Every team at Euro 2016 will take to the pitch with clear instructions: keep it tight and no soft goals. But occasionally, the opposite happens.
Some of the finest players to grace the European Championships have been caught out with an uncharacteristic mistake, which has gifted the opposition a cheap score.
And whilst there may or may not be culprits this summer, every player in France will be put on notice by these past examples.
Here are the six worst defensive howlers at the Euros…
6. Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy 1-1 Romania, Group C, Euro 2008)
Former Juventus and AC Milan defender Gianluca Zambrotta attempted to nod a long-driven free-kick back safely to his keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
However his weak header was pounced on by Adrian Mutu, who fired past Buffon to give Romania a 1-0 lead.
Fortunately for Zambrotta, teammate Christian Panucci spared his blushes with the equalising goal to salvage a 1-1 draw.
5. Steffen Freund (Germany 2-1 Croatia, Quarter-Finals, Euro 1996)
German midfielder Steffen Freund’s defensive error gifted a spirited Croatia side a route back into this Euro 1996 Quarter-Final tie.
The former Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur star got dispossessed as he casually tried to play the ball across the back by Nikola Jurcevic, who set-up Davor Suker to level.
Thankfully for Freund, Matthias Sammer’s cool finish secured a memorable Semi-Final meeting with hosts England.
4. Dubravko Pavlicic (Croatia 0-3 Portugal, Group D, Euro 1996)
Croatia opted to rest key players with both teams already through to the Euro 1996 Quarter-Finals and trailed 0-2 when defender Dubravko Pavlicic’s mistake presented Portugal with their third goal.
The late Pavlicic struck his attempted pass off teammate Igor Stimac’s back, which allowed substitute Domingos to run through and steer in a low shot past stand-in keeper Marijn Mrmic.
3. Steven Gerrard (England 1-2 France, Group B, Euro 2004)
France had just drawn level from Zinedine Zidane’s 91st-minute free-kick when Steven Gerrard’s backpass to David James in the 93rd-minute let in Thierry Henry, who was fouled by James and awarded a penalty.
Zidane stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to leave the Liverpool legend and his England teammates devastated.
2. Petr Gabriel (Czech Republic 1-2 France, Group D, Euro 2000)
Needing to win to have any chance of getting through, the Czechs got off to the worst possible start when defender Petr Gabriel’s howler handed France the lead after seven minutes.
The hapless Gabriel played a back pass straight to Thierry Henry, who then raced clear to score in a 2-1 win.
1. Sinisa Mihajlovic (Yugoslavia 3-3 Slovenia, Group C, Euro 2000)
Sinisa Mihajlovic endured four minutes of hell as he got booked, gave away the third Slovenia goal and then got himself sent-off!
Milhajlovic was yellow-carded in the 56th-minute before a dreadful pass across the edge of his own area allowed Zlatko Zahovic in for 0-3 two minutes later.
To compound his misery, the ex-Lazio star was red-carded on the hour mark. But 10-man Yugoslavia staged a remarkable fightback to earn a 3-3 draw.
By Aron Hegarty (@AronHegarty)
Are there any blunders you feel we’ve missed? Let us know, below….