Football is about goals and the European Championships have seen some real beauties over the years
Paul Gascoigne v Scotland, 1996
Said to be England’s best ever goal and best ever celebration by their best ever player. Lifting the ball over the head of an onrushing defender with a flick of the left boot and volleying home with the right, it was a moment of pure Gazza.
Marco Van Basten v USSR, 1988
The greatest goal in the memory of Dutch football clinched the final for the Oranje. Latching onto a deep cross the former Ajax and AC Milan hitman caught a volley with such perfect technique and power the soviet keeper was helpless to stop it firing across the face of his goal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Italy, 2004: The Zlatan loves a great Euro goal. There was the scissor kick against France in Euro 2012 an unstoppable drive against Greece in 2008. For sheer inventive Zlattanery, however, we like the martial arts black belt’s diving back-heel flick against Italy. One more this year please.
Antonin Panenka v West Germany, 1976
You’ve seen the penalty when the taker waits for the goalkeeper to dive to one side before casually dinking it down the centre before, right? Well it named after the Czechoslovakian midfielder had the audacity to score the winning kick of the 76 final with the technique named in his honour. Cool as can be.
Davor Suker v Denmark, 1996
Lobbing the 191cm bulk of Peter Schmeichel is never easy. Even though the Danish goalkeeper, then at the height of his fame, had just run the full length of the pitch having gone up for a corner the Croat technician lifted his shot with such precision it was a moment of perfection when he arced his most famous shot into the net.
Oliver Bierhoff v Czech Republic, 1996
Not the prettiest goal but golden, nevertheless, for Germany as it gave them the trophy in 1996. At the time UEFA had a ruling that any goal scored after the 90 minutes and in extra time would be decisive and end the match before penalties and that is exactly what Udinese forward Bierhoff did, launching a late-blooming international career as he did so.
Ronnie Whelan v USSR, 1988
Mick McCarthy’s long throw launched a speculative ball more than half the width of the pitch and was a sight in itself. The acrobatic volley of from Liverpool legend Ronnie Whelan was a masterclass of technique, bravado and power that would not have been out of place had it happened on a Brazilian beach.
Frank De Boer v France, Euro 2012: His team trailing to France and needing a victory to top a difficult group De Boer did what captains should always do. Stepped in and hit a curling rocket of a free kick from all of 35 yards beyond a helpless ‘keeper.
Michel Platini v Portugal, 1984
Nine goals in five games is decent by any standards but it was the patience of this semi-final winner that was the pick of the bunch. Cool as can be, Platini eyed three players on the goal line in the 119th minute before calmly slotting home and avoiding the lottery of a penalty shootout.
Thomas Brolin v England, 1992
Remembered in England as one of the worst ever foreign signings to play in the Premier League his reputation has taken something of a battering. It’s a long way since his surging run and neat one-two tore English defence apart on the way to winning the tournament’s top scorer award.