Josef Emanuel Hubertus "Sepp" Piontek is a former German footballer and manager. Born in Breslau, now Wroclaw, Piontek is a son of a Polish interwar footballer. Piontek started his playing career with VfL Germania Leer. Between 1963 and 1972, the full-back played 203 Bundesliga matches with 14 goals for SV Werder Bremen, adding six caps for the West German national team. After retiring he managed, in Germany, Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC St. Pauli. In 1979, Piontek became Danish national team coach after having managed Haiti, he sat through 115 international matches, leading Denmark to their first World Cup participation in the 1986 tournament. His period as national team coach came just after the introduction of professional players in the national team, under his reign the Denmark team became known as "Danish Dynamite", he quit as Denmark coach in April 1990 after the Danish national team failed to qualify for 1990 FIFA World Cup, coached Turkey from May 1990 to 1993. In the 1990s, Piontek returned to Denmark, where he coached Danish clubs Aalborg BK and Silkeborg IF, subsequently worked with the Greenland national team.
He earns a living as a lecturer. Bundesliga champion: 1964–65 Bundesliga runner-up: 1967–68 DFB-Pokal winner: 1961 Danish national team profile Sepp Piontek at fussballdaten.de Sepp Piontek at WorldFootball.net Sepp Piontek at National-Football-Teams.com
Bulgaria national football team
The Bulgaria national football team is an association football team of Bulgaria. It is fielded by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA; the team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia and Petar Hubchev is the current national manager. Their best achievements are – reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1994, reaching the Summer Olympics final in 1968, quarter-finals at the UEFA Euro 1968, along with winning four Balkan Cup titles. Although defeating strong top ranked teams in many international friendlies throughout the years, the team's strength has fallen. In result, Bulgaria has failed to qualify for any major tournament since 2004; the Bulgarian national football team was formed in 1922. In 1923, The Bulgarian Football Union was formed and the team's first match was held in Vienna on 21 May 1924, which resulted in a 0–0 draw against Austria. Bulgaria had qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, but had to withdraw due to strong tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean at that time.
Despite this unfortunate event, Bulgaria’s power would overtime grow and reach its maximum peak within the next 60 years. Bulgaria's first qualification to a World Cup came 1930 when they qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay; the national team had to cancel their entry due to flight delays caused by tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean. There original group stage opponents were set as Brazil and Bolivia; this was a major disappointment to the national side. Bulgaria’s next entrance to a world cup would come 32 years when they qualified for the 1962 World Cup in Chile. After their disappointment of not being able to compete in their first world cup, the Bulgarian side sadly could not qualify for any major tournament for nearly 30 years. Luck was not on their side as they would narrowly fall short of qualification on numerous occasions; the national team had gone on a streak of finishing 2nd or 3rd in their qualifying groups along with proceeding to the play offs, but in the end, failing to qualify.
Despite their qualifying problems, the national side did manage to defeat many great teams during memorable international friendlies during those years. It seemed as if the only tournaments they managed to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they won four times. After their long stretch of absence, their time of international revival had come; the national side had qualified for the World Cup for the second time, in Chile, 1962. Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup for the second time in its history in 1962 and followed that up with consecutive appearances in 1966, 1970 and 1974; the team, did not have much success and finished in third place in their group three out of the four times. The team qualified for its first UEFA European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with impressive wins over Norway and Portugal before losing to eventual champions and hosts Italy in a two-legged quarter-final. Bulgaria lost the second by a 2-0 score to lose 4-3 on aggregate.
They remained the only team to have defeated the eventual champions, before their surprising quarter-final finish. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, the team won the silver medal, they finished first in Group D by defeating Thailand 7–0, Guatemala 2–1, drawing 2–2 against Czechoslovakia. They advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Israel and the semi-finals by defeating favored hosts Mexico. In the Olympic Final, the team was defeated by Hungary, in what many would say was a hard fought match for both sides. Despite winning the tournament two times in 1931 and 1932, the Bulgaria national team added two more Balkan Cup trophies to their case as they went on to win the tournament in 1973 and 1976. In both 1973 and 1976, Bulgaria had used their previous world cup experience to create a tactical team; this paid off quite well, as they had many decisive victories over Hungary, Turkey, Poland and Romania. In fact, the team won the 1976 Balkan Cup by beating Romania in the two-legged final 1–0 and 3–2.
