Three times the bridesmaid, Yugoslavia's patience and football ability finally paid off as they took home gold.
This time a little luck was on the Yugoslavians' side as they qualified for the semi-finals by winning a coin toss after tying Bulgaria in the previous round. They drew with Italy, 1-1 in the semi-finals, and advanced again after drawing lots (the Italians had a midfielder named Giovanni Trapattoni, who would go on to become of the world's greatest coaches, and midfielder Gianni Rivera).
They made sure the flip was no mistake in the final as captain Milan Galic scored on a 30-yard yard blast in the opening minute en route to a 3-1 win over Denmark. Zeljko Matus added a goal in the 11th minute before 23,042 spectators at Stadio Flaminio. Galic, however, was ejected late in the game for insulting the referee. Borivoje Kostic added an insurance goal. Flemming Nielsen scored the Danes' lone goal.
Galic finished top scorer with seven goals while teammate Borivoje Kostic just missed out with six of his own.
Denmark, incidentally, became the only one to win silver, of just three non-Eastern-Bloc Olympic medallists in eight competitions between 1952 and 1980. Sweden and Japan captured bronze medals in 1952 and 1968, respectively.
This tournament also was significant for a major change in the structure of the competition. Instead of a single-elimination tournament, teams would play a minimum of three games apiece in four four-team groups, which has been followed since. The champions of each group qualified for the semi-finals in these Summer Games.
Hungary, who lost the core of their marvellous Magic Magyars team to the Hungarian Revolution, salvaged the bronze medal by nipping Italy in the third-place match, 2-1.