UEFA EURO: Top 10 bizarre moments in history

Check out the top ten most bizarre moments in UEFA EURO history. Get more about the unbelievable goals and shocking incidents that have left fans speechless in the history of the tournament.

Deepak Joshi
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10 bizarre moments in Euro Cup history (Source: Twitter)

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UEFA Euro is the most prestigious multi-nation European tournament played every four years. The 17th edition of the tournament is set to be played later this year in June 2024; the 64-year-long history of the tournament across 16 seasons has been played since the tournament’s inception in 1960. 

However, the tournament has brought up a lot of historic moments in the last 64 years, be it stunning, sensational wins or unbelievable defeats and everything that went on to get registered in history books. 

Here are the 10 bizarre moments in EURO's history:

10. Gazza’s unexpected celebration – UEFA Euro 1996 

28 years back in the year 1996, the UEFA Euro was played in England; the hosts England took on Scotland in the group stage match. More than the win against the nearest rivals, what made the headlines was the celebration by Paul Gascoigne after getting better of the opponent stars Colin Hendry and Andy Goram. 

Just after scoring the Goal Paul Gascoigne aka Gazza re-created an infamous scandal the English team were involved in a few weeks back from the match. He was seen lying down on the field with his teammates pouring a drink in his mouth. 

9. An Amazing Volley by Marco Van Basten – UEFA Euro 1988

The final of the UEFA Euro 1988 was played between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union at the Olympiastadion in Munich, West Germany. The Dutch team was studded with some of the superstars of that era, including the likes of Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, and Frank Rijkaard. 

Ruud Gullit opened the scoreline for the Netherlands in the first half of the game; later, everyone was left stunned by the sensational goal scored by Van Basten in the second half of the game, brilliantly executing a volley from a very tough angle. 

8. Unforgettable Pose from Mario Balotelli – UEFA Euro 2012 

The 14th edition of the UEFA Euro Championship was played in Ukraine; fans and experts of the game still consider the semi-final match of this edition in 2012 as one of the most iconic moments in the history of the Championship. It was played between Germany and Italy. 

Mario Balotelli was the sole superstar of Italy’s 2-1 win over Germany in the semi-final of the tournament. He scored the first goal of the match for Italy in the 20th minute of the game followed by the second goal which was brilliantly executed from 20 yards from the goal post. What attracted the eyeballs was Balotelli’s celebration after this goal, in which he ripped off his shirt and flexed his muscles as his second goal confirmed Italy’s entry into the title clash of the tournament.

7. Denmark’s Cinematic ‘Title Win’ – UEFA Euro 1992 

It was the last edition of the UEFA Euro Championship which was played with the eight teams. Just a few months back, things didn’t happen as expected for Denmark as they failed to qualify for the main edition of the UEFA Euro 1992. But still, the tables turned in Denmark’s favour as UN sanctions forced the exit of Yugoslavia just ahead of the commencement of the tournament. 

It gave an entry to Denmark in the main draw of the prestigious European quadrennial; apart from the tournament entry, the journey of Denmark was also cinematic throughout the tournament as they were on the verge of exit after a 0-1 defeat against the hosts, Sweden. But out of everyone’s expectations, Lars Olsen-led side made it to the semi-final and played a 2-2 draw against the defending champions Holland before beating them by 2-1 in the penalties. 

Later, Denmark stunned Germany in the final and clinched the summit clash by 2-0 to claim their first-ever and also a ‘dramatic’ title in the history of UEFA Euro Championship 1992. 

6. The miraculous ‘Euro Journey’ of Greece – UEFA Euro 2004 

The UEFA Euro Championship 2004 was played in Portugal and it was undoubtedly one of the most thrilling editions ever played since its inception in 1960. England under Sven-Goran Erikson were dubbed as one of the hot favourites to win the tournament while then reigning champions France were also among the favourites. 

