The Best of the Euros 1980-2012
The draw for the 2016 European Championships is happening this weekend and we are seriously excited! So excited in fact we’re spending most of our time looking at all the new jerseys and the old goals from previous tournaments… and we’ve picked our favourites from every tournament from 1980 up until the most recent in 2012 for the fun of it! Enjoy (and let us know what your favourites are!)
Euro 80 – Italy
The first championships to feature the group stages (but no semi-finals this time, the top team in each group progressed to the finals), Germany defeated surprise packets Belgium in the final. Reigning champions Czechoslovakia edged the hosts in the third place play-off and were helped by this wonder strike by full back Jurkimek – one of only three goals he ever scored for the national side!
Ladislav Jurkimek Czechosolvakia v Italy 3rd/4th place play-off
Euro 84 – France
Before the shenanigans, before the politics, before the relative failure as a coach, Michel Platini was an all time great. At the peak of his powers as France hosted the tournament in 1984, the majestic midfielder hit a staggering nine goals in five games as he led France to victory. This sublime diving header (who doesn’t love a diving header) in an eighteen minute hat-trick was our pick for the 1984 event.
Michel Platini France v Yugoslavia Group Stages
Euro 88 – Germany
With apologies to Ronnie Whelan and his acrobatic effort versus Russia, it was another stunner against the then best goalkeeper in world football Rinat Dassaev, that gets the nod. Marco Van Basten’s sheer brilliance as a forward probably doesn’t receive the kudos it deserves these days but after setting up Ruud Gullit for the opening goal, Van Basten etched his name in history with one of the greatest goals ever seen in a final. Majestic.
Marco Van Basten Holland v Russia Final
Euro 92 – Sweden
A tournament that saw Italy, Spain and sadly Ireland fail to qualify, along with England ignominiously crashing in the first stage (to Graham Taylor’s dismay), Euro 92 is remembered for Holland spanking Germany but the Germans reaching the final, Gary Linekar’s final England appearance, a couple of brilliant Thomas Hassler free-kicks, Peter Schmeichel denying Van Basten from the penalty spot, two cracking semi-finals and Thomas Brolin’s spectacular goal as the hosts defeated England.
Thomas Brolin – Sweden v England Group Stages
Euro 96 England
A rip-roaring tournament (the first to feature an expanded 16 teams) Euro 96 saw France travel on the back of a twenty-five game unbeaten run which they extended by four games before exiting at the last four on penalties to surprise packets Czech Republic. Karol Poborsky scored a memorable lob in the quarter-final for the Czech’s while Gazza produced a moment of magic in the Wembley sun for England but in our minds Davor Suker was the star of the show and this chip against Denmark had us rushing straight out to the garden to try and emulate.
Davor Suker Croatia v Denmark Group Stages
Euro 2000 – Belgium/Netherlands
The greatest tournament ever (sorry World Cup 1970!). From start to finish this was pure elation on a football field with the highest number of goals and highest average goals per game of any Euro finals tournament. Spain’s 4-3 win over Yugoslavia, Holland‘s masterclass against the same side, Portugal’s comeback v England, Conceição’s hat-trick v Germany, Zidane’s free kick, Toldo’s heroics in the semi-final, Stefan Fiore’s brilliance, Trezeguet with the golden goal winner…… So many memories including the sheer brutality of this free-kick from Frank de Boer!
Frank De Boer – Holland v France Group Stages
Euro 2004 – Portugal
Wayne Rooney announced himself on the international stage at this tournament but it will forever be remembered for rank outsiders Greece eking out the most amazing tournament win ever with three 1-0 wins in the knock out stages. This thunderbolt with from Maniche with the adidas Roteiro was a strike that would light up any tournament though.
Maniche Portugal v Holland Group Stages
Euro 2008 Austria/Switzerland
We’re picking Torres title winning strike for 2008’s entry as even though it wasn’t the most spectacular – Zlatan v Greece probably holds that accolade – but the goal was Torres and Spain at their incisive best and gave them the confidence to go on and win the 2010 World Cup and retain the Euros four years later.
Fernando Torres Spain v Germany Final
Euro 2012 Poland/Ukraine
Spain were a different beast as reigning champions and they handed out a 4-0 tonking to an Italian side who they had drawn with in the group stages (of which we do not talk about). The tournament as a whole was rather disappointing with Pirlo’s brilliance and Balotelli’s semi-final strikes as good as it got but this goal from Alba just before half time in the final was simply superb and crowned a brilliant four years for the masters of Europe.
Jordi Alba Spain v Italy Final
So there we have it, our favourites from 1980-2012. Will we see more wonder goals in France next summer? We have no doubt we will, and who knows, it might be Ireland’s Jon Walters or Shane Long popping up on this list in four years time!
Get into the mood for Euro 2016 with Elverys Intersport, home of the Beau Jeu, official match ball of the European Championships! http://bit.ly/1IHfGl7