qualifier in Oslo
*Just a report of this game was shown on BBC NI's local news programme. A disappointing result for the Irish after Sunderland's Thomas Finney had given them a dream start with a goal on 3 minutes, Tom Lund netted twice for Norway in the 2nd half on 50 and then on the end of a corner on 72. On 11th September Terry Neill was named the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur but, for now, Neill would continue with his part time role as boss of Northern Ireland
30/Oct/1974 England 3 (Channon, Bell 2) Czechoslovakia
Qualifier at Wembley
*"Sportsnight" on BBC1 9:55-10:50pm. Two QPR players made their International debut's - Gerry Francis and (coming on as a sub) Dave Thomas - in an excellent start for new manager Don Revie, Mick Channon (pictured) twice went close in the first half with a shot hitting the side netting and a header just over. Czechsolovakia were even closer with a long range effort by Capkovic which clipped the crossbar. Frank Worthington then hit the woodwork at the other end, heading against the upright from a corner. The deadlock was finally broken on 72 when Channon headed in a Dave Thomas centre from the right., England went further ahead on 80 after the Czechs were robbed in attack and Mick Channon set off on a long run before delivering a perfect pass for Colin Bell to slide in for 2-0, The third came 3 minutes later, Channon crossing from the left byline and Bell rising well to head in his 2nd goal. Norman Hunter and Martin Dobson made their last International appearances.
Wed 30/Oct/1974 Wales 2 (Griffiths,
Toshack) Hungary 0
Qualifier in Cardiff
BBC WALES Highlights
*BBC1 WALES 9:55-10:50pm. Only 8,445 turned up to see Wales hit the crossbar in the 1st half before Arfon Griffiths ran the ball into the net to put them ahead on 57, Toshack headed in a centre from James to seal the win on 88.
Wed 30/Oct/1974 Sweden 0 Northern
Ireland 2 (Nicholl, O'Neill)
Qualifier in Stockholm
*No TV coverage scheduled, but perhaps some action was included on "Sportsnight" along with the England match. It was a terrific result for the Irish who attacked from the start and took a 7th minute lead when Nicholl headed in a corner from McIlroy, Martin O'Neill made it 2-0 on 23 with a powerful shot from just outside the area. Sweden were on top in the 2nd half but the Irish hung on to claim the points. This turned out to be Terry Neill's last match as manager, he would resign on 6th March 1975.
Wed 30/Oct/1974 Scotland 3 (Hutchison(pen),
Burns, Dalglish) East Germany 0
Friendly at Hampden
BBC SCOTLAND Highlights
*Shown on "Sportsreel" on BBC1 SCOTLAND at 9:55-10:50pm. Sandy Jardine missed a penalty on 16 but when Scotland won another penalty on 34, Tommy Hutchison stepped up and scored for 1-0. Sub Kenny Burns made it 2-0 on 36 after coming on for the injured Jim Holton who was stretchered off with a chest injury (and he wouldn't play for Scotland again), Kenny Dalglish added the 3rd on 75. Middlesbrough's Graeme Souness and Celtic's Dixie Deans made their Scotland debuts.
Wed 20/Nov/1974 England 0 Portugal
Qualifier at Wembley
*ITV showed highlights at 10:40-11:45pm (except in Scotland). The Revie honeymoon period quickly came to an end as England were jeered off the field with chants of "What a load of rubbish!". Terry Cooper, on his return to the International scene after an absence of 3 years, was taken off with a leg injury after 23 minutes and wouldn't play for England again. Portugal employed negative time-wasting tactics and back passes whilst England - now without Cooper to exploit space on the flanks - persisted in charging after high balls forward without success. Revie had no excuses; "We didn't play at all. It was a bad performance. We didn't deserve anything more than a draw." Sadly this was Frank Worthington's 8th and final appearance for England.
Wed 20/Nov/1974 Scotland 1 (Bremner)
Spain 2 (Quini 2)
Qualifier at Hampden
*SCOTTISH & GRAMPIAN showed highlights at 11:15-11:45pm,. Scotland took the lead on 11 when Billy Bremner followed up to score after Dixie Deans' header was only partially saved. Ten minutes later, Scotland had the chance to go further ahead when they won a penalty but Tommy Hutchison saw his spot kick well saved, Enrique Castro Quini made Scotland pay on 36 with the equaliser. In the 2nd half Joe Jordan saw an effort cleared off the line and Deans hit the post before Quini put Spain 2-1 ahead on 61 needing two goes to beat Harvey. Jimmy Johnstone made his final appearance in a Scotland shirt.
