Paris:Memorable moments of previous European football championships ahead of Euro 2008, which gets underway on June 7 and is being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland:
2004 - Beckham's missed penalty
England's problems at penalty shootouts came back to haunt them again just when it looked like they could add a major trophy to the 1966 World Cup. Spot kicks have become the equivalent of an albatross round successive England team's necks and this time it wasthe turn of England icon and captain David Beckham who slipped and sent his penalty skyhigh in the quarter-final shootout with Portugal. Beckham, who had already endured nightmares wearing the England shirt, took it in his stride because for all of the criticism of his glamorous lifestyle something the lad from London has never been lacking in is guts and stoicism. England were to lose to Portugal again under Sven-Goran Eriksson in another penalty shootout at the 2006 World Cup - this time Beckham was not to blame as he was in tears on the sidelines having been substituted because of an injury.
2004 - Zizou's cool nerves
France's Real Madrid 'galactico' Zinedine Zidane, Beckham being England's representative in that hallowed circle at the meringues, showed what it takes to take a penalty when he did just that to England in their first round match.
Having fallen behind 1-0 to the English, the French pulled back to 1-1 and then a howler of an error by goalkeeper Dave 'Calamity' James handed the French a penalty late on in the match. Zidane, who had been pretty much incapacitated during France's desperate defence of their World Cup crown in 2002, stepped up and slotted the penalty into the net. However, the pressure of taking such an important penalty even got to the great man, who promptly threw up. France, though, were not to retain their European title either as eventual champions Greece put them out in the last eight.
2000 - Trezeguet is just golden
David Trezeguet may not be Raymond Domenech's golden boy but he was certainly France's in 2000. France had trailed 1-0 to Italy going into the final minutes of the final when Sylvain Wiltord popped up to level the match and take it into extra-time. The Italians were visibly down and it looked only a matter of time before the French added the title to their world champions tag. Sure enough World Cup winner Trezeguet popped up with a brilliant volley 13 minutes in to win the match for the French with a golden goal - he was promptly snapped up from Monaco by Juventus showing the Italians bore no grudge.
Dutch pay the penalty - again
The Dutch had already lost a penalty shootout to Brazil in the 1998 World Cup semi-final but were to pay the penalty once again, this time to the Italians, once more in the semi-finals. It should never even have got to that stage as Italy had been reduced to 10 men in the 34th minute, the Dutch - who co-hosted the tournament with Belgium - then missed two penalties in normal time and unbelievably three in the penalty shootout. Frank de Boer was the most unfortunate of all as he had missed one in normal time and then another in the shootout - his brother Ronald missed the crucial one in the 1998 World Cup. A case of losing de Boer war....
England grow to like orange
Belittled England manager Graham Taylor famously once said 'do I not like orange' when the Dutch ended England's hopes of qualifying for the 1994 World Cup finals. However, his successor Terry Venables definitely must have thought 'Oranges are the only fruit' at Euro '96 being hosted by England when the English side probably produced one of their finest performances ever to destroy an as ever multi-talented Dutch side 4-1 with Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham scoring a brace apiece. Even given the fact that as usual the Dutch were riven by internal racial discord it was still a phenomenal performance. Sadly despite a penalty shootout victory over Spain, they were to go out to Germany by the same heartbroken method in the semi-final. Gareth Southgate the man who missed the crucial penalty was to benefit from it by appearing somewhat bizarrely in pizza advertisements afterwards.
Danes bring home the bacon
The Germans are usually renowned for taking all the best places on the beach before anyone else has but this time round they were outfoxed by the Danes of all people. For the Danes were on their summer holidays when they were called up to replace Yugoslavia in the finals as the Yugoslavs were banned over the strife in the Balkans. Not really made up of star names but they stunned the Germans in the final with goals from the unlikely pair of John Jensen and Kim Vilfort to become perhaps the unlikeliest winners of the title until Greece popped up in 2004. And no they did not distract the Germans from wearing their swimming trunks and laying out towels on the goalline.
'Saint' Jack does over his compatriots
Jack Charlton was already being touted for canonisation by an Irish public who did not know what finals of a major tournament meant despite previous years of having players of the class of Liam Brady and Johnny Giles. However, the 1966 World Cup winner assumed super hero status when not only having guided the Irish to the Euro finals in his first match there and against England up popped the diminutive Ray Houghton to head home and the Irish held on for a 1-0 victory. Indeed the Irish only missed out on the semi-finals because of a late goal by The Netherlands' Ruud Gullit.
Van Basten scores 'That Goal'
The Dutch for once managed to keep team unity together during the tournament and it showed as they ended up 2-0 winners over the then Soviet Union in the final. However, the match more than the result will be forever remembered on account of a quite remarkable goal by Marco van Basten, now the Dutch coach for Euro 2008. Veteran midfielder Arnold Muhren sent over a long ball and van Basten met it with a quite stunning volley from a pretty sharp angle to send it crashing past Soviet 'keeper Rinat Dasaev. Such was the outstanding Soviet 'keeper's shock that he visibly stumbled on realising that the ball had flown past him.
French elan comes from the clouds to down Portuguese men of war
France possessed a quite superb team in the early 1980's and they went into hosting Euro' 84 in fine heart. However, the 'magic square' of a midfield which consisted of Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez were really suffering against Portugal in the semi-finals who led 2-1 in extra-time, only for France to level. The French, however, dug deep and a minute from a penalty shootout Tigana weaved his way into the penalty area and cut it back for Platini to be there to prod it home and secure victory in what many view as the finest match of all time. France fortunately did not wilt and beat Spain 2-0 in the final to gain the trophy that they truly deserved.
It's Horst for courses
West Germany produced perhaps their least likely hero of major finals in Horst Hrubesch. Hrubesch was hardly the epitome of previous greats like Gerd Muller or Franz Beckenbauer or indeed of several of his team-mates like Karl-Heinz Rummenigge but the big muscular blond was on hand when it mattered as 'The Monster' as he was nicknamed headed both goals in the 2-1 win in the final over Belgium. His honest panting efforts kept him there even for the 1982 World Cup finals where he scored the decisive penalty in the victorious semi-final shootout win over France.
Cheeky Czech Panenka avoids the bare factories of life
Antonin Panenka succeeded where later generation of Czech players such as Pavel Nedved and Karel Poborsky failed in winning the European title, though, at the time it was with Czechoslovakia. However, as he remarked afterwards it was a damn close run thing as he stepped up to take the decisive penalty in a shootout with West Germany, who had fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before it went to penalties. Uli Hoeness missed his spot kick and it was left to 28-year-old Panenka to shoulder the responsibility. Cheekily and as cool as a Budovar beer he slotted it high and straight down the middle to seal victory for Czechoslovakia. "If I had failed it would have had serious consequences for me, I would have been sent to a factory," admitted Panenka, as Czechoslovakia was still behind the Iron Curtain under Communist rule.
Facchetti just loves Toss-ca
One would want Giacinto Facchetti to be your tipster or to have been the captain of the Titanic such was his luck. There being no penalty shootout in those days and with the Soviet Union and Italy tied at 0-0 after extra-time it literally came down to the toss of a coin. Facchetti called correctly with the Italian fans blissfully unawares as it was carried out in the corridors of the San Paolo Stadium in Naples. Italy went onto win the final against Yugoslavia.