By Scott McGlynn
As we continue our countdown to Euro 2020, we’ve taken a look back at our top 5 European Championship finals – can this year’s final at Wembley on July 11th top some of these classic encounters?
5 – Netherlands 2-0 Soviet Union (Euro 1988 final)
Heading into Euro ’88, the Dutch were the “nearly men” of international football, but a golden generation of stars helped them land their first-ever international tournament.
The class of ’88 featured Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman, and Ruud Gullit, but it was Marco van Basten who steered the Dutch to success in the final over the Soviet Union with arguably the greatest ever goal scored at the Euros.
The Dutch striker volleyed in Arnold Muhren’s lofted cross from a seemingly impossible angle to make it 2-0 in perhaps the most iconic moment in European Championship history.
4 – Spain 4-0 Italy (Euro 2012 final)
2012 was a golden age for Spanish football as the national side defended their Euro title having also been crowned World Cup winners in 2010.
Featuring the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Sergio Ramos, and Iker Casillas, Spain’s supremely talented squad conceded just six goals across the three international tournaments they won in 2008, 2010, and 2012.
The 2012 final in Kyiv was one of their most dominant displays as goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres, and Juan Mata saw the Spanish sweep aside a stunned Italian side.
3 – Denmark 2-0 Germany (Euro 1992 final)
In a true story of glory for the underdog, 1992 saw Denmark lift the famous trophy despite them originally failing to qualify for the tournament.
As civil war broke out in the Balkans, Yugoslavia were unable to compete at Euro ‘92 so the Danes – who had finished second behind them in qualifying – were drafted in.
What happened next was a footballing fairy tale as Denmark exceeded all expectations, beating the mighty Germany in the final in Gothenburg.
The Danes pulled off their massive shock win courtesy of goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort, aided in no small part by Peter Schmeichel and the Laudrup brothers – Brian and Michael.
2 – France 2-1 Italy (Euro 2000 final)
This final is famous for one thing – the golden goal.
Having won the World Cup in 1998 France were gunning for the “double” of becoming European champions as well but, as stoppage time approached in the final in Rotterdam, they were a goal down and staring down the barrel of defeat.
With just seconds remaining, Sylvain Wiltord broke Italy’s hearts and sent the final into extra-time.
Step forward David Trezeguet – the French striker swept home a half-volley ‘golden goal’ a minute before half time of extra-time to see France crowned champions.
1 – Portugal 0-1 Greece (Euro 2004 final)
The 2004 final goes down as one of the greatest ever upsets in the history of the Euros as 150/1 outsiders Greece lifted the trophy.
Having defeated the hosts Portugal 2-1 in the opening game of the tournament in Porto, the Greeks did the double by edging them out 1-0 in the final in Lisbon.
Angelos Charisteas was the Greek hero in the final, heading in from a corner to well and truly rain on Portugal’s parade – cheers Angelos, Ronaldo is crying.
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