July 10, 2019


On this day, 10 July 1960 (Exactly 59 years ago), the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia to win the inaugural UEFA European Championship at the Parc des Princes, Paris, France

Lev Yashin provided the defiance and Viktor Ponedelnik the extra-time winner as the Soviet Union won 2-1 to become the first team to lift the Henri Delaunay Cup.

It is probably too simplistic to say that Soviet muscle overcame Yugoslavia’s flair, but it is not too far off the truth. In the first half, Yugoslavia’s touch and tactical cleverness gave them the edge on a slippery pitch, Dragoslav Sekularac and Bora Kostic keeping up their good work of the semi-final.

Their goal though was scrappy: sources vary as to whether Milan Galic got his head or some other part of his anatomy to a cross-cum-shot by Drazen Jerkovic. The ball apparently went in off Igor Netto, but the goal was credited to Galic, who was in the process of scoring in ten consecutive internationals, equalling a world record that still stands

After that, the USSR were grateful for Lev Yashin’s excellence in goal. Later a star of the 1966 FIFA World Cup, he was already 30 now and at his peak, making a series of fine saves, especially from some thunderous free kicks by Kostic.

The contrast with Yugoslavia’s goalkeeper, usually so reliable himself, was graphically illustrated early in the second half when Blagoje Vidinic dropped Valentin Bubukin’s long shot for Slava Metreveli to equalise.

Three minutes from time, it was Yugoslavia’s turn to be relieved when Valentin Ivanov missed an easy chance – only for Jerkovic to return the compliment in extra time, letting the ball skid under his foot right on the goal line.

Then Victor Ponedelnik headed in a cross and strength won the day (some of the Yugoslavs were described as physically too weak, a sign of the way football was going). They took some compensation from winning the Olympic title later in the year, after finishing runners-up three times in a row.

Here the Soviets were rather uninspiring winners but deserved their success for their fitness and determination. And for taking the new competition more seriously than some.

USSR: Yashin, Chokheli, Maslyonkin, Krutikov, Voinov, Netto (c), Metreveli, Ivanov, Ponedelnik, Bubukin, Meshki.

Coach: Gavril Katchalin

Yugoslavia: Blagoje Vidinic, Durkovic, Jusufi, Zanetic, Jovan Miladinovic, Perusic, Jerkovic, Sekularac, Galic, Zeljko Matus, Kostic (c).

Coach: Aleksandar Tirnanic, with Ljubomir Lovric and Dragomir Nikolic

On this day 10 July 2016 (Exactly 3 years ago) Portugal beat France 1-0 after extra time to lift their first major trophy.

The team that drew all three of their group games, that won only once inside 90 minutes all tournament, beat hosts France after extra time at Saint-Denis to get their hands on their first major trophy.

They did it without the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo too, their captain forced off early in the first half through injury.

Fernando Santos’s side clung on at times but, with Ronaldo orchestrating things from the technical area as much as their coach by the end, they eventually provided the one moment of magic required. Éder’s fizzing 20-metre strike in the second half of extra time was just too good.

Such a scenario looked impossible after eight minutes, Ronaldo initially continuing after a heavy collision with Dimitri Payet before eventually being replaced. There were tears and a standing ovation from all corners as he was taken off. All the talk, all the analysis, all the predictions – out the window. Off went 61 international goals.

One man chasing only his second was Moussa Sissoko. The France midfielder was rampant and threatened to break the deadlock soon after Ronaldo’s departure yet his shot was saved.

Rui Patrício had earlier thwarted Antoine Griezmann, athletically tipping away the in-form forward’s looping header. Portugal offered little in those opening exchanges, three passes straight out of play encouraging the hosts.

Kingsley Coman came on for Payet inside the hour and soon teed up Griezmann for surely the chance of the game – Les Bleus’ No7 was unmarked but headed over. Though Olivier Giroud briefly got in on the act with a low effort, Rui Patrício was again up to the task. He had to be sharper still to keep out Sissoko’s thumping strike later in the half.

Only once, well into added time, was the Portugal keeper beaten. Substitute André-Pierre Gignac turned in the box and scuffed a shot into the ground which bobbled towards the net only to bounce agonisingly back off a post.

Hugo Lloris had been far less employed in regulation time, only really called into action to claw away Nani’s miscued cross and then hold Ricardo Quaresma’s acrobatic attempt from the rebound. Though he subsequently dealt with Éder’s header, the French captain was rescued by the crossbar when Raphael Guerreiro fired in a free-kick and, with 109 minutes on the clock, could do nothing to keep out the sensational winner.

