Classic Euro Controversies #1 – France’s Amoros shows no love
In the first of a mini-series before the tournament, we look back at some of the more unsavoury incidents in European Championship history. Today: How Manuel Amoros literally used his head in an explosive end to the opening game of the 1984 tournament.
After this years’ European Championship, the next tournament will be held in France. The gallic nation last hosted in 1984 and so had the honour or the burder of featuring in the first game.
The French were favourites, fresh from a glorious performance at the 1982 World Cup whilst their opponents the Danish had qualified for their first tournament since 1964.
French coach Michel Hidalgo had the carré magique (the magic square) at the centre of his team with Luis Fernandez, Jean Tigana, Alan Giresse and Michel Platini. The Danes – after an impressive qualifying record – had a young Michael Laudrup and Frank Arnesen amongst their best players.
As so often in opening matches, a cagey game resulted in a rather unspectacular first half. That was until Danish striker Allan Simonsen had his leg broken by Yvon Le Roux. Despite the terrible injury, referee Volker Roth elected to let Le Roux stay on.
Incidentally Volker Roth may not ring a bell but the former chairman of UEFA’s referee committee is most notable for calling Jose Mourinho “an enemy of football” in 2005 after the Special One criticised his performance when Chelsea took on Barcelona. Roth has since resigned his post.
But back to the match with the clock ticking down in the second half it looked the doggedness of Danes was going to deny the favourites victory. Until the now head of UEFA Platini seized onto a loose ball to send the home fans into relieved raptures.
But that was not the end of the drama. As we’ve seen in recent tournaments from the French (see Zidane and notably Blanc on current Croatia coach Slaven Bilic) dazzling football and red cards seem to go hand-in-hand.
With the game drifting to the end French defender Michel Amoros – who had been solid for 87 minutes – took a dislike from a challenge from Jesper Olsen. Whilst Roth extracted a yellow card for Olsen, Amoros sent his Fellaini-like head into the Dane and was justifiably sent off.
The dismissal did not impact on the result as the French held out to win and indeed went onto win the entire tournament. For Amoros a three game ban looked to have ended his involvement in Euro 1984 but coach Hidalgo brought him on as a subsitute in France’s 2-0 final victory over Spain to leave 22-year-old with a happier end to his tournament.
As for the Dane’s they survived Simonsen’s absence to reach the semi-finals where they had lost to Spain. Eight years later they would win it.
Amoros is now manager of Benin and will spend the time taken up by Euro 2012 to coach his side at they begin the campaigns to qualify for the World Cup, starting tomorrow against Mali.
France and Denmark now face a different type of headache as they fly East to try and emulate the achievements of their national sides 28 years ago.
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