On this day in the Euros, June 10: Viva il Riva
On this day in 1968, Italy won the only final replay — with half a new team…
Hosts Italy won the third Euros tournament — the first to be called European Championship as opposed to the European Nations’ Cup. As with all the first five editions, this was a four-team job. Hosts Italy were paired with 1964 runners-up the Soviet Union in the semi, which ended goalless and was decided by a coin-toss — captain Giacinto Facchetti guessing correctly.
That sent them through to face Yugoslavia, who had beaten world champions England 1–0 thanks to a late goal from Dragan Dzajic (immediately nicknamed Magic Dragan by the English press). The left-winger broke the deadlock on the half-hour, but Angelo Domenghini’s 80th-minute free-kick soothed the 68,000 crowd, who had earlier watched England win the bronze-medal game.
On this occasion stalemate wasn’t decided by the toss of a coin, but a replay two days later — 10 June 1968. While Yugoslavia made one change to their starting XI, Italy made five, calling upon talents like Sandro Mazzola and Luigi Riva — and Riva, returning from a broken leg, ran the show.
Riva opened the scoring within 12 minutes, lashing home a left-foot shot, and could have bagged a hat-trick. But the game was effectively over just after the half-hour when Pietro Anastasi flicked up an angled pass and volleyed in gorgeously from the edge of the box. It was a goal good enough to be marked, 68 years later, as one of FourFourTwo’s 50 Most Memorable Euros Goals… we’re sure he’s delighted.
Originally published by FourFourTwo on June 10, 2016.