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European Football Championship 1968

Final Replay - 10 June 1968

Italy (2) 2
Riva 12, Anastasi 31
Yugoslavia (0) 0
Olimpico, Rome � 32,886 Jos� Mar�a Ortiz de Mendibil (SPA)

Italy brought back Alessandro Mazzola, brought in Luigi Riva, Roberto Rosato, the rugged Alessandro Salvadore and Giancarlo De Sisti - and suddenly dominated the entire match. The use of three stopper centre-halves in various positions sounds too defensive but simply made them secure. Elsewhere, Ferruccio Valcareggi�s changes showed his keenness to match the Yugoslavs for speed - just when they did not have any left. Two hard matches, one going into extra time, had sapped them - and they did not have Italy�s strength in depth. Any country that could call up Mazzola and Riva as replacements deserved to be regarded as the best in Europe.

Italy�s new approach was apparent straight from the kick-off, Mazzola beating two men before misplacing his pass inside. This kind of untidiness permeated their play throughout, but emphasised the pace at which they were determined to play. And it was not simply a case of work-rate overcoming a more skilful team: some of the Italians� touches matched anything on the other side, Mazzola and Riva pushing the ball between opponents� legs.

Riva�s recall made all the difference. Returning from a broken leg (not for the first time), he exemplified the whole team: sometimes raw, sometimes clever, always in your face. He should have at least a hat-trick here, putting one header just wide, forcing a save with another when he should have scored, and volleying over an open goal when Ilija Pantelic let a high ball slip through his fingers behind him. When Riva did score, it was with his famous left foot, after Angelo Domenghini�s poorly hit shot turned into a through-ball. Marginally but definitely onside, Riva turned and hit it low across the keeper. Firecrackers all round.

Meanwhile Pietro Anastasi was having a better game this time, all speed and sharpness. Chesting the ball down after Riva had won it in the air, he volleyed the ball just wide as he fell. Riva gave him some grief for the miss (it was still 0-0 at the time) but joined in the celebrations when Anastasi flipped up De Sisti�s angled pass and volleyed in splendidly from the edge of the area.

That was already game set and match, because there was nothing coming through from the opposition. Dragan Dzajic was a major disappointment; Tarcisio Burgnich, one of the great right-backs, had no problems this time. Mirsad Fazlagic overlapped well as usual, but Jovan Acimovic did little and the balding Idriz Hosic, the one replacement, was never capped again.

In the second half, Riva missed his chances and Dino Zoff had to make one scrambling save, but it was all academic. Reservations remained about that toss of a coin and another host nation lifting the trophy, and if this was the most thrustful and talented team to have won the Championship so far, it was a distinction that lasted only until the next one.

ITALY
Zoff, Burgnich, Facchetti (c), Sandro Salvadore, Guarneri, Roberto Rosato, Domenghini, Mazzola, Anastasi, Giancarlo 'Picchio' De Sisti, Luigi Riva.
Coach: Ferruccio Valcareggi

YUGOSLAVIA
Pantelic, Fazlagic (c), Damjanovic, Pavlovic, Paunovic, Holcer, Idriz Hosic, Trivic, Musemic, Acimovic, Dzajic.
Coach: Rajko Mitic

EURO 96
EURO 92
EURO 88
EURO 84
EURO 80
EURO 76
EURO 72
EURO 68
EURO 64
EURO 60

TOURNAMENT
IN PICTURES
FINAL REPLAY
Italy 2-0 Yugo
FINAL
Italy 1-1 Yugo
3rd PLAY OFF
England 2-0 USSR
SEMI-FINAL
Italy 0-0 USSR
Yugo. 1-0 Eng
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