Wed 20/Nov/1974 Wales 5 (Toshack,
England, P.Roberts, Griffiths, Yorath) Luxembourg 0
Qualifier in Swansea
*No TV coverage scheduled, but some action may have been included on ITV's show along with the England match. Heavy rain turned the Vetch field into a bog, yet Wales overcame the conditions to record their biggest ever win against foreign opposition. John Toshack headed them into the lead on 34, Mike England blasted in no.2 on 53, Phil Roberts hit the third on 70, Arfon Griffiths made it four on 73 and Terry Yorath hammered in a 20 yarder for 5-0 on 75.
Wed 05/Feb/1975 Spain 1 (Alfredo
Megido) Scotland 1 (Jordan)
Qualifier in Valencia
SCOTTISH & GRAMPIAN LIVE
*The SCOTTISH and GRAMPIAN regions showed the match live from 7:30-9:30pm, Spanish TV (who were responsible for the pictures) broadcast it in black & white. BBC1 screened highlights across the UK on "Sportsnight" at 9:55-10:45 with Barry Davies commentating. Joe Jordan opened the scoring within 90 seconds of kick-off - Kenny burns had hit the crossbar but Jordan headed in the re-bound, Scotland were well on top and might have added further goals in the opening 20 minutes, but sub Alfredo Megido scored a disputed equaliser on 67 when Martin Buchan used his hands to apparently prevent the ball from crossing the line, the referee initially awarded a penalty but Spanish protests forced him to change his mind and a goal was awarded instead. Celtic's Paul Wilson made his one and only appearance for Scotland coming on a sub.
12/Mar/1975 England 2 (Bell, MacDonald) West Germany
Friendly at Wembley
Brian Moore & Alf Ramsey
*ITV showed highlights at 10:30-11:30pm (except in Scotland). The game was also seen live on closed-circuit television by an anticipated audience of 30,000 in selected cinema's across the country, though for technical reason's all but one cinema had to screen it in black & white. A plan to show instant replays on a large screen inside the stadium was vetoed by the FA. With Leeds and Ipswich players unavailable because of a domestic cup replay, there were debuts for Steve Whitworth (Leicester), Ian Gillard (QPR) and Alan Hudson (Stoke). England went ahead against the World Champions on 25, Whitworth won a free-kick near the corner flag on the right, Hudson centred and Colin Bell saw his awkward shot deflected in for 1-0, England had numerous near misses before the the 2nd goal came on 65 when MacDonald headed in captain Alan Ball's looping cross to the far post. Vogts then had to clear off the line from a header by Dave Watson and Kevin Keegan almost scored in the closing seconds at the end of a cheeky team exhibition of keep-ball, but his chipped effort bounced down off the underside of the crossbar and out. It was a good performance by England who registered their first victory over West Germany since beating them in the 1966 World Cup final.
16/Apr/1975 England 5 (MacDonald 5) Cyprus 0
Qualifier at Wembley
*BBC1's "Sportsnight" showed highlights at 10:05-11:15pm (along with Boxing). 90 seconds into the game MacDonald headed in a Hudson free-kick from wide on the left. On 32 a cross by Bell eventually found Keegan who pulled back from the byline and MacDonald miss-hit into the net for 2-0, MacDonald also hit the post with a half-volleyed shot on the turn before HT. On 52 a deep Madeley ball was headed back across goal by Keegan and MacDonald nodded in for his hat-trick, David Thomas then came on as a sub and his first touch saw him float in a perfect cross for 'Supermac' to powerfully head home his 4th on 56, Debutant Kevin Beattie had an effort ruled out after he latched onto a ball into the box from Dave Watson and prodded into the net as the goalkeeper attempted to gather. Finally, on 87, a nice one-two between Thomas and Ball saw Thomas then send in another perfect centre for MacDonald to head in England's 5th and become the first man to score 5 for England since 1938.
Wed 16/Apr/1975 Hungary 1 (Branikovits)
Wales 2 (Toshack, Mahoney)
Qualifier in Budapest
BBC WALES Highlights
*Possibly included on the same "Sportsnight" programme shown in England & Scotland, the match kicked off at 5:30pm local time. John Toshack had a penalty saved on 15 but made amends with a goal on 44 after the Hungarian keeper failed to cut out a cross from Leighton James, John Mahoney put Wales 2-0 ahead on 69 with commentator Robling declaring "It's as easy as that!" (Probably his most remembered piece of commentary by Welsh fans), Branikovits pulled one back on 77 but Wales held out to complete the double over Hungary and top the group.
