The seventh European Championships were held in France. Seven countries qualified to join the hosts. They were split into two groups, and in a change from the 1980 tournament, there would then be a Semi-Final stage.
Group A : France, Belgium, Denmark, Yugoslavia
Group B : West Germany, Spain, Portugal, Romania
As with the World Cup two years later in Mexico, the tournament was dominated by one man. Although there is little doubt Diego Marandona won the World Cup for Argentina, hauling a very average side to glory, Michel Platini was surrounded by quality players. He was at the pinnacle of his game and had just been part of a Juventus side which had won Serie A. The French had assembled a very classy side, unlucky not to reach the World Cup Final in 1982, but two years later they weren’t to be denied.
12 June 1984, Parc des Princes, 47,570
FRANCE (0) 1 (Platini 78)
DENMARK (0) 0
FRANCE: Bats; Amoros, Le Roux (Domergue), Bossis, Battiston; Fernandez, Platini, Giresse, Tigana; Lacombe, Bellone
DENMARK: Qvist; Busk, M Olsen, Nielsen; Arnesen (J Olsen), Simonsen (Lauridsen), Bertelsen, Lerby; Berggreen, Laudrup, Elkjaer
A virtual capacity crowd filled Parc des Princes in Paris to watch the hosts take on England’s victors, Denmark. These were two of the most attractive sides of the 80’s. France with their classy midfield of Platini, Tigana, Fernandez and Giresse. Denmark with Simonsen, Arnesen, Lerby, Elkjaar and Michael Laudrup. A feisty game was settled by a goal from Platini with just over ten minutes to go. There was a hint of luck about the goal, which took a deflection past the keeper, but that seemed to typify the Frenchman’s luck at this present time. Just before the end, French defender Amoros was sent-off for a head-butt on Jesper Olsen
13 June 1984, Stade Felix-Bollaert, Lens, 41,744
BELGIUM (1) 2 (Vandenbergh 28, Grun 45)
YUGOSLAVIA (0) 0
BELGIUM: Pfaff; Grun, Clijsters (Lambrichts), de Wolf; Vercauteren, Claesen, Scifo, de Greef, Vandereycken; Vandenbergh, Ceulemans
YUGOSLAVIA: Simovic; Zajec, Katanec, Gudelj, N Stojkovic; Bazdarevic (Cvetkovic), Susic, Sestic, Vujovic (D Stojkovic), Hadzibegic; Halilovic
Belgium, runners-up four years earlier, were up against Yugoslavia who hosted the 1976 finals. Belgium were two goals up by half-time and the game was over. Erwin Vandenburgh and Georges Grun scored the goals. Vandenburgh’s was an impressive strike from just outside the area, and Grun was given the freedom of the Yugoslav box to convert a cross.
16 June 1984, Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 51,359
FRANCE (3) 5 (Platini 4, 74 pen, 89, Giresse 33, Fernandez 43)
BELGIUM (0) 0
FRANCE: Bats; Domergue, Bossis, Battiston; Fernandez, Platini, Giresse, Tigana, Genghini (Tusseau); Lacombe (Rocheteau), Six
BELGIUM: Pfaff; Grun, Lambrichts, de Wolf; Claesen, Scifo (Verheyen), de Greef, Vandereycken (Coeck), Vercauteren; Vandenbergh, Ceulemans
Four minutes in and the French had a free-kick about twenty five yards out. Platini played the ball square to Fernandez whose shot rebounded off the crossbar. Platini was first to it and fired the French in front. The French just dominated the first half and played some lovely football. Alain Giresse made it 2-0 and then just before half-time Luis Fernandez put them 3-0 up.
In the second half, Platini converted a penalty and completed the perfect hat-trick as he headed home for the fifth goal. His first was with his left foot, second with his right and then the header.
