1972 European football championships
The 1972 European Championships was played in the host country Belgium. This was the fourth European Championships that had taken place. Only four nations could qualify for the finals tournament. The hosts were once again only announced after the qualifying matches had taken place.
1972 brought victory for one of the finest sides to shine through the European Championships. In the final in Brussels, a West German team built on the foundation on the club Bayern Munich was a real force. They were captained by Franz Beckeenbaur who revolutionized the role of the sweeper.
The qualifying matches were played in 1970 and 1971. England met West Germany in the quarter finals, the first leg being played at Wembley on April 29th. The West Germans had developed into a strong side, with world class players including Franz Beckenbauer playing as a sweeper, Gunter Netzer in midfield and their goal scoring machine, Gerd Muller. The Germans simply tore the English apart. With only ten minutes left on the clock the score line flattered England at 1-1. The English were totally out played. West Germany scored two late goals in the final ten minutes which sealed a deserved victory courtesy to a Netzer penalty and a goal in the 88th minute by Gerd Muller. The England manager, Gordon Ramsey was heavily criticized for his team selection and tactics he made. The return leg was played in Berlin and ended up in a dire 0-0 affair. This saw the West Germans qualify for the European Championship finals.
The finalists for the European Championships in 1972 included the host nation Belgium, the Soviet Union, Hungary and West Germany. The opening matched was played at Antwerp where West Germany beat Belgium 2-0, including two goals from Gerd Muller. Koncov scored a late winner in the other semi final match for the Soviet Union against Hungary. The third place match between Belgium and Hungary took place in Liege, Lambert and Van Himst gave Belgium the lead, Ku scored an early second half goal for Hungary however the score was to remain 2-1 to Belgium.
West Germany met the Soviet Union in the final; the match was played in the Heysel stadium in Brussels, and produced a phenomenal performance by the Germans. Two goals from their striker Gerd Muller and another by Herbert Wimmer was enough to ensure the West Germans to a glorious victory.