The Top 5 Euro Failures

By Scott McGlynn

The European Championships have seen plenty of individual and team successes over the years, but they’ve also seen plenty of disastrous appearances.

We’ve taken a look back at the top 5 European Championship failures and we’re hoping that England’s Euro 2020 campaign won’t be added to any future updates.

5 – Germany – Euro 2004

Germany headed into Euro 2004 full of confidence after reaching the World Cup final just two years previously, but the tournament saw them crash out at the group stages.

Rudi Voller’s side could only muster two draws and a loss in Group D – their 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic in their final group match sealed their fate following draws with the Netherlands and lowly Latvia.

4 – Graham Taylor – Euro 1992

England shone at Italia ’90 – taking their World Cup semi-final to a penalty shoot out. But they came crashing back down to earth in 1992 with a disastrous showing at the Euros, blamed for the most part on manager Graham Taylor.

Two 0-0 draws against Denmark and France were followed up with a 2-1 defeat to Sweden, and England were out.

Taylor was accused of being too sterile and defensive in his line-ups and was criticised for omitting creative players such as Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle.

Never loved by the media, Taylor was vilified by them after England’s elimination.

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3 – Netherlands – Euro 2012

Holland arrived at Euro 2012 as one of the favourites having reached the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.

With the combined attacking talent of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, and Arjen Robben, big things were expected.

Three games later they were on the flight home having lost all three group matches – to Germany, Portugal, and Denmark – scoring just three goals in total.

The fallout rumbled on after the tournament with accusations of their star players not getting on and it also brought to an end coach Bert van Marwijk’s four-year reign.

2 – England – Euro 1988

England’s hopes were high as the national side headed off to Euro 88 full of confidence.

With 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker in fine form at Barcelona, and with impressive away wins in qualification over Spain and Yugoslavia, English fans were expecting a big showing.

But the Three Lions imploded – losing 1-0 to Ireland, 3-1 to the eventual winners the Netherlands, and 3-1 to the USSR – Mr Lineker scored exactly zero goals.

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1 – Joe Hart – Euro 2016

Euro 2016 was yet another major tournament to forget for England as they crashed out in the last 16 to Iceland courtesy of a Joe Hart howler.

Hart had already looked short of confidence, being widely criticised for not stopping Gareth Bale’s free-kick that put Wales ahead in their group match. And worse was to follow against a massively underrated Iceland outfit.

With the match tied at 1-1, Hart allowed Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot to squirm under his body for what proved to be the winning goal, and yet another early flight home for England.


Craig Jones

Craig Jones

US Sports lover and watcher of the EFL, Craig will guide you through the NFL, NHL and English football