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UEFA Euro best moments of all time

Fri 23 April 2021 | 13:30

This year, the postponed 2020 European Championship is scheduled to take place. That's why we take a look back at some of the Euro cup greatest moments of all time.

One difference makes the European Championship and

World Cup

finals particularly different, aside from the geographical differences of course. While the World Cup is one of the two global events that are organized for every single sport (the other being the Olympics), the European Championship, on the other hand, is a real football tournament.

People sometimes say that the European Championship is a World Cup without Brazil and Argentina. That is true, but it is also a World Cup excluding the burden of 8 low-level national teams. All in all, the 2020 European Championship is the subject of a number of stories even before it is staged. This is the first time that the jubilee tournament is to be held in twelve different countries

As you might know, Euro 2020 was postponed to the summer of 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and football fans all over the world, are eagerly waiting to see their favorite European football players again.

Greatest European Championship moments

The European Championship already had exciting stories to offer in the past. The following is a selection of the Euro best moments of all time, stay tuned.

Six-month suspension for Abel Xavier in Euro 2000

Abel Xavier was the unfortunate victim of the Euro 2000 semi-final. During the match against France, the Portuguese defender with blond hair and beard stopped Trezeguet's shot with his hand in the penalty area in the 114th minute of the second extra time.

Prior to Zidane's penalty/golden goal that allowed the French to reach the final against

Italy

, Xavier was sent off the pitch for attacking referee Gunter Benko. His exaggerated protests cost him a six-month disqualification from football.

Amoros Loses His Cool

There are pointless red cards and there are exclusions like Manuel Amoros' during the 1984 European Championship. The

France

side was leading 1-0 in their opening match against Denmark when their right-back was taken down by Jesper Olsen. The former Ajax striker appeared to be trying to play the ball, but he stopped Amoros.

After attempting to hit Olsen's head with the ball and missing, he decided to knock the Dane over, in front of the referee. However, Amoros still had the guts to challenge the referee about the subsequent red card. He got suspended but came back in time to play as a substitute in the final. Stay tuned for the next moment in the list of Euro best moments of all time.

Poborsky's incredible lob goal

One of the

most memorable moments in Euro cup history

and most incredible goals in the history of the European Championships was scored by Poborsky against

Portugal

in 1996. The Czech champion perfectly dribbled four opponents and then, with a splendid lob, beat the goalkeeper.

It was Karel Poborsky’s first goal of the tournament, which helped the Czech Republic national team to reach the semifinals. It was a tournament to remember for the Czech Republic as they beat France in the next round 6-5 on penalties before eventually losing 2-1 against Germany at the final.

The Golden Goal of Bierhoff

Although it was not a world-class goal, Oliver Bierhoff's second goal of the 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the finals of the European Championship 96 was without a doubt a significant and very important one. The Udinese striker had already secured an extra-time goal by overturning Patrik Berger's penalty and, in the 95th minute, scored the first 'Golden Goal' to settle a major tournament.

Bierhoff superbly controlled a cross from Jürgen Klinsmann under pressure, before creating some space for himself to take the shot. Michal Hornak touched the ball, leaving Petr Kouba powerless in the Czech goal to secure the European Championship title for Germany.

Irishman Whelan's Goal

The incredible goal scored by Ireland's Ronnie Whelan against the USSR during the 1988 European Championships will be remembered in the history of the game forever. The ball was volleyed in by the Ireland player from a long throw-in assist by Mick McCarthy from outside the box and amazingly found its way into the net behind an awestruck Rinat Dasaev.

It was the first goal of the tournament for Whelan. In the 79th minute, the Soviet Union’s team equalized the match on a goal by Oleg Protasov. The match ended 1-1 and Ireland finished third in Group 2, one place ahead of

England

. Stay tuned for the next moment in the list of Euro best moments of all time.