16 June 1984, Stade de Gerland, Lyon, 24,736
DENMARK (2) 5 (Arnesen 8, 69 pen, Berggreen 16, Elkjaer 82, Lauridsen 84)
YUGOSLAVIA (0) 0
DENMARK: Qvist; Nielsen, M Olsen, Busk, Rasmussen (Sivebaek); Arnesen (Lauridsen), Bertelsen, Lerby; Berggreen, Laudrup, Elkjaer
YUGOSLAVIA: Ivkovic; Radanovic, Zajec, Katanec (Halilovic), N Stojkovic, Miljus; Susic, Bazdarevic (D Stojkovic), Gudelj, Vujovic; Cvetkovic
After France took Belgium apart, Denmark followed this with their own demolition of Yugoslavia. Frank Arnesen put the Danes in front in the opening ten minutes as the Slav keeper turned Arnesen’s cross into his own net. Ten minutes later, Berggreen scrambled the ball over the line to double the lead. In the second half, Arnesen converted a penalty after Elkjaer was pushed over in the area, and then as the game moved into the final ten minutes it became the Preben Elkjaer show. They ran riot as Elkjaer made it 4-0 and then substitute Martin Lauridsen completed the scoring with the fifth.
19 June 1984, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, St. Etienne, 47,589
FRANCE (0) 3 (Platini, 59, 62, 77)
YUGOSLAVIA (1) 2 (Sestic 32, D Stojkovic 84 pen)
FRANCE: Bats; Domergue, Bossis, Battiston, Fernandez; Ferreri (Bravo), Platini, Tigana, Giresse; Rocheteau (Tusseau), Six
YUGOSLAVIA: Simovic; Radanovic, Zajec, Gudelj, N Stojkovic, Miljus;, Bazdarevic (Katanec), Susic, D Stojkovic; Vujovic (Deveric)
France had secured qualification to the Semis, they just needed to try and win the group. After the debacle of West Germany and Austria in Spain ’82, UEFA made sure that both final group matches kicked off at the same time. France met Yugoslavia in St. Etienne, but surprisingly went behind when Sestic opened the scoring after thirty-two minutes. The Yugoslavs were leading at half-time, and held that the hour when France equalised. Inevitably, it was Platini who got it with his fifth goal of the tournament. Three minutes later, he put the home side in front. With thirteen minutes left, Platini completed his second successive hat-trick and the game was won. Stojkovic later converted a penalty, but it was merely a consolation as France were looking increasingly impressive.
19 June 1984, Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, 36,911
DENMARK (1) 3 (Arnesen 41 pen, Brylle 60, Elkjaer 84)
BELGIUM (2) 2 (Ceulemans 26, Vercauteren 39)
DENMARK Qvist; Nielsen, M Olsen, Busk, Rasmussen (Brylle); Arnesen (Sivebaek), Bertelsen, Lerby; Berggreen, Laudrup, Elkjaer
BELGIUM: Pfaff; Grun, de Wolf, Clijsters; Claesen (Coeck), Vandereycken, Scifo, de Greef, Vercauteren (Voordeckers); Vandenbergh, Ceulemans
Denmark’s demolition of Yugoslavia was an excellent recovery from losing to France. This was likely to be the shoot-out for second place, although goal difference would see Denmark go through with a draw.
