The Nations Cup title gave way to the European Championship in 1968 and qualifying groups were used for the first time to determine who would reach the quarter-finals.
With all the British countries involved (including Scotland for the first time), a UK presence in the last eight was guaranteed as two Home Championships running were used to decide one group.
Scotland humbled World Cup winners England when they won 3-2 at Wembley, but their failure to beat Wales and a defeat in Northern Ireland left England in pole position and a 1-1 draw in front of 130,000 at Hampden Park was enough to eliminate the Scots.
England made the most of their reprieve and they knocked out the defending champions in the quarter-finals with wins home and away against Spain that took them to Italy for the final knock-out phase.
Yugoslavia were their semi-final opponents after coming through a three-team group comprising of themselves, West Germany and Albania.
West Germany, entering the competition for the first time, were given a nasty shock by Albania when they were held to a goalless draw in Tirana and that result sent Yugoslavia through.
A 5-1 thrashing of France put Yugoslavia in fine fettle for the semis, though they adopted a negative and highly physical approach against England in Florence.
It was not aesthetically pleasing, but it was pretty effective and they scored the only goal through Dragan Dzajic with just four minutes remaining.
Italy and the Soviet Union had relatively stress-free paths to the same stage, but they more than made up for their lack of worries when they clashed in Naples.
Neither side could find a breakthrough and with no time to schedule a replay, a coin toss was employed to decide the outcome - who said penalties were no way to settle a game of this stature?
ENGLAND IN EUROPE: 1968
Qualifying Group 8:
N Ire 0-2 Eng,
Eng 5-1 Wales,
Eng 2-3 Scot, Wales 0-3 Eng, Eng 2-0 N Ireland,
Scot 1-1 England
Quarter-finals: Eng 1-0 Spain, Spain 1-2 Eng
Semi-final: Eng 0-1 Yugoslavia
Third place play-off:
England 2-0 USSR
Italy won in perhaps the most inadequate fashion with the coin coming down in their favour and they crept into the final.
Yugoslavia kept faith with their bruising style in the final, but Dzajic showed no small measure of skill to beat Dino Zoff for the first goal before half-time.
Italy threw all they could muster at Yugoslavia but they held firm until the 80th minute when Angelo Domenghini's free-kick sent it to extra-time.
With no further goals - and the toss of a coin abandoned as a sensible means of bringing a conclusion - a replay was set up for two days later.
Italy fielded a much-changed line-up in the second match and one of the big names missing from the original final was first on the scoresheet.
Luigi Riva - guilty of several glaring misses - atoned for his profligacy with a left-footed drive and Pietro Anastasi's volley put the replay beyond Yugoslavia's reach with just over half an hour gone - game set and match to the hosts again.
1968 Nations Cup results (Held in Italy)
Italy 0-0 Soviet Union (Italy won on coin toss)
England 0-1 Yugoslavia
Third place play-off
England 2-0 Soviet Union
Italy 1-1 Yugoslavia (AET)
Italy 2-0 Yugoslavia