Exploring Tottenham’s connections to the Euros and in this episode we turn our attention to 1968 when the four home nations were placed together in a qualifying group. UEFA having introduced this instead of the straight knock out style and ruled that the Home Internationals for the two years prior to the finals would double as a qualifying competition. The eight group winners would play quarter finals and the winning four teams then proceeding to the finals. At this stage the host nation would be decided. There is also the first non-British connection.
With the British grouped together the story unfolded. England won their first game 2-0 away to Northern Ireland with the same side that won the World Cup the previous summer. Future Spur Martin Peters scoring and Pat Jennings was in the Irish goal. In the other game Wales drew with Scotland as Mike England made his first Welsh appearance as a Spur alongside Cliff Jones.
In round 2, Scotland would only utilise one Tottenham player who would appear later in the competition whilst the Irish fielded Pat Jennings as the Scots won. Wales lost to England, with Welshmen Cliff Jones and Mike England taking part.
The third round of games saw Ireland and Wales draw. Whilst the Scots inflicted the first defeat on England since they became World Champion’s and go top of the group.
The Scots celebrated by digging up the Wembley pitch, smashing the goal posts and having fights all the way back to the trains taking them home. Greaves was the only Tottenham player involved in the game.
England then won in Wales with Mullery (top) in the team, whilst the Welsh had Mike England as captain and Cliff Jones in the side.
left - Cyril Knowles
Meanwhile the Irish shocked Scotland 1-0 in Belfast with Jennings back in the side. In the next round the Scots had Alan Gilzean in their side and he scored twice after a two year exile from the side as they beat Wales 3-2 and Cliff Jones.
The English (with Mullery) beat Ireland (and Jennings) 2-0. The group finished with the Welsh beating the Irish, Pat Jennings and Mike England facing each other. In the final game the Scots needed to beat England. It was Martin Peters who gave the visitors the lead the Scots did equalize but it was England who headed for the quarter finals. Mullery was the only Tottenham player involved as the Scots had again dropped Gilzean.
The Republic of Ireland were in Group 1 and Joe Kinnear (left) became the first Tottenham player to represent a side other than one of the Home Nations when he made his international debut away to Turkey in a 1-2 defeat. He would pick up a second cap in the last qualifying game a win away to Czechoslovakia as Spain headed the group.
It was Spain, the holders who were drawn against England in the two legged quarter finals. The first leg at home was a 1-0 win for England with a late winner.
Tottenham’s Cyril Knowles and Alan Mullery were in Alf Ramsey’s team alongside future teammate Martin Peters. Mullery played in the second leg whilst Knowles missed out. Spain went a goal up but England won 2-1 and Tottenham would now have their first connection’s to the competitions Final stages.
The finals were held in Italy. Tottenham had Mullery, Knowles and Greaves in their squad. England lost their semi-final by the only goal to Yugoslavia in Florence. England had lost a couple of players injured in a friendly just four days before the game and Ramsey went with a line up showing a cautious approach against strong opponents. In a bad tempered game Alan Mullery, the only Spur on show, was sent off in the last ten minutes. The first Englishman to do so in over 400 games. Three days later England beat the Soviet Union to take third place with no Tottenham men playing. Italy beat Yugoslavia in the final. Meanwhile in N17 Tottenham finished seventh in the league and shared the Charity Shield with Manchester United.
In part three we move forward to the 1972 & 76 competitions.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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