UEFA Euro Cup: Past Winners
West Germany, Spain and France have won the UEFA Euro Cup twice. Who will be on the podium cometh July 1 2012?
It all began in 1960 as UEFA European Nations Cup, changed its name to UEFA European Football Championship in 1968 and has been refered to as the "Euro" since 1996. Here is a pictorial journey depicting the Euro winners so far.
It was the USSR who beat Yugoslavia to win the first Euro in 1960, then known as the European Nations' Cup. Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin was the architect of a marvelous campaign as his leadership instilled massive confidence in the team.
In 1964, Spain were on home soil and against a side whom they had refused to play during the 1960 championships. But a vociferous Bernabéu crowd cheered their team on and a host had lifted the trophy for the first time.
With no penalty shootouts, the finals became quite dramatic in 1968. The hosts struck late to draw the first final. A beleaguered Yugoslavia could not match the hosts Italy in the second final. An easy victory for the Azzurris.
It was Gerd Müller all the way during the 1972 European championship. Franz Beckenbauer led West German side's most influential player, Müller, scored twice in the finals against the Soviets to hand the Germans the trophy.
West Germany faced Czechoslovakia in the finals of the 1976 Euro. The match went into penalties and the unfancied Czechs won after Panenka scored the most audacious penalty, chipping down the middle. The moment is still etched in Czech memories.
There were no hiccups by the West Germany side in 1980 after a disappointing 1976 Euro campaign. Horst Hrubesch scored a late winner to take West Germany home against Belgium. They had won their second European crown.
1984 semi-final was termed as one of the greatest ever matches at Euros. But the final, touted to be a close contest, in the end was an easy one for France. Spanish goalie, Luis Arconada, missed a sitter to hand Platini a goal. Bruno Ballone's late winner sealed it for France.
The 1988 Euro saw the Soviet side reach the finals for the fourth time. But the Oranje (Netherlands) had the unstoppable Marco van Basten in their side. His assist to set up Ruud Gullit and an unimaginable volley later on gave the Oranje an unassailable 2-0 lead.
1992 was almost meant to be the most amazing fairytale for the Danish side. Peter Schmeichel led from the front to deny any goal scoring opportunities to the Germans. John Jensen and Kim Vilfort scored for Denmark, who had qualified only after Yugoslavia were left out.
1996 gave the Germans a chance to redeem the 1992 loss as well as the loss at the 1976 games where the Czechs defeated them. Patrik Berger's penalty did give Czech Republic the hope but Oliver Bierhoff's equaliser and then his golden goal helped Germany realise their dream.
After Delvecchio's strike for Italy, it was France weaving all the magic albeit with no results to show. Sylvain Wiltord tapped in during injury time for the French while substitute David Trezeguet scored a golden goal to hand the 2000 Euro to Les Bleus.
It was 20 years since a host had won the Euro. Portugal's only aim was to do precisely that. But Greek striker, Angelos Charisteas, did the unexpected as he leapt over Costinha to head in from close range. Portuguese dreams were shattered.
Having won their previous silverware back in 1964 in this very competition, Spain looked to end a long drought against an in form German side in 2008. Xavi was the architect yet again as he found Torres who out muscled a hesitant Philipp Lahm and chipped the ball over a diving Lehmann. Spain had won.