Bulgaria qualified for their second world cup. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with tough opponents England, power house Argentina and super power house Hungary. Bulgaria opened up their campaign with a narrow 0-1 loss to Argentina. On, misery had struck, as Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 1-6 score to Hungary. Bulgaria's hopes of qualifying were over; the national side impressively drew with future 1966 World Cup Champions England 0-0 and finished fourth in the group with only one point. As 4 years passed, so did another chance of world cup success. Bulgaria qualified for their second straight world cup, they were drawn into an tougher group compared to the previous world cup. They were placed in the group of death with super powers Hungary and Brazil, with Pele at the helm. Bulgaria opened their campaign match with a 0-2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pele and Garrincha. On Bulgaria carried on with a 0-3 loss to Euseibo's Portugal. Bulgaria, once again with no chance of next round qualification, finished their last match with a 1-3 loss to Hungary.
Bulgaria once again finished fourth with zero points in the group. This being Bulgaria’s worst world cup performance yet. After their poor world cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with Scandinavian Giants Norway and Sweden along with legend Euseibo's Portugal. Bulgaria started off well with a 4-2 win over Norway, they would add to their winni
Denmark national football team
The Denmark national football team represents Denmark in association football and is controlled by the Danish Football Association, the governing body for the football clubs which are organized under DBU. Denmark's home ground is Parken Stadium in the Østerbro district of Copenhagen, their head coach is Åge Hareide. Denmark were the winners of the Football at the 1906 Intercalated Games and silver medalists at the 1908 and 1912 Olympics. However, as amateurs who prohibited their internationals from becoming professionals at foreign clubs, Denmark did not qualify for the World Cup until 1986, although they won another Olympic silver in 1960. Since 1983, the team has continuously been visible as a solidly competitive side, with the triumph in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden as its most prominent victory, defeating defending champions the Netherlands in the semi-final and Germany in the final, they won the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup, defeating Argentina in the final. Their best FIFA World Cup result was achieved in 1998, where they narrowly lost 3–2 in a quarter-final against Brazil.
Denmark made the second round in 1986, 2002 and 2018. Apart from the men's senior A-level team, Denmark competes with a women's national team, has teams at various youth levels for both men and women, most prominently the under-21 national team; the A-level team competed in the Olympics until and including the 1988 tournament, whereafter Olympic games count as under-21 national games. In addition to the A-level team and youth teams, Denmark has a special league national team named Ligalandsholdet, with the best Danish footballers from the Nordic leagues. Ligalandsholdet was created in January 1983, has played unofficial games for the national team during the winter break of the Nordic leagues every year since, save for 2005 and 2011. Sometimes the media refer to Ligalandsholdet as Denmark's B-team, as the best Danish footballers selected for the A-team play in leagues outside of the Nordic countries; as such, the national team coach has on several occasions outlined the purpose of having unofficial matches played by Ligalandsholdet as an opportunity of testing new potential upcoming Danish players for the A-team.
The first three editions of the Olympic football event in 1900–1906 had an unofficial status, as the event was not yet open for national football teams to compete, only had limited participation of three or four club teams from a few nations. Denmark had no club team invited in the 1900 Olympics and the 1904 Olympics, but received a special invitation for the 1906 Olympics, to compete against one Greek club team and two club teams from the Ottoman Empire; the team to represent Denmark was compiled of players from the Copenhagen Football Association, they won the event, thereby an unofficial gold medal. Two years in the first official football tournament at the 1908 Olympics, Denmark won a silver medal. At the next Olympics, in 1912, the team again won a silver medal, followed by a golden era from July 1912 until August 1920, with Denmark ranked most of the time as number one in the world by the Elo ranking. Although Denmark figured prominently in the pre-FIFA World Cup era, international success would elude them for years from the first World Cup in 1930 and forward.
Despite the country's ability to produce outstanding football talents, the Danish Football Association only had the ambition to send the national team to play friendly matches and in the regional tournament, the Nordic Championship, from October 1920 until June 1948. When DBU opted to set their sights higher, they allowed the national team to start contesting the Olympics again, promptly resulting in a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympics. After, the team only reached the quarter-final at the 1952 Olympics, with the DBU choosing not to contest the next 1956 Olympics; as football remained an amateur past-time, most of the best Danish footballers moved abroad to make a living, due to DBU enforcing the rule to bar all professionals from the national team, it started to become difficult to assemble a competitive team. Denmark experienced their next revival at the 1960 Olympics with a third set of Olympic silver medals; this was followed by another notable performance at the 1964 European Nations' Cup, where Denmark impressively finished in fourth place.
