Henri Delaunay was already haunted by the idea of creating a continental competition for all European nations in the 1920s. By then, the Copa América had despaired in South American football and the Central European International Cup was held on the old continent. However, in this tournament, they formed participants in Central European teams such as Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia.
Despite many attempts and impetus that the French director put into it, his proposal did not come to fruition until almost three decades later. UEFA was founded in June 1954 and he was appointed general secretary, a position in which he remained until he died from an incurable disease in 1955 at the age of 72. His son Pierre succeeded him and with him the idea of the Eurocopa will officially see the light of day with the first edition held in 1960 and the final phase held in France. UEFA, being the great promoter of the idea of the tournament, baptized the title awarded as the Henri Delaunay Trophy in his honor.
Like any competition that begins, the beginnings were not easy and for the organization it was hard to see how powerful European teams of the level of Italy, Federal Germany, Sweden or England decided not to play the 1960 Euro Cup. With these casualties the fight for the title left more open although among the favorites were France, Spain, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the USSR.
The Soviet team in the Eurocup
The quarterfinalist USSR in the last World Cup in Sweden in 1958 had a giant under the sticks like Lev Yashin in goal and was led by Gavriil Kachalin, a former footballer for Dinamo Moscow who, as Soviet coach, won gold at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 Upstairs, on the attack front, he also accumulated a lot of overflow, quality and eye for goal. The Soviets played a very mechanized but effective game. The western press wrote that his football was laboratory, programmed and scientific. Few boasts and hardly any spontaneity. In the predominant force and physique coupled with the precision displayed in the offensive zone. In that plot were Valentin Ivanov, Valentin Bubukin and the young people Slava Metreveli, Viktor Ponedelnik and Mikhail Meshki who were no more than 24 years old.
Metreveli of the Moscow Torpedo started from the right wing, a magnificent devil on the band due to his speed, his quality, his control of the ball, his dribbling and his daring to face. Inside right Ivanov, "one-club men" of Torpedo Moscow, was an extraordinary footballer and is considered one of the best in the history of his country. An unpredictable genius, he made unexpected plays and managed to see holes where there were none. An exceptional playmaker, with great clarity in the pass and a perfect execution. SKA Rostov forward Ponedelnik does not have great speed but he does have good technique and enormous power. He placed himself very well in the area and looked for the shot quickly and without any kind of decorations. To his left, Bubukin from Lokomotiv Moscow was another good playmaker but somewhat slow who made up for this problem with his mental agility and technique. He was able to continue playing football after an incident in Indonesia in 1950 in which he was clinically dead after being hit by the ball in a friendly match with his club. Lastly, Meshki from Dinamo Tblisi plays the role of left winger, standing out above all for his dazzling, beautiful, unbalancing and creative style. In this way he earned the nickname of the "Georgian Garrincha". Lastly, Meshki from Dinamo Tblisi plays the role of left winger, standing out above all for his dazzling, beautiful, unbalancing and creative style. In this way he earned the nickname of the "Georgian Garrincha". Lastly, Meshki from Dinamo Tblisi plays the role of left winger, standing out above all for his dazzling, beautiful, unbalancing and creative style. In this way he earned the nickname of the "Georgian Garrincha".
Metreveli, Ivanov, Ponedelnik, Bubukin and Meskhi.
This legendary striker made her debut a couple of months before the Euro Cup in a friendly against Poland. In that duel Kachalin already discovered an attack that could bring enormous joy to the country. The Poles suffered seven goals in Moscow, three from Ponedelnik, two from Ivanov and one from Bubukin and Metreveli. But it was in the semifinals (after leaving Hungary on the road in the first round and Spain in the quarterfinals) of the Euro against Czechoslovakia that would be world runner-up two years later when the quintet established itself in the national team. Metreveli and Meshki from the wings were unstoppable for their markers Safranek and Novak and that's where the USSR began to win the match. The goals put pressure on Ivanov's stamp with a first goal by beating Schrojf underhand and the second by dribbling past the goalkeeper and shooting into an empty goal,
In the final held in the Parc des Princes they met Yugoslavia, an extraordinary team in which figures such as Dragoslav Šekularac, Milan Galić, Dražan Jerković or Fahrudin Jusufi played and who was the favorite for analysts. However, on the pitch they did not contain the Soviet force. The team took the lead on the scoreboard and the Soviet coach had to trust his leader to turn the result around. After the break, the USSR overwhelmed the Balkans and Metreveli took advantage of a rebound from goalkeeper Vidinic from Ivanov's shot to equalize. Despite the Soviet attacks and after wasting several clear chances to win in regulation time, the match went into extra time. And it was there where the "Georgian Garrincha" emerged in an excellent play on the wing to deepen,
The offensive quintet consolidated two more years in the national team and was key to the classification of their team to the World Cup in Chile. His best performance came in the double confrontation against Norway. In Moscow they won 5-2 with goals from Bubukin twice and Metreveli, Ponedelnik and Meshki once. For his part in the Norwegian capital, he flew to win the match with the targets from both wingers and the center forward.
Soviet captain collects the trophy
Written by Alberto Cosin
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