Man of the Match: Pepe (Portugal)
Pepe missed the semi-final with a thigh injury but returned in style, keeping adidas Golden Boot winner Griezmann as quiet as could have been hoped. “We’ve written a brilliant page in the story of Portuguese football,” said the centre-back

All without Ronaldo
The man Portugal’s hopes apparently rested on was out of action after less than ten minutes. To watch him battle on for a quarter of an hour was both desperately sad and hugely admirable. It was indicative of his relentless drive to have an impact – a desire that is heightened on the big occasion. For him then to cajole his players before extra time and gesticulate desperately throughout the additional 30 minutes was testimony to his team spirit. He was, if only briefly, a coach as well as a star player.

On this day 10 July 1999 (Exactly 20 years ago) The USA Women’s National Team ( USWNT) beat China on penalties after extra time to win their second FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy.

The final FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament of the 20th century launched a new era of success for women’s football and was undoubtedly a milestone in the history of women’s sports.

For three solid weeks, 320 of the best female football players in the world gathered across the United States to stage an event of unprecedented proportions. The tournament was played in huge stadiums for the first time, and new heights were reached for attendance, media coverage and television audiences.

Spectator figures topped 660,000, the media numbered near 2,500. All 32 games were broadcast live on national television, and an estimated 40 million viewers in the U.S. alone watched the American hosts capture their second World Cup title, thrilling a nation and becoming the story of the year.

“This World Cup was a world-class, world-caliber, stand-alone event for women like none other,” said Marla Messing, CEO of the U.S. organizing committee. “In a small way, we were all a part of history.”

On 10 July 1999, a world women’s sporting record attendance of 90,185 sun-baked fans, including former President Bill Clinton, squeezed into the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, to witness the home side pull out a breathtaking 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory over China in the Final.

“The whole country is caught up,” said former U.S. President Clinton. “It’s going to have a bigger impact than people ever realise, and it will have a far-reaching impact not only in the United States but also in other countries.”

When USA defender Brandi Chastain blasted the team’s fifth penalty kick past China PR goalkeeper Gao Hong after 120 minutes, including 30 minutes of extra time, the Americans put a fitting exclamation point on a summer of football that had swept the nation off its feet. Chastain fell to her knees like Bjorn Borg after winning Wimbledon and whipped off her jersey in celebration, waving it above her head to the thundering crowd.

“Momentary insanity, nothing more, nothing less,” Chastain said afterwards. “I wasn’t thinking about anything. I thought ‘My God, this is the greatest moment of my life on the soccer field’.”

Fighting their way into the final with five victories, which included a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Germany in the quarter-final and a nail-biting 2-0 victory over Brazil in the semi-final, USA dominated midfield play and controlled possession, but was unable to break down a spirited China defence.

China had entered the final with the tournament’s most potent attack outscoring their opponents 19-2, but a pressing American defence prevented the China midfielders from giving quick support to their forwards. China nearly spoiled the American party in the golden-goal overtime. After taking just two shots on goal in the game’s regulation 90 minutes, they fired three in the 30-minute extra time, including one that should have been decisive: defender Fan Yunjie drove a header off a corner kick from Liu Ying toward an open net – a certain goal, it seemed – but USA midfielder Kristine Lilly jumped high to head a shot clear of the goal.

Xie Huilin and Qui Haiyan converted the first two penalty kicks for China, but on China’s third shot, Stars and Stripes’ goalkeeper Briana Scurry dived left to block Liu Ying’s kick. After Carla Overbeck, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm converted for the Americans, Brandi Chastain slammed home the tournament-winning penalty kick. Ironically, it was the second time that a FIFA World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl had ended on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie. In the 1994 men’s decider, Brazil beat Italy in the same manner.

On this day 10 July 2018 (Exactly a year ago) Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus, becoming one of the four most expensive players of all time.

A deal worth 112m euros (£99.2m) was reached between the two clubs that has seen the Portuguese sign a four-year deal with the Italian champions.

Ronaldo, then 33, won four Champions League titles in his nine years at Real.

“The time has come to open a new stage in my life, that’s why I asked the club to accept transferring me,” he said.

On this day 10 July 2016 (Exactly 3 years ago) Britain’s Andy Murray became Wimbledon champion for the second time with a superb performance against Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic in the final.

The Scot, then 29, dismantled the Raonic serve in a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) victory to repeat his triumph of 2013 and claim a third Grand Slam title.

Murray is the first British man to win multiple Wimbledon singles titles since Fred Perry in 1935.

“I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again,” said Murray.

Murray gave a famously tearful speech after losing his first Wimbledon final against Roger Federer in 2012.

Twelve months later, he finally ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a male champion – and the chance to see him repeat the feat attracted huge attention.

Spectators queued overnight just to grab a spot on Henman Hill, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and former champions Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker were among those watching from the Royal Box.

“This is the most important tournament for me every year,” added an emotional Murray.

“I’ve had some great moments here, but also some tough losses. The win feels extra special because of the tough losses.”



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