european football championship 1988

The 1988 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was was the eighth European Championships and was held in West Germany between 10 and 25 June 1988. The Netherlands defeated The Soviet Union 2-0 in the final at the Olympiastadion, Munich claiming their first title.

Host selection

West Germany were confirmed as hosts of the eighth European Championship finals having been recommended by UEFA's organising committee at a meeting in Berne in February 1985. The West German bid beat off the challenge of England, the Netherlands and a joint Scandinavian bid of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.


Thirty two of UEFA's 34 members entered the qualification tournament for the 1988 UEFA European Football Championship. Liechtenstein did not enter with West Germany qualifying automatically as hosts.

The teams were drawn into four groups of five teams and three groups of four teams. The group winners would qualify for the tournament proper.

Wales were drawn in Group 6 alongside Denmark, Czechoslovakia and Finland.

Uefa qualifying group 6

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
40310/09/1986Finland 1-1 WalesSlatterOlympiastadion, HelsinkiECQ
40501/04/1987Wales 4-0 FinlandRush, Hodges, D Phillips, JonesRacecourse Ground, WrexhamECQ
40629/04/1987Wales 1-1 CzechoslovakiaRushRacecourse Ground, WrexhamECQ
40709/09/1987Wales 1-0 DenmarkM HughesNinian Park, CardiffECQ
40814/10/1987Denmark 1-0 Wales Idrætspark, CopenhagenECQ
40911/11/1987Czechoslovakia 2-0 Wales Letenský Stadion, PragueECQ

Group standings


Wales and the 1988 European Championship

Wales were drawn in Group 6 alongside Denmark, Czechoslovakia and Finland.

The opening match in Helsinki saw Wales travel without several first choice players because of injuries and suspension. With Neville Southall injured, Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Thomas won his one and only cap.

A 1-1 draw wasn't the start to the campaign manager, Mike England, had hoped for but a 4-0 win in the return fixture at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham including a goal for debutant Andy Jones of Port Vale, set Wales up for the visit of Czechoslovakia who had held group favourites, Denmark, to a goaless draw in Prague.

A late Ian Rush goal salvaged a point for Wales and with Czechoslvakia holding the Danes to a second draw the group was thrown wide open ahead of Denmark's visit to Cardiff.

A crowd of 20,535 crammed in to Ninian Park to witness Mark Hughes score the only goal of the game and send Wales to the top of Group 6 on goal difference following Finland's shock win over Czechoslovakia on the same evening.

A draw in Copenhagen would be enough to see Wales qualify for Euro 1988 but injury to Southall saw Wales once again being forced into playing an inexperienced goalkeeper; this time turnin g to Chelsea goalkeeper, Eddie Niedzwiecki, who would win his second and final cap in the vital match.

Preben Elkjær scored a controversial goal to win the game and send Denmark back to the top of the group but Wales could still qualify with a win in the final match of the campaign against an already eliminated Czechoslovakia in Prague.

Despite dominating the match, Wales suffered defeat as Czechoslovakia scored two goals on the break meaning Wales fell at the final hurdle yet again.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used 22 players during the campaign with Peter Nicholas and captain, Kevin Ratcliffe, playing every minute of every game and with Clayton Blackmore playing some part of every game.

Four players made their international debut during the campaign. Martin Thomas of Newcastle United won his first and only cap in the opening match in Finland whilst Port Vale's Andy Jones made a goalscoring debut in the home match against Finland.

Barry Horne who had just signed for Portsmouth made a late substitute appearance against Denmark to win his first cap whilst Geraint Williams of Derby County made his debut in the last group match against Czechoslovakia.

Mark Aizlewood9079 17  
Clayton Blackmore819090909066
Jeremy Charles90     
Glyn Hodges 9078732524
Barry Horne   2  
Mark Hughes  90909090
Kenny Jackett9090  6590
Robbie James9090908873 
Andy Jones 9012901745
Steve Lowndes9     
Peter Nicholas909090909090
Eddie Niedzwiecki    90 
David Phillips 9090909090
Kevin Ratcliffe909090909090
Ian Rush909090 9090
Dean Saunders90     
Neil Slatter38 90909045
Neville Southall 909090 90
Martin Thomas90     
Pat Van Den Hauwe 1190909090
David Williams52     
Geraint Williams     90


12 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw

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