However, this finish was considered by many as being more the result of a comparatively easy draw rather than a result of a well-playing team. In order for Denmark to qualify for the semi-final, they only had to defeat Malta and Luxembourg. In the semi-final, Denmark fell 0–3 to the Soviet Union lost the bronze match to Hungary; the strict rule of only allowing amateurism at the national team was abolished by the DBU in May 1971, as they had acknowledged this change was needed in order to build a competitive team. In February 1978, when the DBU decided to allow professional football to be introduced in the Danish leagues, the way was at the same time paved for the national team to sign its first sponsorship with the well-known Danish brewery Carlsberg; the new sponsorship enabled the DBU to hire the German Sepp Piontek in July 1979 as the first full-time professional coach of the national team. The full transition of the national team from amateurism to professionalism had now been accomplished, indeed, this would soon lead to a vast improvement in the performances of the team.
According to Rob Smyth and Lars Eriksen, authors of a 2009 book on the "Danish Dynamite" team that would soon emerge: In 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification, Denmark finished with eight points from eight matches, including a 3–1 win against eventual World Cup champions Italy
UEFA European Championship
The UEFA European Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations, determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was called the UEFA European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are referred to in the form "UEFA Euro ". Prior to entering the tournament all teams other than the host nations compete in a qualifying process; the championship winners earn the opportunity to compete in the following FIFA Confederations Cup, but are not obliged to do so. The 15 European Championship tournaments have been won by ten national teams: Germany and Spain each have won three titles, France has two titles, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Denmark and Portugal have won one title each. To date, Spain is the only team in history to have won consecutive titles, doing so in 2008 and 2012.
It is the second most watched football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. The Euro 2012 final was watched by a global audience of around 300 million; the most recent championship, hosted by France in 2016, was won by Portugal, who beat France 1–0 in the final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis after extra time. The final attracted 284 million viewers, the second most viewed game in European tournament history; the idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the French Football Federation's secretary-general Henri Delaunay in 1927, but it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started, three years after Delaunay's death. In honour of Delaunay, the trophy awarded to the champions is named after him; the 1960 tournament, held in France, had four teams competing in the finals out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the Soviet Union. Spain withdrew from its quarter-final match against the USSR because of two political protests. Of the 17 teams that entered the qualifying tournament, notable absentees were England, the Netherlands, West Germany and Italy.
Spain held the next tournament in 1964, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering. The hosts beat the Soviet Union, 2 -- 1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid; the tournament format stayed the same for the 1968 tournament and won by Italy. For the first and only time a match was decided on a coin toss and the final went to a replay, after the match against Yugoslavia finished 1–1. Italy won the replay 2–0. More teams entered a testament to its burgeoning popularity. Belgium hosted the 1972 tournament, which West Germany won, beating the USSR 3–0 in the final, with goals coming from Gerd Müller and Herbert Wimmer at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels; this tournament would provide a taste of things to come, as the German side contained many of the key members of the 1974 FIFA World Cup Champions. The 1976 tournament in Yugoslavia was the last in which only four teams took part in the final tournament, the last in which the hosts had to qualify. Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in the newly introduced penalty shootout.
After seven successful conversions, Uli Hoeneß missed, leaving Czechoslovakian Antonín Panenka with the opportunity to score and win the tournament. An "audacious" chipped shot, described by UEFA as "perhaps the most famous spot kick of all time" secured the victory as Czechoslovakia won 5–3 on penalties; the competition was expanded to eight teams in the 1980 tournament, again hosted by Italy. It involved a group stage, with the winners of the groups going on to contest the final, the runners-up playing in the third place play-off. West Germany won their second European title by beating Belgium 2–1, with two goals scored by Horst Hrubesch at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Horst Hrubesch scored early in the first half before René Vandereycken equalised for Belgium with a penalty in the second half. With two minutes remaining, Hrubesch headed the winner for West Germany from a Karl-Heinz Rummenigge corner. France won their first major title at home in the 1984 tournament, with their captain Michel Platini scoring 9 goals in just 5 games, including the opening goal in the final, in which they beat Spain 2–0.