Jan Ceulemans gave Belgium the lead midway through the first half. Then as the break was barely five minutes away, they doubled that lead as Frankie Vercauteren put them 2-0 up. The Danes replied soon after when Frank Arnesen converted a penalty. Belgium lead 2-1 at the break, but then the game was levelled on the hour when Kenneth Brylle equalised. Into the last five minutes and the game was still level, but then Preben Elkjaer grabbed a winner for Denmark and they’d made certain of qualification for the Semi-Finals
14 June 1984, Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, 44,707
WEST GERMANY (0) 0
PORTUGAL (0) 0
WEST GERMANY: Schumacher; B Forster, KH Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Rolff (Matthaus), Buchwald (Bommer), Rummenigge, Brehme; Voller, Allofs
PORTUGAL: Bento; Joao Pinto, Pereira, Eurico Gomes, Magalhaes; Carlos Manuel, Pacheco, Frasco (Veloso), Sousa; Chalana, Jordao (Fernando Gomes)
The holders, West Germany failed to win their opening game for the third tournament in the last four. Portugal had not qualified for a major tournament since England in 1966, but had put together an attractive side and they had high hopes for this competition. A 0-0 draw in Strasbourg probably suited them more than it did the Germans
14 June 1984, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, St Etienne, 16,972
ROMANIA (1) 1 (Boloni 35)
SPAIN (1) 1 (Carrasco 22 pen)
ROMANIA: Lung; Rednic, Iorgulescu, Ungureanu, Stefanescu; Coras, Dragnea (Ticleanu), Boloni, Klein; Gabor (Hagi), Camataru
SPAIN: Arconada; Urquiaga, Goicoechea, Maceda, Camacho; Senor, Gordillo, Munoz, Gallego (Julio Alberto); Carrasco, Santillana
In St. Etienne, the two outsiders in the group played out another draw. Spain, who had disappointed in their own World Cup two years earlier, took the lead when Barcelona’s Francisco Carrasco scored from the penalty spot. But ten minutes before half-time, Laszlo Boloni equalised for the Romanians. Neither side could break the other down during the second half and so after the opening games of this group, all four sides were unseparated.
17 June 1984, Stade Felix-Bollaert, Lens, 31,787
WEST GERMANY (1) 2 (Voller 25, 66)
ROMANIA (0) 1 (Coras 46)
WEST GERMANY: Schumacher; B Forster, KH Forster (Buchwald), Stielike, Briegel; Meier (Littbarski), Matthaus, Rummenigge, Brehme; Allofs, Voller
ROMANIA: Lung; Rednic, Stefanescu, Andone, Ungureanu; Dragnea (Ticleanu), Boloni, Klein; Coras, Camataru, Hagi (Zare)
In Lens, the Germans finally made an impression on the tournament. Rudi Voller gave them a first half lead. But a minute into the second period and Marcel Coras equalised for the Romanians. Voller then scored his second in the 66th minute and that proved to be the winner. After both opening matches were drawn, any country winning their next game would be in control of the group. Typically, the Germans had done just enough.
17 June 1984, Stade Velodrome, Marseille, 24,364
PORTUGAL (0) 1 (Sousa 52)
SPAIN (0) 1 (Santillana 73)
PORTUGAL: Bento; Joao Pinto, Pereira, Eurico Gomes, Magalhaes; Carlos Manuel, Frasco, Pacheco, Sousa; Chalana, Jordao
SPAIN: Arconada; Urquiaga (Senor), Goicoechea, Maceda, Camacho; Julio Alberto (Sarabia), Munoz, Gordillo, Gallego; Carrasco, Santillana
After the Germans win in Lens in the afternoon, this ‘local derby’ became vitally important for both sides, and Romania too. After a goalless first half, the deadlock was finally broken by Antonio Sousa put the Portuguese in front within ten minutes of the re-start. They held that lead until the game was heading towards the final quarter-of-an-hour when Carlos Santillana equalised for the Spanish. Both teams seemed to settle for the point, which meant the Romanians could breathe a sigh of relief.
