Grassroots Coaching

Great Football Moments – Puskas Gives His Shirt to Eusebio – 1962 European Cup Final

The 1962 European Cup Final was played in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium between Real Madrid, the masters of Europe and precocious newcomers from Portugal, Benfica, who were the holders of the European crown.

Over 60,000 fans crammed into the stadium to witness one of the great European Cup Finals. Real Madrid were hanging onto their pomp, with Alfred Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas pulling all the strings. Benfica had a young striker called Eusebio, who the footballing world was only just waking up to.

The great question: were the great icons of Real Madrid, not far too old and past their prime to contain the dynamic Benfica featuring the seemingly unstoppable 20-year-old Eusebio? Puskas and Di Stefano, after all, were 35 and 37.

If the first half was stunning, the second half was even better. With Di Stefano pulling all the strings and providing the ammunition, Puskas scored a first half hat trick and Madrid took a 3 – 2 lead into the interval. But, wily Benfica coach Guttman made a tactical adjustment for the second half and instructed a defender to man mark Di Stefano. The ploy worked, Di Stefano was marked out of the game and Puskas was starved of service. Benfica took control and the “black pearl” Eusebio scored his second goal of the game as Benfica ran out 5 – 3 winners.

At the end of the game, Eusebio ran fully 30 yards to exchange his red Benfica shirt with the ageing European Footballing legend Ferenc Puskas. This exchange seemed to symbolise the changing of the guard, both from Madrid to Benfica and from Puskas to Eusebio.

1962 European Cup Final – Real Madrid 3 Benfica 5 – a game of stunning long range shots

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