Wed 16/Apr/1975 Northern Ireland
1 (Hamilton) Yugoslavia 0
Qualifier in Belfast
BBC N.IRELAND Highlights
*BBC1 N.Ireland 10:05-11:15pm. A big night for Northern Ireland, playing on home soil for the first time in over three years and with a new temporary manager - 29 year old Everton midfielder Dave Clements who had been announced as player/mananger on 18th March 1975. The only goal came on 23 when Alan Hunter headed a corner back across goal and Bryan Hamilton nodded in for 1-0.
Wed 16/Apr/1975 Sweden 1 (Sjoberg)
Scotland 1 (MacDougall)
Friendly in Gothenburg
*Possibly a report included on "Sportsnight". Sweden went ahead on 44 when Thomas Sjoberg chipped the advancing Rangers keeper Stewart Kennedy (making his debut) in a one on one. Ted MacDougall equalised in his first international on 86. There were also debuts for Rangers' Colin Jackson and Sunderland's William Hughes (the latter coming on as sub for what turned out to be his only Scotland appearance).
Thu 01/May/1975 Luxembourg 1
(Phillips(pen)) Wales 3 (Reece, James 2(1pen))
Qualifier in Luxembourg
*No British TV coverage scheduled, the match kicked off at 4pm local time. Gil Reece netted from close range on 24 after Toshack had headed the ball down at the far post, Leighton James was at the end of a Terry Yorath free-kick into the box to make it 2-0 on 32, Luxembourg pulled one back on 39 when Fandel was pulled down by Page in the area and Phillips scored from the spot kick. The only goal of the 2nd half was another penalty on 83, this time for Wales, which Leighton James duly dispatched for 3-1.
Sun 11/May/1975 Cyprus 0 England
Qualifier in Limassol
*No British TV coverage was scheduled. The fixture was originally arranged for 5th February 1975 but was postponed because of anti-British disturbances in Cyprus. Eleven days before the re-scheduled match (Don Revie's first away game as England manager) Czechoslovakia beat Portugal 5-0, so England had to win this match which kicked-off at 4:45pm local time. The brand new Tsirion Stadium was filled with 16,000 spectators including thousands of British troops, the pitch was hard and bumpy but England got off to the perfect start, scoring after 6 minutes when a corner by David Thomas was met at the near post by Kevin Keegan's backward glancing header for 1-0. Malcolm MacDonald later had two efforts blocked on the line, as did Mick Channon who also struck a post. Ray Clemence didn't have a single shot to save all afternoon, yet England had to settle for the one goal victory margin. The Cypriot manager said afterwards "My main feeling is one of disappointment about the quality of the English team". Dennis Tueart came on as sub to make his debut. One English supporter had to be taken to hospital via a helicopter which landed on the pitch after he had attempted to tear up a Cypriot flag at the final whistle and was promptly set upon by angry locals.
Tue 13/May/1975 Scotland 1 (Artur(og))
Friendly at Hampden
*No TV coverage scheduled. The goal came on 43 from a corner, Gordon McQueen's headed effort was parried but it rebounded off the legs of Portugal defender Artur Correia and into the net. Portugal hit the post just after the break but Scotland continued to dominate. Derby's Bruce Rioch and sub Arthur Duncan of Hibs made their debuts whilst Charlie Cooke played his last international.
Sun 01/Jun/1975 Romania 1 (Georgescu)
Scotland 1 (McQueen)
Qualifier in Bucharest
*Strike action had blacked out ITV stations over the past week, all regions were back on air by Friday night except Scottish TV where technicians had voted against a return to work, Scottish (but not Grampian) were scheduled to broadcast the Romania v Scotland match LIVE from 4:20-6:20pm on Sunday afternoon, but sadly the channel remained off-air until Monday night. Following the 5-1 defeat to England in the Home Internationals the previous weekend, goalkeeper Stewart Kennedy was reported to have been injured in training and was replaced by Sheffield United keeper James Brown, this being his one and only appearance for Scotland, Aberdeen's Willie Miller also made his debut. Scotland were seeking a win but fell behind on 22 minutes to a headed goal by Dudu Georgescu. Lou Macari had a 'goal' disallowed on 36 and captain Gordon McQueen was booked for protesting the decision. Scotland won a free-kick in the last minute of the game from which McQueen equalised, but the draw left Scotland in 3rd place and 4 points adrift of leaders Spain with three games left to play. "It's all over now" said Ormond afterwards, "We had to win".