Exciting Extra Time between Croatia and Turkey in 2008

The 2008 European Championship quarter-final match between

Turkey

and Croatia was boring and without a goal for 119 minutes. In the 119th minute, Klasnic scored and the Balkan team looked to have clinched the match.  However, before the ball had even reached the centre of the pitch, Turkey's Senturk beat his rivals and silenced the cheering Croatian fans. Ultimately the penalty shoot-out was a disaster for the Croatians, as they missed three out of four shots.

In the semifinals, the Turkish side lost the match 3-2 against a powerful Germany. That moments between the 119th and 120th minutes of the Croatia and Turkey match is undoubtedly among the Euro cup greatest moments of all time.

The impressive Netherlands dominates the group of death

The

Netherlands

was drawn in the 'death group' at the 2008 European Championships together with Italy and France, both finalists of the World Cup two years before, which the Italians won in the unforgettable final in Berlin. The Dutch were widely considered the underdogs at the time, but the powerful northern European team defeated the two European giant teams (3-0 against Italy, 4-1 against France) and finished the group on top after beating Romania.

However, in the quarterfinals, Netherlands played against Russia. Pavlyuchenko scored the first goal of the match in the 56th minute and later Van Nistelrooy managed to score the equalizer four minutes before the end of the match. At the extra time, Torbinski and Arshavin scored two goals in less than four minutes to advance to the semifinals.

The thrilling first match in European Championship history

The first European Championship match was played in 1960 in France. The French national team lost 5-4 to Yugoslavia after having taken a 4-2 lead until the 75th minute. The tournament was won by the USSR of legendary goalkeeper Lev Yasin.

The French team played the Third Place Play-Off against Czechoslovakia, losing 2-0 following two goals from Vlastimil Bubnik and Ladislav Pavlovic. Stay tuned for the next moment in the list of Euro best moments of all time.

Paul Gascoigne’s goal in the Euro 96

Criticised by the media for his part in England's booze fest in the run-up to the European Championships on home soil, it was Paul Gascoigne who let his feet do the talking in his country's group match against

Scotland

at Wembley.

While the hosts were struggling to hold on to a 1-0 lead, Gascoigne was able to find a way through on a pass from Darren Anderton. He lifted the ball off Colin Hendry with his left foot and played it past Andy Goram with his right. Gascoigne dropped behind the goal and waited for his teammates to pour a water bottle into his mouth.

France Wins Euro 2000

Following their victory in the 1998 World Cup on home soil, two years later France found themselves in the Euro final against Italy. However, this final was far from being the same as the one against

Brazil

. In the 55th minute, Delvecchio gave Italy the lead and they held it for the rest of the second half. Fabien Barthez saved a breakaway ball from Del Piero in the 83rd minute, almost on the brink of chaos.

The Italian bench was on its feet in the 93rd minute, and the Italian fans began to sing the national anthem. At that moment, Sylvain Wiltord, who had come into the game in the second half to replace Dugarry, came out with a chest control shot that beat Toldo, making it 1-1, so it was extra time and at that time a golden goal.

The relief came in the 103rd minute. Robert Pirès broke through on the left side of the pitch and crossed for Trezeguet, who sent a half-volley into the top left-hand corner to secure a second European title for France. Stay tuned for the next moment in the list of Euro best moments of all time.

Balotelli flexes his muscles - Euro 2012

In the Euro 2012 semi-final, the Italian team faced the Germany national team. The Germans were expected to win the match, yet they did not know that they were about to experience Mario Balotelli's best international performance.

Mario opened the scoring with a neat header, and the Italians won the match with a shot from the edge of the box that went straight into the top corner of the net past a helpless Neuer. The celebration that followed is one of the most memorable moments in Euro cup history and will go down in history and quickly became a meme, one that will be used over and over again in the years to come.

The Lucky Italians

Both pundits and players tend to condemn the lottery known as the penalty shootout. Without a doubt, it is a cruel way to have to leave a tournament, yet luckily there is still a bit of skill involved. That cannot be said about the coin toss. But years ago, this was a normal way of deciding matches.

The best-known example, of course, is Italy's victory over the Soviet Union in the semi-final of the '68 European Championship. Both teams had failed to score a goal after one hundred and twenty minutes of football in Naples, which meant that referee Kurt Tschenscher had to reach for his coins. The Soviet captain Albert Shesternyov chose the wrong side and Italy went on to the final and ultimately won the tournament - although only after a replay against Yugoslavia.

5 Missed Penalties for the Netherlands in Euro 2000

At times, history is written more by the failures of the loser than by the successes of the winner, particularly when one misses five times. The Netherlands' golden generation faced a weakened Italy in the semi-finals of Euro 2000. Italy's Zambrotta was even sent off after half an hour. A penalty was awarded to the Netherlands, but De Boer's effort was saved by Toldo.

During normal time, the Italians conceded another penalty, but this time Kluivert missed it. The Italians managed to hold on and took the Dutch to the penalty shoot-out. The Netherlands cracked and missed three more penalties from Stam, De Boer and Bosvelt. In the end, Totti finishes off the Netherlands with his penalty kick.

Kim Vilfort’s Goal in the Euro 92 Final

The European Championship in 1992 was one of tragedy and triumph for

Denmark

. The team of Richard Moller Nielsen was only added to the participants' list just before the start of the tournament because of the war in Yugoslavia, and midfielder Kim Vilfort began the European Championship knowing that his 7-year-old daughter was battling leukaemia that she would not win. The Brondby midfielder wanted to withdraw from the tournament on two occasions and his family convinced him to continue playing each time.

Having missed the Danes' final group game against France because he wanted to be around his little girl, Vilfort came back in the semi-final against the Netherlands before playing in the final against Germany. His deciding goal in the final against the Germans remains one of the

most unforgettable moments in Euro history

. Although there is often mentions of a fairytale Denmark at the 1992 European Championships in Sweden, for Vilfort it didn't end happily. His little daughter died soon after winning the title.

Zidane flips England in Euro 2004

It was a group match that France would certainly have lost if it wasn't for the brilliance of Zidane. France met England in their first game of Euro 2004. Lampard scored for England in the 38th minute and it looked like the score would stay there. However, in the 91st minute, Zidane unleashed a lovely free-kick into the goal of David James, making it 1-1.

Just two minutes later, James tackled Thierry Henry after a back pass from Steven Gerrard, resulting in a penalty for France that Zidane perfectly converted. It was a French-style hold-up. The last minutes of that match are certainly among the greatest European Championship moments.

Euro 2016: Iceland upset England

Iceland, a country of just 360,000 people, played in the Euro 2016 finals for the first time. To the surprise of everyone, Iceland made it through the group stage after impressive matches: a draw against Portugal and Hungary and a win over

Austria

. But it was in the 16th round that the tournament's youngest team achieved the feat of beating England 2-1. In the end, Iceland fell to France in a crazy match with a final score of 5-2.

The moments after Iceland’s win over England and the way their fans cheered will go down in the history of football as one of the most unforgettable moments in Euro history. Stay tuned for the next moment in the list of

Euro best moments of all time.

Will Grigg is on fire!

This is a song that will be forever remembered at Euro 2016. The Northern Ireland team that qualified for the Euros will be heard with the voices of their exceptional fans setting the mood at every game. Striker Will Grigg was in the team, coming off the best season of his life with 28 goals.

The supporters brought a song dedicated to him in their suitcase in France after his exceptional season: Will Grigg's on fire! To a tune of 'Freed From Desire'. Despite the fact that Will Grigg did not score any goals in the competition, the song won the hearts of all nations, getting down as one of the

Euro cup greatest moments of all time

.

When Eder punished France in Euro 2016

This is a moment that still hurts for the French football fans. France made it to the final of the Euro 2016, playing at home. France was facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Eder's Portugal team. Eder was a rather average player who had just had a fairly average season in France with Lille. However, in a very tight game, Eder entered the pitch in the 79th minute.

After normal time the score was 0-0. In the 109th minute, Eder decided to make history and give Portugal its first title in a major competition, thus making one of the most memorable moments in Euro cup history.

Greece wins Euro 2004

No one was expecting it, but

Greece

did it. Having emerged from a group with Spain, Portugal and Russia, Greece made it to the final in the Italian style, winning 1-0 and then drawing with France and the Czech Republic, before finally beating Portugal 1-0, who were playing at home.

This was the biggest disappointment for Cristiano Ronaldo and the biggest sporting achievement for the Greeks, which will always be remembered as one of the Euro best moments of all time.

When Platini Made France the Euro 84 Champion

In the 1984 European Championship, Platini was the story of France's unparalleled domination of the competition and their first victory on the international stage. His nine goals, an unprecedented record in the competition, carried the team to the final victory. Platini also scored two hat-tricks, one against Belgium and the other against Yugoslavia, making him the only person to score two hat-tricks in the same tournament. In addition, he scored the first goal in the final against

Spain

and gave France an extra-time winner in the semi-final against Portugal.

An outstanding performance that has yet to be repeated. Many believe that his overall performances were amongst the

greatest European Championship moments

.

Spain and Villa in the big league

This was the Euro and the match that would mark Spain's arrival as a dominating force in international football. Spain's opening match of Euro 2008 sent a clear message with a 4-1 victory over Russia and a hat-trick from David Villa. This performance was repeated in the semi-final with another three-goal margin against

Russia

, and finally a 1-0 victory over Germany in the final.

Spanish national team’s and especially David Villas’s performance in that match, rather than being a message to the football world, made one of the most unforgettable moments in Euro history.

Davor Suker's Lob in Euro 1996

Just like Van Basten's goal, this goal marked the Euro. Denmark, winners of the last Euro in 1992, faced a small Croatia team and were beaten 3-0. For Croatia, all eyes were on Davor Suker, the forward who was to be transferred from Sevilla to

Real Madrid

after this Euro 1996. In the 90th minute, he scored one of the most beautiful goals in the history of the Euro, a left-footed lob from the left edge of the penalty area that crucified Peter Schmeichel.

This goal marked one of the

Euro best moments of all time

and will be remembered for many years to come.

The Tragedy of France National Team

Having already frustrated Portugal in the opening match of the European Championship in 2004, the Greek team qualified for the quarter-finals at the expense of Spain on goal difference. There were few who gave Otto Rehhagel's men a chance to beat France. But as the game progressed, it became clear that the French were up for the challenge. The Greek goal, which was one of the biggest surprises in European Championship history, was a real gem.

Theo Zagorakis beat Bixente Lizarazu on 64 minutes and then controlled the ball and placed it on the head of Angelos Charisteas, who hit Fabien Barthez with a hard kick. And the rest is history. After a second success in the tournament against the Portuguese team, Greece was able to lift the European Championship trophy. It was a bad tournament for France as they were knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Antonin Panenka's penalty in Euro 1976

You may not know it, but the "Panenka" penalty kick used by Zidane against Italy in the 2006 World Cup final comes from a Czechoslovakian player: Antonin Panenka. During the 1976 Euro, Czechoslovakia was in the final against West Germany. The score was 2-2 after extra time, and the first penalty shoot-out in the history of the competition began.

The first seven penalties were taken and it was Uli Hoeness, the current member of the Bayern board, who missed the eighth. Then Antonin Panenka stepped forward for the winning penalty. Panenka fooled goalkeeper Sepp Maier, who threw himself at the ball, and Panenka finally pushed the ball into the middle of the goal for a victory and a historic gesture, which turned out to be among Euro best moments of all time.

Zlatan's backheel goal against Italy

The next best moment in our list of

Euro best moments of all time

came on in the 2004 European Championship. This was a bad memory for Gianluigi Buffon at Euro 2004. Following a draw against Denmark, Italy had to win their second match against Sweden to ensure qualification. The Italians were off to a good start with a goal from Cassano in the 37th minute, but they were not to be denied by Zlatan, who put the Italians to sleep in the 85th minute with an acrobatic goal of which he is a master.

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