The format changed, with the top two teams in each group going through to a semi-final stage, instead of the winners of each group going straight into the final. The third place play-off was abolished. West Germany hosted UEFA Euro 1988, but lost 2–1 to the Netherlands, their traditional rivals, in the semi-finals, which sparked vigorous celebrations in the Netherlands; the Netherlands went on to win the tournament in a rematch of their first game of the group stage, beating the USSR 2–0 at the Olympia Stadion in Munich, a match in which Marco van Basten scored one of the most memorable goals in football history, a spectacular volley over the keeper from the right wing. UEFA Euro 1992 was held in Sweden, was won by Denmark, who were only in the finals because UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia to participate as some of the states constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were at war with each other; the Danes beat holders the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals defeated world champion Germany 2–0.
This was the first tournament in which a unified Germany took part a
FC Basel 1893 known as FC Basel, FCB, or just Basel, is a Swiss football club based in Basel. Formed in 1893, the club has been Swiss national champions 20 times, Swiss Cup winners 12 times, Swiss League Cup winners once. Basel have competed in European competitions every season since 1999–2000, they have qualified for the Group Stages of the Champions League more times than any other Swiss club – a total of seven times – and are the only Swiss club to have qualified to the Group Stages directly. Since 2001 the club has played its home games at St. Jakob-Park, built on the site of their previous home, St. Jakob Stadium, their home colours are red and blue, leading to a nickname of "RotBlau". FC Basel was started by an advertisement placed by Roland Geldner in the 12 November 1893 edition of the Basler national newspaper, requesting that a football team be formed and that anyone who wished to join should meet up the following Wednesday at 8:15 in the restaurant Schuhmachern-Zunft. Eleven men attended the meeting from the academic community, founding Fussball Club Basel on 15 November 1893.
The club colours from the first day on were blue. Basel's first game was on 26 November 1893, an internal match between two ad hoc FCB teams. Two weeks FCB had their first official appearance in a game against a team formed by students from the high school gymnastic club. FCB won 2–0. Basel continued to only play friendly matches, until they joined the second Serie A championship organized by the Swiss Football Association; the Serie A was divided into an east, a central and a west group. The winners of each group qualified for the finals. Basel did not qualify for the finals and they did not compete in the championship the following season; the Serie A 1900 -- 01 was divided into an east and a west group. Basel were with three teams from Zürich and two other teams from Basel, Old Boys and Fortuna Basel in the west group. Basel ended the season with two draws and six defeats in 5th position in the group. Basel did not have much of an early footballing success, waiting 40 years before winning their first trophy.
At the beginning of the 1932–33 season, the Austrian ex-international footballer Karl Kurz took over as club trainer. There were eight teams in Group 1 of the 1932–33 Nationalliga. Basel finished the season with seven victories from 14 games; the play-off game between the second placed teams from both groups was held in Basel at the Stadion Rankhof, but the home team lost 3–4 to Servette FC Genève. In the Swiss Cup, Basel advanced to the final, played in the Hardturm in Zürich. Basel won 4–3 and thus their first national title, defeating arch-rivals and reigning cup-holders Grasshoppers in what is still considered to be one of the best cup finals in Swiss football history. During the following five seasons, Basel were positioned towards the middle of the Nationliga, not having much to do with the championship not having to worry about relegation, but the 1938–39 Nationalliga did not mean well with them. With just five wins and with twelve defeats, they finished in the last position in the league table and were relegated.
The 1941–42 season was Basel's third season in the 1st League after relegation. Eugen Rupf was player-coach for his second year. Basel finished their season as winners of group East. In the play-offs against group West winners Bern, the away tie ending with a goalless draw and Basel won their home tie 3–1 to achieve Promotion. In the Swiss Cup five home games, a coin toss in the quarter-final and a replay in the semi-final was needed to qualify for the final; the final against Grasshoppers ended goalless after extra time and a replay was required here too. In the replay – played at the Wankdorf Stadion against the Nationalliga champions – Basel led at half-time through two goals by Fritz Schmidlin, but two goals from Grubenmann a third from Neukom gave Grasshoppers a 3–2 victory. After just three seasons in the top flight of Swiss football, Basel suffered relegation again, but achieved immediate re-promotion in the 1944–45 season. Anton Schall, another Austrian ex-international, became the club's new trainer.