Wed 03/Sep/1975 Denmark 0 Scotland
Qualifier in Copenhagen
BBC SCOTLAND Highlights
*BBC1 SCOTLAND "Sportscene" 10:05-10:55pm. David Harvey returned in goal, Scotland stole the victory to keep their faint hopes of qualifying alive, Joe Harper scored on 51 driving in from a cross by Lorimer. This match was Billy Bremner's 54th and final appearance for Scotland, it was also the end of international football for Alex Forsyth, Tommy Hutchison and Arthur Duncan.
Wed 03/Sep/1975 Northern Ireland
1 (Hunter) Sweden 2 (Sjöberg, Torstensson)
Qualifier in Belfast
BBC N.IRELAND Highlights
*BBC1 N.IRELAND 10:05-10:55pm, this match kicked-off at 5:30pm. Northern Ireland suffered their first home defeat since international football was resumed at Windsor Park. Hunter put the home side ahead from a corner on 32, but the Swedes took the points with two goals either side of half-time - Sjöberg drew out Jennings before slipping in the equaliser on 44 and Conny Torstensson flicked in the winner on 55.
Wed 03/Sep/1975 Switzerland
1 (Müller) England 2 (Keegan, Channon)
Friendly in Basle
*BBC1 in England and Wales showed highlights of this friendly at 10:05-10:55pm. Tony Currie returned to the international scene after an absence of two years but had a disappointing match - as did sub Malcolm MacDonald who missed two good chances late on. England began the match well, Kevin Keegan reacted to a re-bound off the keeper to put England ahead on 8, Keegan then had a penalty saved by Burgener on 12 minutes after the Swiss goalkeeper had upended a clean through David Johnson. Mick Channon soon made it 2-0 on 19, but Kurt Müller pulled one back for the Swiss on 29 by heading in a corner misread by an out of sorts Ray Clemence. What had appeared to be a casual stroll for England then became an uphill struggle to hold out for the win.
Wed 29/Oct/1975 Abandoned Match - Czechoslovakia
Qualifier in Bratislava
*This match was abandoned after 17 minutes due to fog with the score 0-0, England had been well on top and Malcolm MacDonald had a 9th minute effort ruled out by a disputed offside decision. BBC1 were to include highlights on "Sportsnight" at 9:25-11:10pm along with Gymnastics, presumably they showed Scotland and Northern Ireland's matches instead.
Wed 29/Oct/1975 Scotland 3 (Dalglish,
Rioch, MacDougall) Denmark 1 (Bastrup)
Qualifier at Hampden
*BBC1 SCOTLAND's "Sportscene" showed highlights at 9:25-11:10pm. Scotland piled on the pressure from the off in an attempt to improve their goal difference and increase their slim chances of qualifying, but Denmark took the lead against the run of play on 20 through a Lars Bastrup's header, Kenny Dalglish finally equalised on 48 and Bruce Rioch then put the home side ahead with a strike from a free-kick on 54, Ted MacDougall was on the end of another free-kick situation on 61 to add the third, but Scotland needed to win by more than two and a fourth goal proved elusive. Manchester United's Stewart Houston made his one and only Scotland appearance whilst John Greig won his 44th and final cap. The Scots were now left hoping that Romania would beat Spain and that Scotland could then register a big enough win v Romania to qualify.
Wed 29/Oct/1975 Northern Ireland
3 (Morgan, McIlroy, Hamilton) Norway 0
Qualifier in Belfast
*Highlights were scheduled as a separate programme for BBC1 N.IRELAND at 11:10-11:40pm, although (following the postponement of England's match) the footage may have been included in the regular "Sportsnight" programme instead. The match kicked-off at 2:30pm, the Irish were looking for a 5 goal win margin to give them a realistic chance of snatching qualification (the Irish would then require an odd goal victory in Yugoslavia the following month), they got off to a great start with two goals in the first five minutes, Sammy Morgan scored in 90 seconds, Sammy McIlroy then made it 2-0 on 5, the fans had to wait until the 53rd minute for the third scored by Bryan Hamilton, but no further goals would come.
Thu 30/Oct/1975 Czechoslovakia
2 (Nehoda, Gallis) England 1 (Channon)
Qualifier in Bratislava
*A late change to the schedule on BBC1 saw highlights screened at 10:15-11pm. The hastily re-arranged match kicked-off at 2pm local time (1pm UK time), a win would have seen England secure 1st place, but - despite a good performance - they were beaten by two goals either side of half-time. One England player (who insisted on not being named) told the press "I don't know how that referee will be able to sleep for the next week when he recalls the things he let go on in this game." Don Revie said "I saw the worst provocation in this game that I have ever seen in an international match, certainly worse than Argentina against England in the 1966 World Cup." England had taken the lead on 26 through Mick Channon who lobbed the keeper for 1-0, Zdenek Nehoda headed the equaliser from a corner on 45, then a diving header by Dusan Gallis at the end of a nice move on 47 saw the home side take the lead. From that point on it was all England, but the Czechs did anything and everything to hold out. The home side had a player sent off in the 2nd half but he was not among the 11 on the pitch!!! It was reserve keeper Wencel who was shown the red card for rushing onto the field from the bench to push the referee! This fixture turned out to be Colin Bell's 48th and final cap, it was also the end of international duty for Ian Gillard after 3 appearances. England remained on top of the group, but the Czechs were now only a point behind with a game in hand.