20 June 1984, Parc des Princes, Paris, 47,691
WEST GERMANY (0) 0
SPAIN (0) 1 (Maceda 90)
WEST GERMANY: Schumacher; B Forster, KH Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Meier (Littbarski), Matthaus, Rummenigge, Brehme (Rolff); Allofs, Voller
SPAIN: Arconada; Senor, Goicoechea (Salva), Maceda, Camacho; Julio Alberto (Francisco), Gordillo, Munoz, Gallego; Carrasco, Santillana
West Germany had beaten Spain in a deciding second phase match in the ’82 World Cup. This time at the Parc des Princes, a draw would probably be enough for the Germans. A tight game, saw the Germans have the better of the chances. They hit the woodwork twice and Luis Arconada pulled off a string of fantastic saves in the Spanish goal. The game looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw, which could well have been enough for both countries, when in the 90th minute Senor crossed and Maceda was unmarked in the area and he headed past Schumacher. Spain had pulled off a dramatic win and the Germans were left sweating on the result in Nantes
20 June 1984, Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 24,464
PORTUGAL (0) 1 (Nene 81)
ROMANIA (0) 0
PORTUGAL: Bento; Joao Pinto, Pereira, Eurico Gomes, Magalhaes; Carlos Manuel (Nene), Fraso, Sousa; Chalana (Diamantino), Fernando Gomes, Jordao
ROMANIA: Moraru; Negrila, Stefanescu, Iorgulescu, Ungureanu; Irimescu (Gabor), Rednic, Boloni, Klein; Camataru (Augustin), Coras
Romania’s loss to Germany meant they needed to win this game. Portugal could’ve progressed with a draw, although they were still dependent on Spain’s progress against West Germany. This was a tense match which was still goalless heading into the final ten minutes, when Benfica striker, Nene, scored for Portugal and that proved the only goal of the game. Portugal had won the group, and Spain’s last minute winner saw them go through too. This meant elimination for the holders, West Germany in the most dramatic of circumstances.
23 June 1984, Stade Velodrome, Marseille, 54,848
FRANCE (1) 3 (Domergue 24, 114, Platini 119)
PORTUGAL (0) 2 (Jordao 74, 98)
FRANCE: Bats; Domergue, Bossis, Le Roux, Battiston; Fernandez, Platini, Tigana, Giresse; Lacombe (Ferreri), Six (Bellone)
PORTUGAL: Bento; Joao Pinto, Pereira, Eurico Gomes, Magalhaes; Frasco, Sousa (Nene), Jaime Pacheco; Chalana, Diamantino (Fernando Gomes), Rui Jordao
The Semi-Final matches in this competition were two of the most exciting you could ever see. First up were the French. They’d been irresistible during the group stage as Platini had scored seven of their nine goals. Portugal had also been good to watch and this would’ve been many people’s choice for the Final.
France took twenty-four minutes to break down the Portguese as they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Jean-Francois Domergue spotted a gap in the end of the wall and expertly took advantage to put the ball beyond Bento. France pushed for a second goal to make sure, but Portugal battled like demons. Bento pulled off several good saves, but French keeper, Bats, was also kept busy. Thirteen minutes from time, Chalana crossed for Rui Jordao to loop his header over Bats and into the French goal. This took the game into extra time.
If the French felt robbed by the late equaliser, they were well and truly stunned when Jordao scored his second goal just eight minutes into extra time. Chalana was again involved as Jordao scuffed his shot into the ground and the ball bounced over Bats and into the net. Portugal had taken an unlikely 2-1 lead.
In the space of twenty minutes the French had gone from the brink of a Final appearance they craved, to struggling to live with the weight of expectation. With six minutes to play, Le Roux’s shot was charged down and the ball fell to Platini. He was hauled to the ground before he could get his shot in, but Domergue was first to the loose ball and fired it into the roof of the net. The Marseille crowd erupted. With barely ninety seconds remaining, Jean Tigana took the ball wide on the right, got to the bye-line and crossed into the area. To the joy of the French supporters, it fell to Platini, who calmly controlled the ball and then fired it past Bento. Dramatically, the French had managed to get to a major tournament Final for the first time. You felt a bit sorry for the Portuguese but it was probably the better team who won.