Basel finished the Nationalliga A season in fourth position, with 12 victories from 26 games, scoring a total of 60 goals. Basel won the cup for the second time as they beat Lausanne Sports 3–0 in the final at the Stadion Neufeld in Bern. Paul Stöcklin scored Bader scored the other one. At the beginning of the 1952–53 season, René Bader took over the job as club trainer from Ernst Hufschmid, who had acted as trainer the previous five years. Bader acted as Willy Dürr was his assistant. Basel ended the season four points ahead of BSC Young Boys. Basel won 17 of the 26 games, losing only once, they scored 72 goals conceding 38. Josef Hügi was the team's top league goal scorer; the Czechoslovakian manager Jiří Sobotka was the club manager at this time, he taken the job over from Jenő Vincze the year before. Basel finished the championship in sixth position. Heinz Blumer was Basel's top scorer this season with 16 goals, Karl Odermatt their second best goal scorer with 14; the Wankdorf Stadium hosted the Swiss Cup final on 15 April 1963, Basel played against favourites Grasshoppers.
Two goals after half-time, one by Heinz Blumer and the second from Otto Ludwig, gave Basel a 2–0 victory and their third Cup win in their history. Peter Füri played in all games save the final due to an illness. On 26 December 1964 FCB played against G
Denmark the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, is bordered to the south by Germany; the Kingdom of Denmark comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand and the North Jutlandic Island; the islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2, land area of 42,394 km2, the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2, a population of 5.8 million. The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Denmark and Norway were ruled together under one sovereign ruler in the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523.
The areas of Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until Denmark -- Norway. Beginning in the 17th century, there were several devastating wars with the Swedish Empire, ending with large cessions of territory to Sweden. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to Sweden, while Denmark kept the Faroe Islands and Iceland. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a developed mixed economy; the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy, which had begun in 1660.
It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy. The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city, main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948. Denmark negotiated certain opt-outs, it is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, the United Nations. Denmark is considered to be one of the most economically and developed countries in the world. Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks in some metrics of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance and human development; the country ranks as having the world's highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, is among the countries with the lowest perceived levels of corruption in the world, the eleventh-most developed in the world, has one of the world's highest per capita incomes, one of the world's highest personal income tax rates.
The etymology of the word Denmark, the relationship between Danes and Denmark and the unifying of Denmark as one kingdom, is a subject which attracts debate. This is centered on the prefix "Dan" and whether it refers to the Dani or a historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the -"mark" ending. Most handbooks derive the first part of the word, the name of the people, from a word meaning "flat land", related to German Tenne "threshing floor", English den "cave"; the -mark is believed to mean woodland or borderland, with probable references to the border forests in south Schleswig. The first recorded use of the word Danmark within Denmark itself is found on the two Jelling stones, which are runestones believed to have been erected by Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth; the larger stone of the two is popularly cited as Denmark's "baptismal certificate", though both use the word "Denmark", in the form of accusative ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ tanmaurk on the large stone, genitive ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᚱ "tanmarkar" on the small stone.
The inhabitants of Denmark are there called "Danes", in the accusative. The earliest archaeological findings in Denmark date back to the Eem interglacial period from 130,000–110,000 BC. Denmark has been inhabited since around 12,500 BC and agriculture has been evident since 3900 BC; the Nordic Bronze Age in Denmark was marked by burial mounds, which left an abundance of findings including lurs and the Sun Chariot. During the Pre-Roman Iron Age, native groups began migrating south, the first tribal Danes came to the country between the Pre-Roman and the Germanic Iron Age, in the Roman Iron Age; the Roman provinces maintained trade routes and relations with native tribes in Denmark, Roman coins have been found in Denmark. Evidence of strong Celtic cultural influence dates from this period in Denmark and much of North-West Europe and is among other things reflected in the finding of the Gundestrup cauldron; the tribal Danes came from the east Danish islands and Scania and spoke an early form of North Germanic.
Historians believe that before their arrival, most of Jutland and the nearest islands were settled by tribal J
UEFA Euro 1988
The 1988 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was held in West Germany between 10 and 25 June 1988. It was the eighth European Football Championship, held every four years and supported by UEFA; the tournament crowned the Netherlands as European champions for the first time. Euro 88 was a rare instance of a major football tournament ending without a single sending-off or goalless draw, nor any knockout matches going to extra time or penalties. West Germany won the right to host the tournament with five votes ahead of a joint bid from Norway and Denmark, who gained 1 vote, a bid from England; because the Eastern Bloc disagreed that West Berlin was part of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Football Association ruled out playing Championship matches in West Berlin. This secured the participation of Eastern European members of UEFA. In the 1974 FIFA World Cup, West Berlin had hosted three games; as a compromise, Berlin Olympic Stadium did host a Four Nations Tournament in 1988, with West Germany playing against the Soviet Union and Sweden.