Sun 16/Nov/1975 Romania 2 (Georgescu(pen),
Iordanescu) Spain 2 (Villar, Santillana)
Qualifier in Bucharest
SCOTTISH & GRAMPIAN LIVE
*An extended edition of "Scotsport" on Sunday afternoon at 1:10-4:05pm included live coverage of this qualifier as well as highlights from two domestic league games (Hearts 1 Dundee 1 & Everton 1 Manchester City 1). The international clash was crucial to Scottish hopes, they needed Romania to win (and for Scotland to then beat Romania in the final group game in December), but Spain got the draw they required to secure top spot and a place in the quarter-finals - Villar putting them ahead on 29, Santillana making it 2-0 on 57 before Romania pulled one back from the penalty spot through Georgescu on 72 and Iordanescu equalising on 80.
Wed 19/Nov/1975 Portugal 1 (Rodrigues)
England 1 (Channon)
Qualifier in Lisbon
*ITV (except in Wales) showed highlights on "Wednesday Special" at 10:30-11:30pm, coverage was probably in black & white as Portugal did not even begin experimental colour broadcasts until 1976. Portugal and Czechoslovakia had drawn 1-1 on the 12th which left Portugal needing a miracle to qualify, whilst the Czechs were now level on points with England who had the slightly better goal difference, the Czechs had one final game remaining away in Cyprus to follow and so England had to win in Portugal (ideally by at least two or three goals), but disaster struck as early as the 16th minute when Rui Rodrigues fired in a free-kick from some 30 yards out, Portugal had chances to go further ahead before England got back into the game with a free-kick of their own on 42 - Francis back-heeled through MacDonald's legs and Channon's shot found the net via a deflection off the wall. England were more confident in the 2nd half but failed to create a significant effort on goal. Eleven days later, Czechoslovakia won 3-0 in Cyprus and England were out. The match in Lisbon brought a number of England player's international careers to an end - Allan Clarke (after 19 caps), Malcolm MacDonald (14 caps), David Thomas (8 caps) and Steve Whitworth (7 caps).
Wed 19/Nov/1975 Wales 1 (Griffiths)
Qualifier at Wrexham
HTV WALES Highlights
*HTV WALES opted out of the network to show highlights as "Midweek Match" from 10:30-11:30pm. 27,578 packed into the Racecourse Ground in driving rain and fierce winds to witness a poor match but a memorable success. Arfon Griffiths, the 34 year old Wrexham player who had made his international debut aged 30, scored the winning goal that saw Wales through to the quarter-finals (due to take place in the Welsh national team's centenary year). The home side only needed a draw, but a fierce right foot shot from just outside the box on 69 gave them victory.
Wed 19/Nov/1975 Yugoslavia 1
(Oblak) Northern Ireland 0
Qualifier in Belgrade
*No highlights were scheduled. Northern Ireland needed a 2-0 win in this 6pm kick-off to qualify but fell behind in the 21st minute when Oblak slammed in a re-bound after Surjak hit the cross-bar. Sammy Morgan summed up "They were a far better team. It was like chasing shadows."
Wed 17/Dec/1975 Scotland 1 (Rioch)
Romania 1 (Crisan)
Qualifier at Hampden
BBC SCOTLAND Highlights
*BBC1 SCOTLAND's "Sportscene" showed highlights at 10:00-11:05pm. With Spain having already won the group, only 11,375 turned up at Hampden in an arctic chill to see two Scotland players make their debuts, John Doyle of Ayr Utd (winning his only cap) and Andy Gray of Aston Villa. Bruce Rioch gave Scotland the lead on 39 from a free-kick but Romania equalised through Zoltan Crisan on 74. Four Scottish international careers came to an end with this match; Peter Lorimer (with 21 caps), Goalkeeper Jim Cruickshank, John Brownlie and Ted MacDougall.
Wed 03/Mar/1976 Israel 1 (Damti)
Northern Ireland 1 (Lev(og))
Friendly in Tel Aviv
*No TV coverage scheduled. Gidi Damti gave Israel the lead on 36, Pat Rice equalised on 56 via a deflection off a defender.