24 June 1984, Stade de Gerland, Lyon, 47,843
SPAIN (0) 1 (Maceda 67)
DENMARK (1) 1 (Lerby 7)
SPAIN: Arconada; Senor, Salva (Urquiaga), Maceda, Camacho; Julio Alberto (Sarabia), Gordillo, Munoz, Gallego; Carrasco, Santillana
DENMARK: Qvist; Sivebaek, M Olsen (Brylle), Busk, Nielsen; Arnesen (J Olsen), Bertelsen, Lerby; Berggreen, Laudrup, Elkjaer
Penalties: SPAIN: Santillana, Senor, Urquiaga, Munoz, Sarabia
DENMARK: Brylle, J Olsen, Laudrup, Lerby, Elkjaer
In Lyon, Denmark took an early lead when Soren Lerby scored after seven minutes. Denmark were expected to win from here as they had been as attractive to watch as the French and many were looking forward to a classic Final. Midway through the second half, it was Maceda again who saved the Spanish as he equalised. The game went into extra time but there was still no winner, so penalties were required.
Santillana was up first for Spain and he scored. Brylle did likewise for Denmark. Senor then put Spain 2-1 up before Jesper Olsen levelled for the Danes. Urquiaga then continued the conversion rate but Laudrup again brought Denmark level. Victor Munoz made it 4-3 to Spain and then Soren Lerby, under pressure, levelled again. Sarabia took the fifth penalty for Spain and he also scored. This meant Denmark’s top striker, Elkjaer needed to score to take the shootout into ‘sudden death’. He didn’t, and so Spain had got to the Final of a tournament they seemed to have done little to deserve, although knocking out West Germany and Denmark could been considered good enough.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 1984
27 June 1984, Parc des Princes, Paris, 47,368
FRANCE (0) 2 (Platini 57, Bellone 90)
SPAIN (0) 0
FRANCE: Bats; Battiston, Le Roux, Bossis, Battiston; Fernandez, Giresse, Platini, Tigana; Lacombe, Bellone
SPAIN: Arconada; Urquiaga, Salva (Roberto), Gallego, Camacho; Senor, Julio Alberto (Sarabia), Francisco, Munoz; Carrasco, Santillana
Over 47, 000 packed into the Parc des Princes and the vociferous home crowd were desperate for a French win. They had waited so many years for a Final appearance in a major competition that the weight of expectation was almost too much. Spain had done remarkably well to get to the Final too. Don’t forget they almost didn’t qualify for the final stages and needed to beat Malta 12-1 to secure a place. The game was a disappointment. Spain did their best to spoil any French attack and the game was goalless at half-time.
As the game reached the hour mark, France were awarded a penalty on the edge of the Spanish area. Platini stepped up, bent it round the wall, but Arconada was there to smother the ball low down by his left-hand post. Arconada was possibly one of the best keepers in Europe at the time, but inexplicably he let the ball roll under him and he turned to see it crawl over the line. This was Platini’s ninth goal of the competition in only his fifth game, and there was a collective sigh of relief around the stadium.
France were then reduced to ten men as Le Roux was sent-off, but the French were much more relaxed by this time. Spain used the offside trap time after time and the French just couldn’t spring it, but as we headed towards time added on, Bellone managed to beat the offside trap as he ran onto a through ball and as Arconada came out, he delicately chipped the ball over him and into the net. The French had done it, they won the European Championships and had played some of the most exciting, attractive football to do it too. Few could argue the best team had won.
This tournament had several notable absentees such as England, Italy and Netherlands. But it was also notable for a lack of crowd trouble too. France were the best team throughout, although many would’ve hoped for another France/Denmark final as they had proved to be the most entertaining to watch. West Germany were disappointing in their defence of their title and Spain were fortunate throughout. The Spanish were nineties minutes from missing out on qualification, needing to beat Malta by eleven clear goals to get there. In the finals, their failure to beat either Romania or Portugal had them on the verge of going out in the group stage as well, before Maceda’s winner against the Germans in the final minute. Then there was the drama of a shootout in the Semi-Finals against Denmark.
There’s no doubt the tournament was better for the addition of a Semi-Final stage after the groups, but with the Final being contested by both group winners, one could argue this was only for the watching public rather than the football.