Top 5 moments in European Championship History

Another European Championship is right round the corner and we cannot wait to witness what’s in store! Exciting, emotional and highly entertaining, European Championships bring people together and a new chapter in European football history is written. We’ll re-visit some of the best moments in the history of the tournament and hope that Euro Football 2016 will deliver the same emotion as tournaments of the past.

Greece, 2004

Football is not as predictable as one might think, even with giants such as Germany and Spain dominating the international scene. In 2004, Greece shook the world when they beat the hosts Portugal one goal to nil in the opening game of the tournament, and then again with the same score line in the final. It was the Greeks first ever major tournament win and defied the 80:1 odds they held at the start of the tournament.

Denmark, 1992

You couldn’t make this up. Denmark didn’t qualify for the European Championship that year, but Yoguslavia, who topped the group were at war and were disqualified from participating, opening the back door for Denmark. The Danes were given a life-line and were able to participate since they were runners up in the qualifying stages. They barely made it out of the group stages, winning one, drawing one and losing another. Their semi-final match against the Netherlands, which finished 2-2 was decided by penalties and shocked Germany with a two nil win to secure their first European Championship.

David Trezeguet, France, 2000

France were on fire. They were World Champions and clear favourites to win the European Championship that followed. A dramatic final ensued which Italy were leading one goal to nil until Sylvain Wiltord equalized in the dying moments of normal time. Italy were very disciplined tactically and it had to take something special to sink the Italians. Trezeguet stepped up during extra time and scored the last golden goal the world has ever seen, turning the tables around in just over 30 mins and securing France’s second European Championship.

Marco Van Basten, Netherlands, 1988

Van Basten was a genius. There’s no doubt it and his volleyed screamer against the then USSR is evident of that. The Dutchman nailed it home from the tightest of angles, in what many say was the best goal to ever be scored in a cup final. The Netherlands went on to lift the trophy and what a tournament it was for Van Basten! He had scored an incredible hat-rick against England and got the winner against the hosts West Germany in the final minutes of the game.

Abel Xavier, Portugal, 2000

What drama! Austrian referee Gunter Benko pointed to the spot in what was a highly controversial decision in European Championship history. Abel Xavier stood at the side of goal as the keeper was beaten by Trezeguet in a one on one face off. Trezeguet tried to slot the ball home from the tightest of angles but hit Xavier’s hand, which was clearly by his side and in no danger of giving away a penalty. The furious complaints by Abel Xavier got him suspended for 6 months. France went on to win the game by golden goal and beat the Italians in what was yet another dramatic encounter.

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