Wed 24/Mar/1976 Wales 1 (Curtis)
England 2 (Kennedy, Taylor)
Friendly at Wrexham
*ITV showed highlights as "Midweek Match" at 10:00-10:50pm (TV TImes credits the programme as an HTV production). This match was arranged to celebrate the centenary of the Welsh Football Association. Kevin Keegan captained his country for the first time and there were debuts for no less than 8 players; Trevor Cherry, Phil Thompson, Mike Doyle, Phil Neal, Ray Kennedy, Phil Boyer (his only cap), Dave Clement and Peter Taylor. Kennedy put the visitors ahead on 71, impressive sub Peter Taylor (of 3rd tier Crystal Palace) blasted in a 2nd goal on 84. Alan Curtis grabbed a consolation for Wales in injury time.
Wed 07/Apr/1976 Scotland 1 (Pettigrew)
Friendly at Hampden
*No TV coverage scheduled. Willie Pettigrew of Motherwell made his debut and volleyed home the only goal of the game after just 90 seconds. This was also the debut match for Partick Thistle keeper Alan Rough and Frankie Gray of Leeds. A number of other players won their one and only Scottish cap tonight, these being Tommy Craig, Alex MacDonald and subs Des Bremner and Robert McKean.
Sat 24/Apr/1976 Yugoslavia 2
(Vukotic, Popivoda) Wales 0
Quarter-final 1st Leg in Zagreb
HTV WALES Highlights
*Highlights of this 5:30pm kick-off were shown the following day (Sunday) on HTV WALES at 2:10-3:10pm, some other ITV regions included an edit alongside their own league matches (there was a full football league programme on the Saturday - HTV WEST showed Bristol City v Notts County). Yugoslavia had the added incentive of knowing that they would host the Semi-finals and final if they were to progress (West Germany were 2nd choice) and their squad were given three weeks preperation time. Wales only came together in full on the Thursday before the match and would have been happy to come away from the 1st leg with an odd goal defeat, but they got off to a terrible start. After just 40 seconds, Vukotic picked up a rebound near the penalty spot and turned to score for the home side. After weathering further early pressure, Wales came more into the match but failed to create a clear scoring opportunity and Popivoda added a 2nd goal for Yugoslavia on 54 by sliding in a headed centre across the 6 yard box.
Sat 22/May/1976 Wales 1 (Evans)
Yugoslavia 1 (Katalinski)
Quarter-final 2nd Leg in Cardiff
BBC WALES LIVE / BBC Highlights
*The 3pm kick-off was shown live on BBC WALES from 2:50pm, highlights were shown on all BBC1 regions at 10:05-11:35pm (alongside athletics). Wales began the match well and might have reduced the aggregate arrears back to 1-2 as early as the 2nd minute, but they fell further behind on 19 to a controversial penalty awarded against Page for brushing against Popivoda who made the most of contact inside the box, Katalinski converted the spot kick to seemingly kill the tie off at 3-0. Wales then hit the crossbar and Flynn was lucky not to receive a red card for retaliation before Ian Evans restored faint hope on 38 by side footing home at the end of a corner. The afternoon reached boiling point on 65 when Toshack appeared to have netted a 2nd goal for Wales after an attempted overhead kick by Mahoney had failed and bounced to Toshack to lash in, but Gloekner the East German referee disallowed it, presumably because he thought the overhead kick was dangerous. The Welsh fans were incensed, beer cans and other missiles began to rain down onto the pitch and whilst Gloekner remonstrated with officials near the tunnel, two fans ran onto the pitch and grappled with Yugoslavia players. After 5 minutes, the game restarted to chants of "Seig Heil" whilst a tannoy announcement stated that the referee had threatened to abandon the game if the missiles continued. Wales then had another goal ruled out, this time by the linesman, but Toshack was clearly offside as he netted with a diving header. The Welsh won a fortunate late penalty on 85 when Maric (Yugoslavia's goalkeeper) brought down Toshack with his legs as he fell to the ground after punching away a high looping ball, but Yorath's tepid spot kick was easily saved. As the players left the field to a pitch invasion and police protection, a Yugoslavia player was caught by a TV camera hitting out at a Welsh fan in the stand as he walked through the tunnel. Three weeks later, on 10th June, it was announced that UEFA had banned Wales from entering the European Championship until 1982, a suspension imposed in consequence of the crowd trouble. The Welsh FA vowed to appeal against the decision and were eventually successful in reducing the ban to not being allowed to play home matches in Cardiff.
