From Greece's Shock Win to Trezeguet's Golden Goal: Top 5 Euro Moments

Updated: 02 June 2016 16:14 IST

The beautiful game produces memorable moments. It is virtually impossible to choose the biggest events in a world-class tournament like the Euro. But some moments can never be forgotten easily

With Euro 2016 set to kick off on June 10, France is poised to host the tournament many believe to be truly the big boys' playground - with arguably higher quality football than the World Cup itself. With hosts France all set to face off against Romania in the opener, takes a look at the five definitive Euro moments from the past three decades.

1. Marco van Magic - EURO 1988

Twenty-four-year old striker Marco van Basten made an indelible mark on the 1988 Euros. Considered one of the world's finest strikers, the Dutchman struck a sublime hattrick in a 3-1 victory over England. The Netherlands progressed to the semi-finals, despite losing to title contenders, the Soviet Union.

In the semi-final, they faced off against West Germany. Netherlands were behind, as German captain Lothar Matthaus converted a penalty. Ronald Koeman equalized for the Dutch, before Marco van Basten stunned the hosts, scoring the winner two minutes from time. It was seen as the Dutch exacting revenge over the Germans for the 1974 World Cup final, which was also played on German soil.

In the final, the Dutch faced the Soviet Union. Ruud Gullit opened the scoring for the Netherlands and the Dutch were in control. Soon after, however, the world would witness arguably the greatest goal ever scored in a tournament final.

Dutch midfielder Arnold Muhren made a run down the left before looping a ball in the direction of van Basten. Rather than control or dribble the ball, van Basten unleashed a fierce first-time volley, rifling the ball across the goalkeeper into the far corner. The goal sealed victory for the Dutch -- their first major tournament win, and cemented van Basten's sumptuous goal as the most iconic in the history of the Euros.

Greece football
Greece surprised everyone by winning the 2004 Euro title.


2. Greece And The Great Euro Shock - EURO 2004

In the days of Leicester City, it can be easy to overlook other great underdog triumphs. Leading up to Euro 2004, Greece had never won a match at a major tournament and entered with odds of 150-1. They upset hosts Portugal in the tournament opener but drew their next game against Spain. Their hopes of progression looked dashed as Greece lost 2-1 against Russia.

Fate had something else in store for the Greeks, however, as the qualified for the quarters by the scruff of their neck - only by virtue of scoring more goals than Spain.

Facing defending champions France in the next round, their little run looked set to be over. Greece went on to record the biggest shock of the tournament and sent France crashing out, through an Angelos Charisteas header.

Next up were the Czech Republic, touted by many as the dark horses. The Greeks, however, continued their dream run, albeit through a bit of luck. Pavel Nedved, Czech star man and 2003 Ballon D'Or winner, was forced off through injury in the first half. The Greeks held on, as the game entered extra time. What followed was the only 'silver goal' in history - as Traianos Dellas scored in the dying seconds of the first half of extra time.

The final was a repeat of the opener, as Greece faced hosts and favourites Portugal at Lisbon. As Charisteas headed in the opener, Greece were on the verge of the unthinkable. They held on, despite a late Portugal onslaught, completing a fairytale win, prompting ten million cheers, while presumably upsetting a whole host of bookies.

David Trezeguet scored a golden goal for France in the 2000 Euro final.

© Reuters

3. Trezeguet's Golden Goal - EURO 2000

Defending world champions France had a stop-and-start beginning at Euro 2000, winning games against Denmark and the Czech Republic, before losing to hosts Netherlands in the group stage.

France beat Spain 2-1 in the quarters, and were set to face Portugal in the semi-final. Thierry Henry cancelled a Nuno Gomes stunner, before a controversial Zinedine Zidane penalty handed France a place in the final.

Facing Italy at Rotterdam, the French were pegged back by a Marco Delvecchio goal in the second half. With Les Bleus looking set to finish second best, coach Roger Lemerre made some inspired substitutions.

Sylvain Wiltord came off the bench and scored an equalizer right at the death, forcing extra time. Then, in the 117th minute, substitutes combined to perfection, as former Arsenal winger Robert Pires made a run down the left channel, before put in a cross.

The ball was met by David Trezeguet, who adjusted his body inside the box, before volleying an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net, giving Italian goalkeeper Francesco Todlo no chance.

The goal proved to be the decider, as Euro 2000 was the last tournament decided by a 'golden goal' -- a rule abolished in 2003.

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres scored the winner for Spain against Germany in the 2008 Euro final.


4. Torres sparks Spanish era of Dominance- EURO 2008

Spain were considered perennial underachievers and nearly-men for most part of their history. Led by the late Luis Aragones at Euro 2008, the Spanish side boasted world-class talent, including FC Barcelona midfield duo Xavi and Iniesta, and perhaps the best striker in world football, Fernando Torres lead their line.

La Furia Roja romped their way to the quarterfinals, with victories over Russia, Sweden and Greece. Facing Italy next, the game went to penalties, where some Iker Casillas heroics set up a semi-final against much fancied Russia, who in their ranks had Andrey Arshavin and Yuri Zhirkov in blistering form.

The Spanish, though, were on a mission and slotted three goals past Russia, as glory beckoned at Vienna. Without top-scorer David Villa, it was Torres who took centrestage in the final, lifting Xavi's pass over German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, handing Spain their first major trophy in 44 years.

The victory will perhaps go down in history, more significantly because of what followed -- as Spain dominated international football, winning the World Cup two years later and Euro 2012.

5. Denmark's Cup of Dreams - EURO 1992

Having failed to qualify for the Euros, Peter Schmeichel and Co. were set for a summer off, until Yugoslavia were disqualified from the tournament, owing to the ongoing civil war. Denmark's surprise entry did not make them an imminent threat, as they were without their talismanic Barcelona playmaker Michael Laudrup.

Despite a slow start to the tournament, the Danes made it past the group stage alongside hosts Sweden, at the expense of both England and France. In the semi-final, they faced off against cup holders Holland. The game went to penalties and against all odds; Schmeichel saved reigning Ballon D'Or holder Marco van Basten's spot kick, booking a place in the final.

Facing a unified Germany side at Gothenburg, Schmeichel played the game of his life, and goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort sealed the unlikeliest of Euro wins of the 20th century.

Topics : Euro 2016 Greece David Trezeguet Football
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