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23rd Jun 2024

Why Euro 2024 matches will be on at the same time in the final group game

SportsJOE

Time to get the dual screen set up out

The final group games of Euro 2024 matches will kick off at the same time and it’s all because of a controversy that stretches back over 40 years.

All matches will kick-off at 8 pm and for good reason too as it involves an unwanted repeat of an event known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijón’.

During the 1982 World Cup in Spain, West Germany were playing Austria in the final round of group games, sharing a group with Algeria and Chile.

The day before, Algeria had beaten Chile to go second in the group while Austria sat at the top with both teams having two wins.

West Germany only had one and needed to beat Austria to go through.

Since Algeria had played Chile the day before West Germany kicked off with Austria, both teams knew that a West Germany win by less than three goals would see the two Europeans teams progress into the knockouts.

With this outcome guaranteeing both teams’ advancement, the two sides played until West Germany scored in the 10th minute, from which point a game of uneventful sideways passing and aimless long balls and shots ensued and ensured knockout football for both nations.

This came at the expense of Algeria who were furious and lodged a complaint to FIFA who, despite the obvious foul play, did not deem the match as breaking any rules.

The match would go on to become notorious in Germany, Austria and Algeria, being dubbed the ‘Disgrace of Gijón’ as even Austrian player Reinhold Hintermaier would later admit that the match was fixed.

Thanks largely to this game, starting from the 1986 World Cup, all final group stage matches have been played at the same time to prevent this sort of match-fixing ever happening again.

UEFA soon followed suit for the Euros and the Champions League. It is now the standard practise for all tournament football around the world.

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