Euro '76 Finals
Wed 16/Jun/1976 Czechoslovakia
3 (Ondruš, Nehoda, Veselý) Netherlands 1 (Ondruš(og)) [AET]
Brian Moore *Martin Tyler off-tube for extra-time
*Highlights were included on ITV's late night sports show at 10:40-midnight along with boxing (George Forman v Joe Frazier). ITV's audio feed from Yugoslavia was lost for extra-time - Martin Tyler's job that night was to edit the 1st half highlights, but within minutes of finishing the task he was whisked to a voice-over booth to pick up commentary. The match was played in pouring rain on a waterlogged pitch, defender and captain Anton Ondruš headed the Czechs ahead on 19 from a free-kick swung in from wide on the left, but the same player netted a spectacular volleyed own goal on 77 by slicing in Geels' cross from the right. Welsh referee Clive Thomas sent off three players during the course of the evening, the Czechs lost Pollack on the hour for a 2nd bookable offence, the Dutch were a man short when Neeskens was sent off for an appalling high tackle and they were down to 9 men late in extra-time when Van Hanegem saw red for arguing with the referee after Zdenek Nehoda's downward header from a looping right wing cross restored the Czechs lead on 114. František Veselý, the substitute who had made all the difference in added time, then got a clear sight of goal on 118, he rounded the keeper and slotted past a lone defender for 3-1.
Thu 17/Jun/1976 West Germany
4 (Flohe, D.Müller 3) Yugoslavia 2 (Popivoda, Džajic) [AET]
*BBC1 11:05pm-12:05am. The holders were 2-0 down by the half hour mark, Danilo Popivoda scampered onto a looping pass into the centre of the box and prodded in for a superb opener on 19, then on 30 Sepp Maier failed to hold onto a cross from the right and Dragan Džajic seized the opportunity to score from point blank range. Heinz Flohe pulled one back for the Germans on 64 with a wickedly deflected effort from outside the box, substitute Dieter Müller headed in an equaliser with his first touch on 82 from a corner and the same player then completed his hat-trick in extra time, first with a strike from the edge of the 6 yard area on 115 and then being in the right place after a shot had rebounded off the post to side-foot home on 119 and send West Germany through to the final.
3rd/4th place play off
Sat 19/Jun/1976 Netherlands
3 (Geels 2, Van de Kerkhof) Yugoslavia 2 (Katalinski, Džajic) [AET]
*Highlights in the LWT, ATV, Granada, Anglia and Scottish regions only at 10:45-11:45pm. Ruud Geels opened the scoring for the Netherlands on 27, Willy van de Kerkhof made it 2-0 on 39, Josip Katalinski pulled one back before HT on 43 and Dragan Džajic equalised on 82 to force extra time. Geels netted the Netherlands winner on 107, but it was unhappy tournament for the Dutch with problems behind the scenes and their manager resigning on the day of the semi-final.
Sun 20/Jun/1976 Czechoslovakia
2 (Švehlík, Dobiaš) West Germany 2 (D. Müller, Hölzenbein)
[Cze win 5-3 on pens AET]
*LIVE coverage began at 7:55pm and was due to end at 10:15pm but probably ran until around 11pm. Surprisingly, there was no coverage on the BBC. The Czechs got off to a dream start, taking the lead in the 8th minute after Maier had made a good save, but the rebound fell back into Czech possession and a square ball across the box left Ján Švehlík with the simple task of slotting into the unguarded far corner of the net. A 2nd Czech goal came on 25, a free-kick wide on the left was headed away by Beckenbauer, but only to the feet of Karol Dobiaš who hit a left foot shot along the ground beyond the fingertips of Maier and nestling just inside the far post for 2-0. The Germans were soon back in it, good work by Wimmer was taken up by Bonhof on the right, his chipped ball into the box found Dieter Müller unmarked and he made no mistake from close range with a hooked volley to pull it back to 1-2 on 28. Czech star keeper Viktor made some good saves throughout the match and both sides hit the post in the 2nd half. With seconds remaining, the Germans looked beaten, but Bernd Hölzenbein headed a last gasp equaliser from a corner and there was not even time to re-start the game - which meant all four matches in the Euro 76 finals had now required added time. No further goals were scored in the extra 30 minutes and so, for the first time ever, a major international final would be settled on penalties. Both sides netted their opening 3 spot kicks, Jurkemik netted the 4th penalty for the Czechs but Uli Hoeneß missed for West Germany. Antonín Panenka then won the trophy for Czechoslovakia by fooling German keeper Sepp Maier into diving for a save and astonishingly chipping the ball straight down the centre and into the net.
