Uefa gave the European Championship a shot in the arm in 1980 by opting to make the event more of a spectacle.
The introduction of a larger format saw eight teams qualify for the finals.
Two groups of four were to be played out, with the winners going directly to the final in Rome - and the hosts fully expected to be there for the climax.
Italy were exempt from qualifying and they appeared to have been placed in the easier of the two groups, alongside Belgium, Spain and England.
With the formidable Germans, championship holders Czechoslovakia and two-time World Cup finalists Holland in the other pool along with surprise package Greece, Italy assumed their first tough match would be the final itself.
Such optimism would later come back to haunt them.
England had qualified after missing out on the previous two World Cups and this was at last a chance for Kevin Keegan to display their talents on a bigger stage, but it was the English fans rather than the players that had Europe running scared.
The hooligans among their following were always likely to cause trouble and the worst fears of the tournament organisers were confirmed at England's first match in Turin.
The side drew 1-1 with Belgium but the main talking point came when a riot in the crowd and the deployment of tear gas forced both teams off the pitch near half-time.
ENGLAND IN EUROPE: 1980
Eliminated in finals group
Qualifying Group 1:
Denmark 3-4 Eng,
Rep Ire 1-1 Eng, Eng 4-0 N Ire, Bulgaria 0-3 Eng,
Eng 1-0 Denmark, N Ire 1-5 Eng, Eng 2-0 Bulgaria,
Eng 2-0 Rep Ire
Finals Group 2:
Belgium 1-1 Eng, Italy 1-0 Eng, Eng 2-1 Spain
Italy opened their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Spain, but they then beat England 1-0 with a late winner from Marco Tardelli.
Belgium's 2-1 victory over Spain set up a critical showdown between them and the hosts, with the Belgians only needing a draw to reach the final.
Italy's lack of prowess in attack was to be their undoing as they could only manage another 0-0 draw in Rome and Tardelli's strike against England was their only goal of the tournament.
Belgium were thrilled, but perhaps surprised, to reach the final - at least two teams in the other group felt it was their divine right to meet them there.
After victories in their first matches, West Germany and Holland clashed in Naples in what was to be the group decider.
Playing their best football since the 1974 World Cup, West Germany seized the initiative and carved out a 3-0 lead with a hat-trick by Klaus Allofs.
The Germans felt they could afford to give youngster Lothar Matthaus a debut by throwing him on as a substitute in the 73rd minute, but he gave away a penalty to offer Holland a lifeline.
Johnny Rep put the spot-kick away and when Rene van de Kerkhof pulled another back with a shot from distance, an unlikely comeback was in the offing but West Germany held the Dutch at bay.
A 3-2 triumph afforded them the luxury of a goalless draw against Greece in their last group fixture before the final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
They seemed in dominant mood and Horst Hrubesch settled any nerves with an early goal, but Belgium were to draw level when Rene Vandereycken converted a penalty.
Hrubesch flicked home a header with two minutes remaining, though, and that brought another European Championship victory for West Germany.
1980 European Championship results (Held in Italy)
Group 1: W Germany 1-0 Czech'vakia, Holland 1-0 Greece,
W Germany 3-2 Holland, Czech'vakia 3-1 Greece,
W Germany 0-0 Greece, Czech'vakia 1-1 Holland
Group 2: Belgium 1-1 England, Italy 0-0 Spain,
Belgium 2-1 Spain, Italy 1-0 England, England 2-1 Spain, Belgium 0-0 Italy
Third place play-off
Czech'vakia 1-1 Italy
(AET - Czech'vakia won 9-8 on penalties)
W Germany 2-1 Belgium