The Top 5 European Championship Tournaments Ever


By Scott McGlynn

 Football fans throughout Europe are gearing themselves up for a month-long football.

To get the juices going, we’ve taken a look back at some epic past European Championships – read on to see our top 5.

5 – Euro 1996

This was the year that 30 years of hurt was meant to end for England, but sadly for the English fans, football didn’t come home.

It was Germany who lifted the trophy, after seeing off England in the semi final’s before defeating the Czech Republic in the final courtesy of Oliver Bierhoff’s ‘golden goal’.

To be fair, England set the tournament alight alongside the Czechs and Croatia, particularly with the 4-1 group stage win over the Netherlands. But England’s penalty shootout defeat to Germany in the semis still cuts deep for England fans.

Euro 2020 finally offers Gareth Southgate a shot at redemption having missed that vital spot-kick at Wembley.

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4 – Euro 1976

There may be 24 teams set to take part in Euro 2020 but back at Euro 1976, just four nations were battling it out for the trophy.

In a tournament that featured legends of the game such as Gerd Müller and Johan Cruyff, it was very much quality over quantity – both semi-finals went to extra time and the final ended in a historic penalty shootout.

Czechoslovakia scored two late goals in extra-time to see off the Netherlands in the first semi before West Germany defeated the hosts Yugoslavia 4-2 after extra-time.

The final ended 2-2 after extra-time with the Czechs winning the penalty shoutout thanks to Antonín Panenka and THAT penalty.

 

3 Euro 2004

Euro 2004 was the year of the underdog as Greece pulled off a massive shock to lift the trophy, stunning hosts Portugal 1-0 in the final.

The Greeks may not have been the most attractive to watch, but there was plenty of top-quality action and goals on display as Wayne Rooney, Milan Baroš, and Cristiano Ronaldo announced themselves on the international scene.

While Germany crashed out in the group stages, only penalties could split England and Portugal in their quarter-final which was undoubtedly one of the games of the tournament – it really was a thrilling four weeks of international football.

2 – Euro 1984

Euro 1984 saw eight teams battling it out in what turned into a fantastic competition with 41 goals banged in over the 15 matches.

Leading the way was the French midfielder Michel Platini who helped himself to nine goals – his haul is still the record for the most goals scored in a single European Championship.

This was France’s year, having strolled through their group with three wins, scoring nine goals in the process, they then faced Portugal in the semi-final.

It turned into the best match of the whole tournament with France coming from behind in extra time to win 3-2, including a 119th-minute winner from Platini.

In the final, the French comfortably saw off Spain 2-0 to win their first-ever European Championship in what is still one of the most fondly remembered tournaments.

 

1 – Euro 2000

Euro 2000 was held in the Netherlands and Belgium and offered football fans a crazy amount of drama from start to finish while featuring legends of the game such as Zinedine Zidane, Francesco Totti, and Luis Figo.

The group stages served up some tasty clashes including Portugal edging out England 3-2 after trailing by two goals, Yugoslavia and Slovenia sharing the points in a six-goal thriller, and the Spanish finally seeing off Yugoslavia 4-3 with an injury-time winner.

The drama kept on rolling into the knockout stages as both semi-finals went to extra time.

France booked their place in the final with a late penalty winner while the Netherlands missed two penalties in normal time before going down in a penalty shootout to Italy.

To top it all off, France lifted the trophy after an extra-time ‘golden goal’ winner from David Trezeguet… and breathe.

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

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