The Best

The best goals in European Championship history - ranked

Jamie Spencer
Paul Gascoigne produced a magical goal for England vs Scotland at Euro '96
Paul Gascoigne produced a magical goal for England vs Scotland at Euro '96 / Stu Forster/Getty Images

European Championship tournaments have created some of the most memorable moments in football history over the decades, with countless incredible goals and stunning pieces of both individual and team brilliance.

Here’s a look at 15 of the best goals scored in Euro games…

15. Frank de Boer vs France – Euro 2000

Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert
De Boer scored a glorious free kick / PHILIPPE HUGUEN/Getty Images

Netherlands defender Frank de Boer took a quick free-kick to try and catch France goalkeeper Bernard Lama off guard in his team’s final group game of Euro 2000.

But it still needed incredible precision and power to find its way into the net, bending around the wall à la Roberto Carlos at Le Tournoi in 1997 - which was ironically also against France.

14. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs France – Euro 2012

It was a hopeful and rather aimless cross that Zlatan Ibrahimovic managed to turn into a world class goal for Sweden against France at Euro 2012.

As the ball dropped, the striker - known for his taekwondo skills - flung his whole body into what was effectively a roundhouse kick to send it crashing into the far corner, putting his team on course for victory.

13. Rui Costa vs England – Euro 2004

Goals always look better when the ball clips the woodwork on its way into the net, which was exactly the case Rui Costa scored in extra-time for Portugal against England at Euro 2004.

The AC Milan midfielders carried the ball from the halfway line deep inside the England half, shrugging off the attention of Phil Neville, before unleashing a venomous strike.

12. John Jensen vs Germany – Euro ‘92

John Jensen was famously goal shy for much of his career and had never scored in more than 50 international games for Denmark before the Euro ’92 final against world champions Germany.

But none of that mattered as he wound up to strike at goal for the underdogs, rifling the ball in from the edge of the penalty area to give the Danes a lead they never relinquished.

11. David Trezeguet vs Italy – Euro 2000

David Trezeguet’s golden goal ended the Euro 2000 final in favour of France, making it the second European Championship tournament in a row to be decided in sudden death circumstances.

As the ball came into the penalty area, Trezeguet dropped back away from the six-yard box and wrapped his left foot around the ball to send it high into the net and end the final.

10. Mario Balotelli vs Germany – Euro 2012

For the summer of 2012, Mario Balotelli was everything that he was always supposed to be as he spearheaded Italy’s charge to the Euro final.

He was unplayable in the semi-final against Germany and his second goal of the 2-1 win showcased his ability superbly, beating the offside trap, setting himself and slamming the ball into the top corner of the net.

9. Tomas Brolin vs England – Euro ‘92

Two swift one-twos took England apart and put Sweden’s Tomas Brolin into position to score one of the most famous Euro goals, with his first time shot giving England goalkeeper Chris Woods no chance.

Brolin was at the peak of his powers at that time, having joined Parma in Serie A two years earlier, but injuries began to catch up with him not long after.

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Italy – Euro 2004

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored what should have been an impossible goal for Sweden against Italy in the group stage at Euro 2004, which resulted in the Italians being knocked out of the tournament.

With his back to goal, a bouncing ball and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pretty much on top of him, Ibrahimovic flicked his heel to send the ball looping over the defender on the goal-line in the only place it could have gone in.

7. Maniche vs Netherlands – Euro 2004

Maniche put Portugal into their first ever international final in 2004 with a screamer that decided the semi-final against Netherlands.

Still brimming with confidence after winning the Champions League with Porto, the midfielder blasted the ball from the corner of the penalty area, watching it bend back inside to nestle in the top corner.

6. Antonin Panenka vs West Germany – Euro ‘76

Although strictly not an official goal because it was scored in a penalty shootout, Antonin Panenka produced one of the most iconic moments in the history of football to decide the 1976 European Championship in favour of Czechoslovakia.

That famously bold chipped finish has been copied the world over ever since and the move now bears his name.

5. Davor Suker vs Denmark – Euro ‘96

Croatia put holders Denmark to the sword at Euro ’96 at what was their first ever tournament as an independent nation.

Davor Suker rounded off the 3-0 rout by scoring a sublime chip with the outside of his left foot over Peter Schmeichel, who was unquestionably the bets goalkeeper in the world at the time. It was just effortless class.

4. Karel Poborsky vs Portugal – Euro ‘96

Karel Poborsky produced one of the all-time cult Euro goals in 1996 when he finished a mazy dribble with an unorthodox scooped lob to put Czech Republic into the semi-finals.

Putting his foot right underneath the ball, the height he got on the effort to send well clear of the reach of Portugal goalkeeper Vitor Baia is what has made it so memorable.

3. Ronnie Whelan vs USSR – Euro ‘88

A long throw assist was what set up Ronnie Whelan’s acrobatic volley for Ireland against the mighty Soviet Union at Euro ’88, making a perfect first time connection as the ball reached him in the penalty area.

It was a first ever major international tournament for the Irish and marked the start of a golden era under the leadership of Jack Charlton.

2. Paul Gascoigne vs Scotland – Euro ‘96

The mercurial genius of Paul Gascoigne was capture in a single moment at Euro ’96 when he scored a truly unbelievable goal for England against rivals Scotland.

The way he feigned to shoot and lifted the ball over a dumbfounded Colin Hendry before connecting with a low volley on his opposite foot was the stuff of absolute magic.

1. Marco van Basten vs USSR – Euro ‘88

Not only is the best goal in European Championship history, there is reason to argue that Marco van Basten’s seemingly impossible volley in the Euro ’88 final for Netherlands against Soviet Union is the greatest goal in football history.

He was so far wide when he struck the ball that there was no possible way he could have scored, but it was hit with such accuracy and control that it flew in regardless.

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