The first group pitted two pre-tournament favourites West Germany and Italy together, along with Spain and Denmark. The Italians had not played in the competition finals since the 1980 edition, which they hosted and West Germany won. Spain and Denmark contested the second semi-final of the 1984 edition. Spain prevailed on penalty-kicks, but lost the final to hosts, France who failed to qualify in 1988; the Germans and Italians played out the opening game. This game was contested. Roberto Mancini capitalised on a defensive error on the left-hand side of the German goal and the striker squeezed in a shot from a tight angle. Just three minutes Italy's goalkeeper, Walter Zenga was penalized for taking more than four steps with the ball and Andreas Brehme scored the resulting free-kick. Both teams settled for a 1–1 draw. Spain defeated Denmark again, this time 3–2. Míchel opened the scoring after Michael Laudrup equalised twenty minutes later. Spain dominated the next hour and Emilio Butragueño and Rafael Gordillo put the Spanish 3–1 to the good.
A late surge saw Flemming Povlsen reduce the score line, but was not enough for the Danes, who now needed to win both their remaining games to be certain of a place in the semi-finals. In the remaining games the West Germans swept aside the Danes and Spanish. Jürgen Klinsmann and Olaf Thon scored to dispatch the former 2–0 while two goals from Rudi Völler was enough to beat Spain 2–0; the second goal was notable. Lothar Matthäus ran forty yards into the Spanish penalty box before back-heeling the ball for the oncoming Völler, following up his run, to strike the ball with the outside of his foot and into the corner of the goal; the Italians won a difficult match against the Spanish 1–0, courtesy of a goal from Gianluca Vialli, a low cross-shot to the net on 73 minutes. In the last games, against an eliminated Denmark, the Italians prevailed by two goals to nil; the second group witnessed a surprising set of results. In the opening game, one of the pre-tournament favourites England lost 0–1 to Ireland.
Ray Houghton scored a looping header after six minutes after the English defence failed to clear a cross. The English applied strong pressure. Gary Lineker was unusually sluggish, hitting the cross bar. In the other opening game, the Soviet Union defeated the Netherlands 1–0 through a Vasyl Rats goal, despite the Dutch dominating for long periods. England met the Netherlands in Düsseldorf. England started with Lineker hitting a post and Glenn Hoddle striking the post with a free-kick; the English defence, weakened by the absence of Terry Butcher, conceded the first of three goals to Marco van Basten on 44 minutes. Van Basten turned Butcher's replacement Tony Adams and beat Peter Shilton – playing his 100th game for England – to give his side a 1–0 lead. England rallied after the break. Lineker and Bryan Robson exchanged a kick one-two pass allowing Robson to burst into the box and lift the ball over Hans van Breukelen after 53 minutes; the score remained when Van Basten turned Tony Adams inside out to finish from 18 yards on 71 minutes.
The striker pounced from close-range after a corner to seal a 3–1 win four minutes later. The Irish and Soviets led the group after two games through a 1–1 draw in Hanover. Ronnie Whelan scored a spectacular left foot volley from 18 yards to put the Irish into the lead. Oleh Protasov equalised with a low shot as the Soviet exerted late pressure. Needing to defeat the Irish to progress, the Dutch won the game 1–0 through a late Wim Kieft goal; the ball deflected into his path and he delivered a looping header which spun into the right corner of the Irish net with nine minutes remaining just after Paul McGrath hit a Dutch post with a header. In the other game the Soviets soundly thrashed England. A mistake from Hoddle allowed Sergei Aleinikov to score after three minutes. Adams equalised and England had chances to go ahead, but a goal before half time and late in the game assured the Soviet Union would finish in first place in the group; the first semi-final was significant as rivals. It was only the third time.
The game was tight, the West Germans broke the deadlock on 55 minutes with a Matthäus penalty after a foul on Klinsmann. The lead was held for 20 minutes. Ronald Koeman converted the spot-kick to level the match. With the match headed for extra time a through ball caught the Germans out and Va