Left - West Germany equalise from a corner, the RTB logo (which only appeared during the action replays) stood for Radio Television Belgrade.
Right - Panenka celebrates the winning penalty for Czechoslovakia.
The United States
Bicentennial Tournament (1976)
On 2nd March 1976, the Football Association confirmed England's three fixtures for the United States Bicentennial tournament to be staged in late May (shortly before the European Championship finals were played in June). The tournament was designed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the USA's declaration of independence. Four teams took part on a group basis; Brazil, Italy, England and "Team America", the local side being made up of North American Soccer League players including Pelé, Bobby Moore and numerous players normally associated with the English Football League. The USA national side of the day was not considered to be strong enough to compete.
There was decent coverage of the tournament on British television, the BBC took the plum fixture between England and Brazil and showed it live, ITV had the remaining pair of fixtures with Brian Moore in America to cover them, but the Italy game was not shown live due to the very late kick-off time (ITV preferring to show delayed coverage the following day) whilst the match v Team America was only deemed worthy of highlights.
Sun 23/May/1976 Brazil 1 (de
Oliveira) England 0
*BBC1 showed the match live at 10:30pm-12:20am (with a 10 minute break for the news at HT), the game kicked off at 2:30pm local time in front of 32,900 fans. Substitute Roberto de Oliveira scrambled in the only goal from a corner on 89 minutes, it was rough luck on England (wearing white shirts, white shorts and yellow socks) in one of their better displays under Don Revie.
Italy beat 'Team America' 4-0 in the day's other game in Washington, Pelé tried to beat Italy keeper Dino Zoff with a shot from the half-way line immediately after kick-off.
Fri 28/May/1976 Italy 2 (Graziani
2) England 3 (Channon 2, Thompson)
New York City
ITV Delayed Coverage
Brian Moore & Kevin Keegan
*ITV showed delayed coverage on the Saturday afternoon during "World of Sport" at 3:35-4:55pm (the game had kicked off at 8pm New York time on the Friday night with 40,650 attending). Kevin Keegan didn't play and instead joined Brian Moore in the commentary box. Goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer won his one and only cap in this game, Tony Towers' brief international career came to an end with his 3rd cap, there was a notable debut for 19 year old Ray Wilkins and Gordon Hill also appeared in an England shirt for the first time. Francesco Graziani gave Italy a 2-0 HT lead with goals on 15 and 18, sub keeper Joe Corrigan replaced Rimmer for the 2nd half (a pre-arranged swap which saw Corrigan also make his debut) and England then staged a 2nd half fight back to win the game 3-2, Mick Channon got the first within 30 seconds of the re-start, Phil Thompson equalised with a header from a corner on 48 and Mick Channon netted what turned out to be the winner on 53 by powering home a cross from Brooking. Facchetti thought he had equalised in the last minute but the referee disallowed his goal because Fabio Capello had barged into Corrigan. The incident led to punches being thrown, Facchetti took a swing at Mills and then Clement who had come to Mills' aid by pushing the Italian away, it was a violent climax to a final 30 minutes of wild Italian aggression - Sub Trevor Cherry claimed to have been spat at by the Italian bench as he warmed up and Phil Neal had a leg badly gashed by an over-the-top tackle.
Brazil beat Team America 2-0 in the day's other match.
Mon 31/May/1976 'Team America'
1 (Scullion) England 3 (Keegan 2, Francis)
*ITV showed highlights at 10:15-11:15pm (Scottish and Grampian showed it at the later time of 11:35pm), the match kicked off at noon local time and the stadium was only 20% full - 16,239 being easily the lowest crowd of the tournament. For England to win the tournament, Italy had to beat Brazil by one goal in the other game whilst England (playing in yellow) had to achieve at least a five goal win margin. 'Team America' included six football league players and were captained by Bobby Moore, Pelé also played and forced Clemence into making some good saves. Keegan opened the scoring from a free-kick on 24, the same player scored again on 30 by shooting in a centre from Channon. Gerry Francis made it 3-0 on 49 by rounding the keeper and then slotting the ball in through the legs of a defender on the line. Substitute Stewart Scullion grabbed Team America's only goal of the tournament late in the game. This match is not recognised in the record books as a full England international and no caps were awarded.
Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the day's other game in Connecticut, the match was held up for 15 minutes when Brazilian officials went on the field to protest at the sending off of Lula. Bettega and Causio (both Italy) were also sent off in a match described as a 'disgrace to soccer'. Presumably ITV included a goals report of this decisive game on their Monday night show.
1. Brazil +6 6
2. England +2 4
3. Italy 0 2
4. Team America -8 0