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Three Of The Most Memorable European Championship Moments

November 24, 2015

- Grant Whittington

With the 2016 European Championship finals in France now on the horizon, all thoughts are turning to the latest installment in one of football’s most coveted and prestigious tournaments. Certainly the recent history of this tournament has been illuminated by a number of incredible and thrilling moments, from shock results to stunning goals and heroic individual performances. We are likely to see even more next summer, as even more teams compete for the crown as Europe’s premier footballing nation.

With this in mind, here are our three favourite moments from recent European Championship history…

Angelos Charisteas’ winning goal (Greece v Portugal, 2004)

In 2004, Greece stunned the world by beating reigning champions France and a skillful Czech Republic side to reach the European Championship Final. Many expected this incredible run to end in the Final, however, as the Greeks faced host-nation and overwhelming favourites Portugal in front of a passionate crowd. The nervous Portuguese failed to make their dominance count, however, while the Greeks defensive organisation and incisive counter-attacking enabled Angelos Charisteas to head the decisive goal in a tense 1-0 win.

Peter Schmeichel’s Penalty Heroics (Denmark v Portugal, 1992)

When the eight teams were initially confirmed for the 1992 Euro finals, Denmark’s players were lying on the beach enjoying their holidays. The withdrawal of Yugoslavia due to political issues enabled the Danes to take their place, however, although few expected them to be anything other than accommodating whipping boys. The Danes beat France to progress beyond the group stages, however, before Peter Schmeichel became a national hero by saving Dutch striker Marco Van Basten’s decisive penalty in the Semi-Final shoot-out.

Not only this, but Denmark also beat the odds once again to defeat favourites Germany 2-0 in the final.

Marco Van Basten’s winning goal (Holland v USSR, 1988)

The 1988 Euros were a happier time for striker Van Basten, whose incredible form led the Dutch to the ultimate prize. This tournament is most renowned for Van Basten’s stunning goal in the final against USSR, as the Dutchman met a raking, cross-field ball from Arnold Muhren with a first-time volley from the far right angle of the penalty area. This instinctive shot arrowed beyond Russian goal keeper Rinat Dasaev into the top corner from a seemingly impossible angle, securing a 2-0 win for the Dutch and enabling them to lift the trophy.

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