Michel Platini, president of the European soccer governing body UEFA, invited the Spanish goalkeeper he embarrassed 24 years ago to tonight's Euro final. In the 1984 Euro final, Platini, then a player for the French national team, took a long-distance shot that slipped between the hands of goalie Luis Arconada, slid under his body and rolled slowly into the net. The fumble gave France the first of two goals in a 2-0 victory against Spain. In football jargon, this error has been referred as an Arconada ever since.
Platini told a press conference yesterday, "When I shaved this morning I thought to myself about how I took the title from the Spaniards 24 years ago, and how I might grant them one tomorrow." When Arconada received the phone call, Platini said, the former goalie thought it was a prank. "It is nice to invite a former rival," Platini explained. "It was impossible to stop that kick, it wasn't his fault."
Platini posed an ultimatum to Ukraine and Poland, the hosts of next year's Euro tournament, demanding that they accelerate preparations for the event by September of this year.
"We don't have a back-up plan at the moment, but if we see that the stadiums are not progressing, we will consider what to do," he said.
In September's UEFA conference in Bordeaux, a decision will also be taken as to whether to raise the number of participants in the tournament in 2016, and if so, whether that figure should be raised to 20 or 24 teams. "Expansion will not necessarily reduce quality," he said. "The Euro of 16 teams is no worse than that of eight."
"It will be the greatest moment of my life," Italian referee Roberto Rosetti said of calling tonight's final match. "It is a great honor and tremendous joy," he added.
Rosetti refereed the first match of the tournament, Portugal's 2-0 victory over Turkey on June 7.
Legendary former referee, and fellow countryman, Pierluigi Collina praised Rosetti's selection.
"This is proof that Italy has overcome the problems surrounding the Calciopoli affair," he said, referring to an alleged match-fixing scheme uncovered in May 2006 between Italian team administrations and referees.
Fatih Terim will continue as coach of Turkey's national team and will guide it through the preliminaries of World Cup 2010, following a decision by the Turkish Football Association on Friday. Terim said after his team's semi-final ouster Wednesday by Germany that he would leave the team for a European squad. Intense domestic pressure, however, forced him to reconsider and stay on.