But Greece stunned everyone in this 16-team prestigious European quadrennial, starting their journey with a 2-1 win against Portugal but a defeat against Russia made it quite difficult for Greece. But they eliminated the hosts France in the quarter-final followed by an amazing win against Czechs in the semi-finals.

Later in the tournament's final against Portugal, Theodoros Zagorakis shocked the football world, winning the summit clash by 1-0 owing to the brilliant goal scored by Angelos Charisteas. 

5. Iceland stun England in Round of 16 – UEFA Euro 2016 

It’s been almost 8 years since England faced a shocking exit from UEFA Euro 2016 after they were handed an embarrassing defeat by the ‘minnows’ Iceland in the round of 16 clash.  Both teams locked horns in the pre-quarter-final match on June 28, 2016, at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, France.

England were one of the hot favourites of this match and the former great centre-forward Wayne Rooney proved the English dominance with an early goal just in the 4th minute in a penalty. But Ragnar Sigurdsson brought Iceland back into the game just two minutes later and scored a stunning field goal in the sixth minute of the match. 

Iceland levelling the score with England left the crowd stunned but what was the out-of-nowhere shock for England fans was the second goal scored by Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in the 18th minute in Iceland’s favour to get a lead of 2-1 and sealing a berth in the quarter-finals against France. 

4. The Origin of Trademark ‘Paneka’ Penalty – UEFA Euro 1976

The final of the UEFA Euro 1976 is still ranked as one of the greatest finals ever played in the history of the tournament. It saw the origin of the ‘Paneka’ penalty credited to the former Czech attacking midfielder Antonin Paneka as the star footballer’s trademark penalty shot earned an amazing title for Czechoslovakia against West Germany in the summit clash of the tournament. 

The main time of match ended with a scoreline of 2-2 between Czechoslovakia and Germany as the latte made a stunning comeback to equalize the score, to take the match in the penalty shoot-out. The fans witnessed consecutive penalty shots going straight into the goal post before Uli Hoeness missed his chance and the Czechs lifted the title of the UEFA Euro Championship 1976. 

3. Platini led France in a historic ‘semi-final win’ against Portugal – UEFA Euro 1984 

One of the greatest skippers in the history of French football, Michel Platini was also among the star performers for France in the UEFA Euro Championship 1984. The semi-final of the tournament was played between the hosts France and Portugal at the Stade de Marseille in Marseille, France. 

It was a thrilling encounter between both the teams, which went on till the 120th minute to find the conclusion of the match. Jean-Francois Domergue scored the opening goal of the match and France took a lead of 1-0 in the 24th minute. Later, Rul Jordao’s double in the 74th and the 98th minute helped Portugal to make a comeback against the hosts. 

But the French had some other plans on the day as Domergue scored an equalizer in the 114th minute followed by skipper Platini’s winner in the 119th minute to help France win 3-2 to go in the Final against Spain and become the champions later with ‘2-0 win’ in Final.

2. Andrey Arshavin crushes Dutch hopes – UEFA Euro 2008 

The Netherlands and Russia took on each other in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro 2008 on June 22, 2008, Pavlyuchenko’s first goal in the 56th minute of the match gave a 1-0 lead in Russia’s favour followed by Van Nisterlrooy’s equalizer in the 86th minute in favour of the Netherlands. 

The match went into extra time and Torbinski scored a goal in the 112th minute to help Russia take the lead of 2-1. Furthermore, the star left winger Andrey Arshavin finally crushed the hopes of the Dutch with a goal in the 116th minute to help Russia win by 3-1 and cruise into the semis against Spain.

1. Italy winning the title in a Toss – UEFA Euro 1968 

It was only the third edition of the prestigious European quadrennial since it started 8 years back then in 1960. One of the semi-finals of this edition was played between Italy and the Soviet Union which was also a ‘dramatic’ clash, in which the result was decided in a coin toss. 

It all happened as no goals were scored until the main time of 90 minutes and even in the extra-time as well; eventually, Italy won the coin toss and made it to the finals against Yugoslavia.

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