Czechoslovakia won 5-3 on penalties
The first three matches had all gone to extra time, two of them featuring recoveries from losing positions. Impossible to believe it could happen again - so of course it did.
The champions made another bad start. Berti Vogts, of all people, gave the ball away close to his own penalty area, Koloman Gögh drew a fine save from Sepp Maier, Zdenek Nehoda crossed from the right, and Ján Svehlík came from deep to drive the ball home. Although the Germans were moving fluently through midfield, they conceded another goal when Georg Schwarzenbeck fouled Gögh, the Kaiser headed Marián Masny´s free kick out to the left, and Karol Dobias´ angled shot sneaked low past Maier.
The Germans got the quick reply they needed when Erich Beer was fouled as he sent Rainer Bonhof clear on the right, the referee let play continue, and the cross found Dieter Müller ludicrously unmarked; an acrobatic volley did the rest. With Franz Beckenbauer again making his long runs from deep, the Germans threatened to overrun their opponents, only to find Ivo Viktor in the form of his life.
Shorter than most international goalkeepers and now 34, he made save after important save, pushing away Heinz Flohe´s drive and one of Bonhof´s trademark free-kicks - enjoying a little luck when a shot bobbled off a post and back into his arms. With only seconds left, it looked as if he´d done enough. Then he made his one mistake of the night.
When Bonhof´s corner came in from the German left, Viktor hesitated, made a feeble attempt at a punch, and was beaten to the ball by Bernd Hölzenbein, who headed in at the near post as the keeper fell back on the ground in despair. Extra time, followed by the first penalty shoot-out to decide a major final between national teams.
This was as dramatic as anything that had happened all week. The first seven kicks went in (Bonhof´s off a post) before Uli Hoeness stepped up. Reluctantly, it is said.
Not usually mentioned in the same breath as Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller, Hoeness was nevertheless a major player for club (Bayern) and country, a dynamic runner from midfield who scored two scintillating goals in the 1974 European Champion Clubs´ Cup final. As a penalty taker he wasn´t always so successful, scoring one and missing one in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.
Here he elected to go for power. "I decided to give him a heavy shot, to try to put it in one corner. The ball was over the bar and I think they found it a year ago. They had a war and the stadium was destroyed and they found the ball." Chiefly due to injury (he was still only 24), he never played for the Federal Republic of Germany again.
Antonín Panenka, taking the next kick, was either perversely cool under pressure or suffered a brainstorm, producing the weirdest little chip into the middle of the goal as Maier dived frantically to his left. The ball had barely enough puff to reach the net, but it was enough to give Czechoslovakia their first major title (they had walked off during the Olympic final 56 years earlier). Deservedly too, having overcome the four strongest teams in the competition - though it was hard not to feel for the Germans, who lost the title without losing the match, especially the magisterial Beckenbauer, who would have chosen another ending to his 100th international.
European football was beginning to come down from its greatest heights. Neither the Germans nor Dutch were the teams they had been in 1974, and Yugoslavia and the new champions weren´t quite in that class. But if this was a kind of last hurrah for a golden age, it was a glorious one, a carnival of goals and incident and remarkable comebacks, with an additional half-hour thrown in every time. There´s never been a working week like it.
Ivo Viktor, Ján Pivarník, Jozef Capkovic, Koloman Gögh, Anton Ondrus (c), Marián Masny, Antonín Panenka, Jozef Móder, Zdenek Nehoda, Karol Dobias [Frantisek Vesely 94], Ján Svehlík [Ladislav Jurkemik 79].
Coach: Václav Jezek
Josef ´Sepp´ Maier, Hans-Hubert ´Berti´ Vogts, Bernard Dietz, Herbert Wimmer [Heinz Flohe 46], Georg Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer (c), Uli Hoeness, Rainer Bonhof, Dieter Müller, Erich Beer [Hans Bongartz 79], Bernd Hölzenbein.
Coach: Helmut Schön.
Masny 1-0, Bonhof 1-1, Nehoda 2-1, Flohe 2-2, Ondrus 3-2, Bongartz 3-3, Jurkemik 4-3, Hoeness (shot over) 4-3, Panenka 5-3.