Top 10 most memorable European Championship matches

Date published: Tuesday 7th June 2016 8:32

England's drubbing of Holland in 1996 cracks top 10

On the eve of Euro 2016 in France, here is a look back at some of the most unforgettable games played at the tournament. 

Since the inception of the competition 56 years ago, the European Championships have featured some of the most captivating and pulsating contests ever seen in football. 

From giant-killing upsets and stunning comebacks to amazing skill, brillant goals and high drama – here are the 10 most memorable matches ever at the Euros…  

10. Czechoslovakia (5) 2-2 (3) West Germany AET (penalties) (Euro 1976) 

The 1976 Final in Belgrade is best remembered for legendary Czechoslovakia midfielder Antonin Panenka’s penalty kick in the shootout victory. 

With the score 4-3, Panenka stepped up and cheekily chipped the ball down the middle of the goal to win it. His infamous effort was trademarked as a ‘Panenka’-style penalty. 

9. Yugoslavia 5-4 France (Euro 1960) 

The first ever game at the Euros in 1960 was certainly a memorable one with hosts France throwing away a 4-2 lead as Yugoslavia scored three in four minutes! 

Tomislav Knez pulled one back on 75 minutes before Drazan Jerkovic struck twice in a minute to dump the French out. 

8. Netherlands 2-0 Soviet Union (Euro 1988) 

Marco van Basten’s volley against the Soviet Union in the Euro 1988 Final is widely considered as one of the greatest goals ever scored at the European Championships. 

For van Basten’s effort alone, this encounter will live long in the memory. And for the record, Ruud Gullit opened the scoring. 

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7. Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic (Euro 2008) 

Petr Cech’s blunder gave a resurgent Turkey the lift they needed to overturn a two-goal deficit with Nihat Kahveci’s late brace helping them qualify at the Czechs’ expense. 

The Czechs also squandered a 2-0 lead against Russia at Euro 1996, but went through after Vladimir Smicer rescued a 3-3 draw

6. Czech Republic 3-2 Netherlands (Euro 2004) 

The Czech Republic recovered from going two goals down inside 20 minutes as Jan Koller, Milan Baros and a late Vladimir Smicer strike stunned the Netherlands in an entralling Euro 2004 contest. 

Smicer later described the game against the Dutch as the most memorable match of his international footballing career. 

5. Spain 4-3 Yugoslavia (Euro 2000) 

In an unforgettable finale, Gaizka Mendieta and Alfonso Perez scored in the 94th and 95th minute to send Spain through to the Euro 2000 Quarter-Finals. 

The comeback stunned already-qualified Yugoslavia, who had fought back from 0-3 down with 10 men to draw 3-3 against Slovenia in their opening group match. 

4. France 3-2 Portugal (Euro 1984) 

Michel Platini inspired France to a last-gasp victory over a gutsy Portugal in extra time of their Euro 1984 Semi-Final in a match considered as one of the tournament’s most enduring moments.   

Another cracking game at Euro 1984 worth remembering was Denmark’s 3-2 win over Belgium in the group stages. 

3. Ireland 1-0 England (Euro 1988) 

Ireland produced one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history by upsetting England – one of the pre-tournament favourites – in the opening match at their first European Championship. 

Ray Houghton’s looping header after eight minutes was enough to give the Irish a famous win over an out-of-sorts England. 

2. England 4-1 Netherlands (Euro 1996) 

England produced one of their most thrilling displays ever as two goals each from Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham overwhelmed the Dutch.  

Patrick Kluivert’s late consolation put the Netherlands through too at Scotland’s expense, but this was a day when England came of age with a stunning performance and result.

1. England (5) 1-1 (6) Germany AET (penalties) (Euro 1996) 

An epic and pulsating clash between England and Germany at a packed Wembley with a classic ‘Oh so near’ tale which will never be forgotten.

 Shearer and Kuntz trade goals. Anderton and Gascoigne go close in extra time. Penalties. Kopke saves Southgate’s kick. Moller slams in the decider. Heartbreak for England. 

By Aron Hegarty (@AronHegarty)

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