Top 25 Goals in European Championship History
Finally, the UEFA Euro 2012 opening kick is only days away. With that special occasion coming rapidly, it is time to look back on the history that has been made since 1960.
Before history gets made in Poland and Ukraine by the current stars of the game, let's take a look back at the history that has been made by the past stars of the game.
From Marco van Basten to Stuart Pearce to David Trezeguet and a whole list of former and current players, here are the 25 best goals in the competition's 52-year history.
1960- Viktor Ponedelnik
Back in 1960, UEFA started a tournament called the European Nations' Cup.
The final that year was held in France and only four nations competed.
In the final at the Parc des Princes in Paris, the Soviet Union's Viktor Pondelnik scored the winning goal over Yugoslavia in the 113th minute.
The title was the only one won by the Soviet Union before it dissolved.
Once again, the mighty Soviets reached the European Nations' Cup Final in 1964, but this time it was against Spain and they faced a different result.
Under the watchful eye of General Francisco Franco at the Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain edged the Soviets 2-1.
With the game tied at one after two early goals, Marcelino decided the 1964 final with a low header into the bottom right corner of the net.
This victory would be the final major tournament won by Spain until their recent dominance began with the Euro 2008 crown.
1968- Dragan Dzajic
In 1968, England were the defending World Cup champions but that momentum could not lead into the European Championships in Italy.
The semifinal match with Yugoslavia in Florence featured the only goal in regular or extra time in both semifinal matches.
Dragan Dzajic scored in the 87th minute to crush England's hopes of lifting another trophy.
Yugoslavia ended up losing in the final to host Italy in a replay two days after the two nations drew 1-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
1976- Antonin Panenka
Czechoslovakia won their first European Championship in 1976 thanks to Antonin Panenka's famous goal.
Panenka decided against firing a shot at West German keeper Sepp Maier and by the time Maier made his move right, Panenka chipped the ball over the keeper and the rest is history.
Although the Czechs reached the final in 1996, they have not won the tournament since their 1976 success in Belgrade.
1984- Michel Platini
No one has ever dominated the European Championships quite like Michel Platini did in 1984.
In front of the home French fans, Platini scored nine goals in five games including his semifinal winner against Portugal in extra time.
You could pick any of Platini's nine goals to be on this list, but the semifinal goal meant the most to France as it advanced them to the final at home.
Les Blues easily beat Spain at the Parc des Princes in Paris in the final with Platini scoring the first goal on that day.
1988- Marco Van Basten
Marco van Basten scored his famous 1988 goal in the final against the Soviet Union in West Germany.
The Dutch won the final thanks to a Ruud Gullit goal and the superb volley from van Basten.
The Oranje also avenged a loss that they suffered to the Soviets in the group stage on their way to winning their only major title.
1988- Ronnie Whelan
The Soviets were also the opponents when Ronnie Whelan scored his spectacular goal for Ireland in the group stage.
Whelan's 38th minute goal came in the second game of group play, the game after Ireland's win against England to open the tournament.
Ireland did not win the game, however, as they were equalized by the Soviets in the second half to result in a 1-1 draw.
1992- Tomas Brolin
With first place in the group stage on the line, Euro 1992 host Sweden got a contribution from Tomas Brolin to beat England and win the group.
Brolin's run cut through the defense and sent the crowd in Solna in an uproar.
The Swede scored three goals in the tournament before they exited in the semifinals, enough to finish in a tie for the Golden Boot for the tournament.
1992- John Jensen
John Jensen was the surprise scorer for the surprise winner of Euro 1992.
Jensen scored in the 19th minute of the final in Gothenburg against Germany.
This goal not only was the first goal of the 1992 final but it sprung the signing of Jensen with Arsenal.
Jensen went along to become a cult hero for the Gunners and scored only one goal in his four year career.
1996- Karel Poborsky
In the Euro 1996 tournament in England, the Czech Republic took on Portugal in the quarterfinals.
The game at Villa Park was deadlocked at zero before Karel Poborsky scored in the 56th minute.
The Czechs wold go on to beat France in the semifinals before losing on a golden goal to Germany in the final. More on that goal to come.
1996- Paul Gasciogne
Paul Gasciogne entered the 1996 tournament as one of England's top players and he scored one of the most memorable goals of the tournament.
Gazza scored this goal at Wembley against Scotland in the second game of the group stage.
Up to this point in the tournament it was the most memorable English goal at the 1996 tournament.
