european football championship 1976

The 1976 European Championship was the fifth UEFA European Championships, it was held in Yugoslavia between 16 June and 20 June 1976. The tournament was won by Czechoslovakia who claimed their first title by defeating West Germany 5-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra time in the final at Red Star Stadium, Belgrade.


Of UEFA's then 34 members Albania and Liechtenstein did not enter the qualification for the 1976 European Nations Cup.

The remaining 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four teams. The group winners advanced to a quarter-final round with all ties played on a two-legged basis. The four quarter-final winners would qualify for the tournament proper with one of those four countries chosen to host it.

Wales were drawn in Group 2 alongside Hungary, Austria and Luxembourg. This was the first time Wales had played Luxembourg.

Uefa qualifying group 2

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
31404/09/1974Austria 2-1 WalesGriffithsPraterstadion, ViennaECQ
 13/10/1974Luxembourg 2-4 Hungary Stade Municipal, LuxembourgEC
31530/10/1974Wales 2-0 HungaryGriffiths, ToshackNinian Park, CardiffECQ
31620/11/1974Wales 5-0 LuxembourgToshack, England, P Roberts, Griffiths, YorathVetch Field, SwanseaECQ
 16/03/1975Luxembourg 1-2 Austria Stade Municipal, LuxembourgEC
 02/04/1975Austria 0-0 Hungary Praterstadion, ViennaEC
31716/04/1975Hungary 1-2 WalesToshack, MahoneyNépstadion, BudapestECQ
31801/05/1975Luxembourg 1-3 WalesReece, L James (2, 1pen)Stade Municipal, LuxembourgECQ
 24/09/1975Hungary 2-1 Austria Népstadion, BudapestEC
 15/10/1975Austria 6-2 Luxembourg Praterstadion, ViennaEC
 19/10/1975Hungary 8-1 Luxembourg Népstadion, BudapestEC
32219/11/1975Wales 1-0 AustriaGriffithsRacecourse Ground, WrexhamECQ

Group standings

Quarter Finals

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
32424/04/1976Yugoslavia 2-0 Wales Stadion Maksimir, ZagrebECQF
32822/05/1976Wales 1-1 YugoslaviaEvansNinian Park, CardiffECQF

Wales and the 1976 European Championship

Wales were drawn in Group 2 alongside Hungary, Austria and Luxembourg. This was the first time Wales had played Luxembourg.

Arfon Griffiths, winning his second cap three years after making his debut, gave Wales the lead in the opening game in Vienna, however Austria hit back with two second half goals to take the spoils and claim the first points of the group.

Griffiths scored in Wales' two next matches as victories at home to Hungary and a thrashing of Luxembourg in the countries' first ever meeting saw Wales top the group.

Wales travelled to Hungary full of confidence as the Magyars' campaign had stuttered. As well as the defeat in Cardiff, they had to settle for a point in Vienna too.

However, Hungary had never lost at the Népstadion and had not lost a competetive match at home since 1959.

Dai Davies made his debut in goal for Wales and played his part as goals from John Toshack and John Mahoney ensured a famous victory for Mike Smith's men.

A victory in Luxembourg coupled with a Hungary win over Austria meant Wales only required a draw in the final match against Austria at The Racecourse to top the group.

With John Toshack suspended and with a spate of injuries, Mike Smith gave first caps to goalkeeper, Brian Lloyd, as well as to Joey Jones and Ian Evans.

An Arfon Griffiths goal was enough to secure the win in front of 27,578 fans in Wrexham and send Wales through to the quarter finals alongside Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Spain, West Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.

The first leg in Zagreb could not have got off to a worse start for Wales as Momčilo Vukotić scored after just 45 seconds before Danilo Popivoda added a second on the hour to give Yugoslavia a 2-0 lead to bring to Wales.

Controversy plagued the return leg at Ninian Park even before a ball was kicked as East German referee, Rudi Gl¨ckner refused to kick off until the East German flag was raised alongside the Welsh Dragon an d Yugoslav flags.

Glöckner further incensed the Welsh crowd by awarding Yugoslavia a debatable penalty thereby giving the visitors a three goal cushion.

Ian Evans of Crystal Palace equalised before half-time and Welsh hopes were raised when John Toshack scored from John Mahoney's knock-down, however Glöckner ruled Mahoney's bicycle kick to have been dangerous and awarded a free kick.

The crowd were incensed and a hail of objects were thrown onto the Ninian Park field as the referee threatened to abandon the match. Glöckner did little to appease the crowd when a few minutes later he ruled out another Toshack goal.

Wales' miserable evning was compounded as Terry Yorath missed a late penalty meaning the game ended 1-1 with Yugoslavia advancing to the Finals which UEFA had already declared, should they win the tie, would be held in Yugoslavia.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used 22 players during the campaign with Leighton Phillips the only player to play every minute of every game whilst Arfon Griffiths and Leighton James played some part of every game.

Brian Flynn made his debut as a late substitute against Luxembourg and Dai Davies made his debut away to Hungary.

Brian Lloyd made his debut at home to Austria in the final group game, becoming the fourth goalkeeper to be used during the campaign, with Joey Jones and Ian Evans also making their debut in the same game.

Alan Curtis      545
Dai Davies   9090 9090
Mike England 9090     
Ian Evans     909090
Brian Flynn  133132909090
Arfon Griffiths9090909058909045
Leighton James9090905990908590
Joey Jones     90  
Brian Lloyd     90  
John Mahoney90907790 909090
Malcolm Page   9090 9090
John Phillips 7      
Leighton Phillips9090909090909090
Gil Reece9090908290   
Dave Roberts90   90  90
John Roberts90  90    
Phil Roberts909090     
David Smallman   8 90  
Gary Sprake908390     
Rod Thomas 909090 9090 
John Toshack9090909090 9090
Terry Yorath90909090 909090


12 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw