It’s been sometime Euro 2020 has started. Who will win this edition of Euro? Whoever the winner, they would actually add one more Euro trophy to their bag and would indeed promote their position on the winners list of the UEFA European championship.
The question is:
Which country has won the most European championships
? Is it Germany, France or Italy? And how many European championships has it won to this date?
Also how many countries are there on the winners list of the UEFA European championship? Are there any countries who have never won a European championship but have finished as runners-up? Well, all these questions you’ll find answers to in this post.
That’s the main question and the answer to it is Germany and Spain. These two actually top the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won, however, the list is not limited to them. Let’s see what other countries come next on the list.
Number one on the list of
countries with most UEFA European championships won
, Germany have won 3 editions of UEFA Euro, namely Euro 1972, 1980, and 1996, to this date. Germany is actually the only country on the list that has finished as runners-up in the same competition the same number of times they have actually won the competition: 3 times and in 1976, 1992, and 2008. So if we just considered a point for winning and a point for finishing as runners-up in Euro, then Germany would top the list again, this time not sharing its position with Spain since Spain have only finished as runners-up once in UEFA Euro competitions.
It should be mentioned here that from the 3 timesGermany
won the UEFA European Championship 2 times, as you might have guessed, they were as West Germnay; actually in Euro 1972 and 1980. In Euro 1972 where Belgium hosted the competition, Germany beat the then Soviet Union 3-0 in the final and became champions and in the 1980 edition of the competition, hosted by Italy, they beat Belgium 2-1 and won the championship.
In Euro 1996 where England was hosting the competition, Germany beat Czech Republic 2-1 in the extra time, taking advantage of the Golden Goal rule that was in effect at the time. Top players like Oliver Bierhoff, Jurgen Klinsmann, Matthias Sammer, Jurgen Kohler, and Oliver Kahn were part of the German squad in that competition. The team of the tournament had also three German footballers, namely Andreas Kopke (goalkeeper), Matthias Sammer (defender), and Dieter Eilts (midfielder) in it. Matthias Sammer was also named the Player of the Tournament.
Sharing the first position with Germany on the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won, Spain has also won 3 UEFA Euro championships and in 1964, 2008, and 2012. In fact, the only country on the
winners list of the UEFA European championship
with a consecutive run of UEFA Euro wins is Spain; we mean the two UEFA Euro championships they won in 2008 and 2012. Even Germany have not yet achieved this.
are behind Germany in terms of the number of times they have finished as runners-up in UEFA Euro competitions. They have finished as runners-up only once and in 1984 where they actually lost 2-0 to the hosts, France. Well let’s see how Spain won their 3 UEFA Euro championships. Their earliest championship was actually in 1964 where they were also the hosts and managed to defeat the then Soviet Union 2-1 in the competition’s final.
Spain’s second UEFA Euro championship actually occurred in 2008 where Austria and Switzerland were the hosts. They beat Germany in the final of that competition 1-0 and won the championship. Just consider that if they lost, now they couldn’t share the first position on the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won.
And Spain’s third UEFA Euro championship actually took place four years later in 2012 where Poland and Ukraine hosted the competition jointly. Spain actually beat Italy 4-0 in the final and left no doubt that they were the absolute champions of the competition. Spain were actually the brightest team of the tournament and they had at least one player in each position in the Team of the Tournament: Iker Casillas was among the Team of the Tournament goalkeepers,Jordi Alba
, Gerrard Pique, and Sergio Ramos were among defenders, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Andrest Iniesta, and Xavi were among midfielders, and finally Cesc Fabregas and David Silva among forwards alongside the top forwards of the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Mario Balotelli.
With 3 goals, Fernando Torres became the tournament’s top scorer alongside 5 other forwards including Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Gomez, but because he had actually scored his 3 goals in less minutes than the other forwards - in 92 fewer minutes, he won the tournament’s Golden Boot award. He’s also the first player ever to have scored in two UEFA Euro finals. And again another player from Spain, namely Andres Iniesta, became the Player of the Tournament.
is actually the last country on the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won with more than one Euro championship. We mean the rest of the list have won only one championship in the history of the competition. France actually won the UEFA Euro championship once in 1984 and another time in 2000. They also finished as runners-up once in 2016 where they, themselves, were the hosts, but lost 1-0 to Portugal in the final and through the goal that the Portuguese footballer, Eder, scored at 109 minutes. If that just didn’t happen - we mean France won the tournament’s championship, then they would now share the first position on the list with Germany and Spain.
Anyway, let’s see how France won their two UEFA European championships. In 1984 France were both the hosts and champions; they actually beat Spain 2-0 in the final and became champions. In the group stage they won all their games and advanced with 9 points, and since there were only 8 competing teams in two groups, there was immediately the semi-final and then final after the group stage games where France beat Portugal 3-2 in the semi-final and Spain 2-0 in the final, as mentioned above, and became champions.
However, Euro 2000 was a different story since the number of participating teams had increased to 16, so there was then a quarter-final stage before the semi-final and final stages. France was not actually the host in that competition - it was hosted by Belgium and Netherlands jointly, however they beat Italy 2-1 in the final taking advantage of the Golden Goal rule and became champions.
What is quite noticeable about France’s championship in 1984 is that Michel Platini became the tournament’s top scorer with a wide margin from other forwards: He actually scored 9 goals in that competition that has remained a record to this date; no other footballer has ever scored that number of goals in a single UEFA Euro competition. And it might be interesting for you to know that the second top scorer of the tournament was Frank Arnesen of Denmark who only managed to score 3 goals.
And in Euro 2000? Well, France had at least one player in the Team of the Tournament: Fabian Barthez was one of the two goalkeepers of Euro 2000 Team of the Tournament - the other was Francesco Toldo of Italy, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly, and Lilian Thuram were among the team’s defenders, Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane among its midfielders, and Thierry Henry among its forwards. Also it should be noted that Zinedine Zidane was named the Player of the Tournament.
has won only one UEFA Euro Championship - actually in 1960, It is the only country on the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won alongside Germany that has also finished as runners-up 3 times in UEFA Euro competitions; actually in 1964, 1972, and 1988. That’s why we’ve put Russia over the other countries that also have won one UEFA Euro Championship.
Well, the truth is that it was not actually Russia who won Euro 1960, but the former Soviet Union which split later to several countries with Russia being the most major one. To become champions, Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in the final and actually in the extra time. There was no Player of the Tournament at the time to be named, but there were five players from Soviet Union on UEFA Team of the Tournament, namely the great Lev Yashin as goalkeeper, Valentin Ivanov and Igor Netto as midfielders, and Slava Metreveli, and Viktor Poendelnik as forwards. Also Valentin Ivanov and Viktor Poendelnik each with two goals were the top scorers of Euro 1960 alongside François Heutte of France.
Italy is the next country on our list of
countries with most UEFA European championships won
with one UEFA Euro championship; actually the championship that they won in 1968. Italy have also finished as runners-up in Euro competitions twice that actually took place in 2000 and 2012 where they lost 2-1 to France in the former with the Golden Goal rule in effect and 4-0 to Spain in the latter actually in the final match of the competition.
won Yugoslavia 2-0 in the Euro final match and became champions, however, how they made their way to the final - actually from semi-final - and how they won the final is another story which might be interesting for you to know. Italy faced Soviet Union in the semi-final but neither they won the match through a winning goal before full time or in extra time nor through penalty shootouts but through coin toss! The rule - we mean penalty shootouts or at least a replay match - was not actually there; that’s all!
And the Euro 1968 final match was actually a double final: Italy first drew against Yugoslavia and it was actually in the replay match - the second final match - that they beat Yugoslavia 2-0 and became the competition’s champions. Italy were also Euro 1968 hosts. The interesting fact about Euro 1968 is that none of the champions’ forwards became the tournament’s top scorer but a forward from the runners-up team, Yugoslavia, namely Dragan Džajić, with two goals, however, five players from Italy were on the tournament’s Team of the Tournament, namely Dino Zoff as the goalkeeper - and the only goalkeeper, Giacinto Facchetti as defender, Angelo Domenghini and Sandro Mazzola as midfielders, and Luigi Riva as forward.
Just like Russia who won their only Euro championship as Soviet Union,Czech Republic
also won their Euro championship not actually as Czech Republic but as the former Czechoslovakia, so, some may say that the credit also goes to Slovakia. Where ever the credit goes, it is officially registered for Czech Republic. They actually beat one of the top European teams at the time - let’s call them European giants, West Germany and not in full time or extra time - they actually drew 2-2 - but won 5-3 in penalty shootouts to become Euro 1976 champions.
That was such a big victory for the then Czechoslovakia, however, the interesting fact again is that none of the champions’ forwards became the tournament top scorer. It was actually Dieter Muller from the runners-up team, West Germany, who became the tournament’s top scorer with 4 goals. In fact, none of the Czechoslovakian forwards scored more than one goal in that tournament, however, Czechoslovakia had at least one player in each position in the tournament’s Team of the Tournament: Ivo Viktor as the goalkeeper - and the only goalkeeper, Anton Ondruš and Ján Pivarník as defenders, Antonín Panenka and Jaroslav Pollák as midfielders, and Zdeněk Nehoda as forward.
It should also be noted here that Czech Republic also finished once as runners-up in UEFA Euro competition; actually in the 1996 edition of the competition and this time as Czech Republic, itself, and not Czechoslovakia where they lost 2-1 to Germany through the Golden Goal rule.
Another country on the list of countries with most UEFA European championships won,Portugal
has only one UEFA Euro championship to its name; actually the 2016 Euro championship that the then Portugal national team won by beating the hosts, France, 1-0 and in extra time. Portugal have also finished as runners-up once in UEFA Euro competitions; actually in the 2004 edition of the competition where they, themselves, were the hosts and lost the final match 1-0 to Greece.
Although the Portuguese star,Cristiano Ronaldo
, played for his country’s national team in both Euro 2004, and Euro 2016, he never became the top scorer of either of these competitions. He scored 2 goals in Euro 2004 and was 3 goals behind the competition’s top scorer, Milan Baroš of Czech Republic, who scored a total of 5 goals in the tournament and also won the tournament’s Golden Boot award. In Euro 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 3 goals but he was again behind Antoine Griezmann of France with 6 goals, however, he won the Silver Boot award of the tournament with the 3 goals he scored and 3 assists that he provided.
It should also be mentioned here that in both Euro 2004 and Euro 2016 Teams of the Tournament, Portugal had players in different positions and Cristiano Ronaldo was on both Teams of the Tournament as a forward. Other Portuguese footballers on these two editions of Euro Team of the Tournament were Rui Patrício as the goalkeeper, Raphaël Guerreiro and Pepe as defenders, and Luis Figo and Maniche as midfielders.
The only country alongside Denmark and Greece on the list of
countries with most UEFA European championships won
with one UEFA Euro championship but no runners-up winners, Netherland won one Euro championship in 1988 where the Dutch national team beat the former Soviet Union in the final to win their first and only Euro title. Germany was the host and had already been beaten 2-1 by Netherlands in semi-finals.
The top scorer of that Euro edition was also a forward fromNetherlands
, namely Marco Van Basten, who actually scored 5 goals in the competition and stood on the first place with a margin of 3 goals from the second place occupied by Rudi Voller of Germany and Oleh Protasov of Soviet Union. Euro 1988 Team of the Tournament had also 5 Dutch footballers on it, namely Hans van Breukelen as the only goalkeeper, Ronald Koeman and Frank Rijkaard as defenders, Jan Wouters as midfielder, and Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten as forwards.
is actually the next winner of UEFA Euro right after Netherlands in 1988; we mean Denmark actually won their first and only UEFA Euro championship in 1992 where Sweden hosted the competition and Denmark could beat the European giants, Germany, 2-0 in the final match to become champions. And in semi-final? They had already beaten Netherlands 5-4 in penalty shootouts in a game that had ended in a 2-2 draw.
Top Danish footballers like Peter Schmeichel, Brian Laudrup, Lars Olsen - Denmark’s captain at the time, and Henrik Larsen were on Denmark’s squad in Euro 1992 with the last one actually becoming the tournament’s top scorer with 3 goals, indeed, alongside other top forwards in the tournament, namely Karl-Heinz Riedle of Germany, Dennis Bergkamp of Netherlands, and Tomas Brolin of Sweden. And Unlike Netherlands who had one player in each position in the Euro Team of the Tournament, Denmark had only two players, namely Peter Schmeichel as the only goalkeeper, and Brian Laudrup as the midfielder, in the 1992 edition of Euro Team of the Tournament.
is not actually among the top European teams, but despite this, they managed to win 1 UEFA Euro championship in their history; the championship that they actually won in 2004 and by beating Czech Republic 1-0 and in extra time in the semi-final and the hosts, Portugal, with again one goal against 0 in the final.
The interesting fact about Euro 2004 was that the two European giants, Germany and Italy, were knocked out in the group stage, and the two top teams, France and England, suffered the same fate in the first knock-out stage, quarter-finals, with the former being beaten 1-0 by the champions, Greece. Although the top scorer of that tournament was not from Greece - it was Milan Baros of Czech Republic with 5 goals, Greece had at least one player in each position in Euro 2004, namely Antonios Nikopolidis as the goalkeeper, Traianos Dellas and Giourkas Seitaridis as defenders, Theodoros Zagorakis as the midfielder, and Angelos Charisteas as forward. Also, Theodoros Zagorakis became the tournament’s Player of the Tournament.
and Belgium. Serbia have finished twice as runners-up in UEFA Euro competitions; once in 1960 where they were defeated 2-1 by the then Soviet Union under Yugoslavia - there was no Serbia at the time as a country but Yugoslavia as you might know. The second time Serbia finished as runners-up in UEFA Euro was 8 years later in 1968 where they were defeated 2-0 by Italy again under the former Yugoslavia. The match was first drawn 1-1, and based on the rules that were in effect those days, it had to be replayed which actually resulted in Yugoslavia’s 2-0 defeat.
have only finished as runners-up once in UEFA Euro history and in 1980 where they were defeated 2-1 by West Germany in the final. Other than that, they have also finished on the third place once and in 1972 where they lost 2-1 to Hungary. In Euro 1980 Belgium had one player on the tournament’s Team of the Tournament who was actually the Belgian midfielder, Jan Ceulemans.