1996- Alan Shearer
In the game after Gazza's wonder strike, Alan Shearer delivered this amazing strike in front of the crowd at Wembley.
The goal was the opener in the game against Holland and catapulted the Three Lions to first place in Group A.
England would then have to face Spain in the quarterfinals where another memorable goal happened.
1996- Stuart Pearce
We all know the story, Stuart Pearce missed a penalty in the 1990 FIFA World Cup against West Germany and he was looking for his redemption.
That redemption came at Euro 1996 in front of the home crowd at Wembley in the quarterfinals against Spain.
In the penalty shootout, Pearce scored and his even more famous celebration showed the relief and excitement that scoring the penalty provided Pearce.
1996- Davor Suker
Croatia were well on their way to a victory over Denmark in the second group game and Davor Suker made the game a bit more interesting.
Suker lobbed the ball over Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel in the 90th minute for one of the more memorable goals from Euro 1996.
Croatia did get past the group stage but lost to eventual champions Germany in the quarterfinals.
1996- Oliver Bierhoff
In the final at Wembley in 1996, Germany faced the Czech Republic and they went into extra time.
In extra time, the golden goal rule was in effect and Oliver Bierhoff's 95th minute goal clinched the title for the Germans.
2000- David Trezeguet
Four years after Bierhoff scored his golden goal, David Trezeguet did the same for France in 2000.
Trezeguet's golden goal was scored in the 103rd minute against Italy in the final in Rotterdam.
The striker scored 13 minutes after Sylvain Wiltord scored in the 90th minute to give Les Bleus the momentum heading into extra time.
France earned their second title in 2000, two years after winning the World Cup on their home soil.
2004- Zidedine Zidane
Before becoming notorious for his headbutt in the 2008 FIFA World Cup, Zidane was the world's best player.
Zidane's free kick against England in the group stage in Portugal started the comeback against England for Les Blues.
Zizou scored on a free kick against England and then he scored the game-winner on a penalty kick.
Both goals for Zidane came in stoppage time as the French started their run to the quarterfinals.
2004- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Sweden was a goal down to Italy in their Group C match in Porto before Zlatan Ibrahimovic invoked some creativity.
After a melee in the penalty area, Zlatan took matters into his matters into his own hands and knocked home the 85th minute goal in Porto.
The Swede scored twice in the tournament and it is not the only time he makes this list of amazing goals.
Maniche sent the country of Portugal into celebration with his bending shot from the left side of the penalty area in the 58th minute in Lisbon.
Portugal took their home fans by storm and carried them into the championship game,
But, we all know what happened in that championship game in Lisbon.
2004- Angelos Charisteas
The most famous goal in Greek history came from Angelos Charisteas in Lisbon, Portugal at Euro 2004.
After heading home a goal to beat France in the quarterfinals, Charisteas duplicated his feat with a header against Portugal in the final.
The 2004 triumph was and still is the biggest moment in Greek footballing history.
2008- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
As promised, here is more from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
This goal against Greece opened the scoring for Zlatan and for Sweden at Euro 2008.
The 2-0 win over the defending champions would be the only positive result in Austria and Switzerland for the Swedes as they exited in the group stage.
2008- Michael Ballack
Two years before the influx of youth in the Germany squad in South Africa, they were led by a group of veterans that included captain Michael Ballack.
In the final group game, Germany needed a win over co-hosts Austria to advance into the knockout round.
This free kick goal in the 49th minute was enough to continue Germany's path to the final.
2008- David Villa
David Villa was the leading goal-scorer at Euro 2008 with four goals.
Three of those four came in the first group match against Russia, and his third and final effort on goal was his best that day.
Spain beat Russia 4-1 and then 3-0 in the semifinals on their way to hoisting the trophy in Vienna.
2008- Wesley Sneijder
Before Holland suffered heartbreak in the quarterfinals, they steamrolled through the group stage at Euro 2008.
In their 4-1 blowout of France, it was the final goal by Wesley Sneijder that impressed many fans.
Going to his right, Sneijder was able to curl the ball left and past French keeper Gregory Coupet.
As we all know, the Dutch could not go on to win the title and crashed out against Russia in the quarterfinals
2008- Fernando Torres
This was the last goal scored at the European Championships and it was the goal that won it all for Spain.
Fernando Torres, back when he knew how to score goals, flicked the ball over German keeper Jens Lehmann in the 33rd minute to clinch the title for Spain.
The title was the first since 1964 for La Furia Roja, and they then went on to win the World Cup two years later with almost the same squad that competed in Austria and Switzerland.
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