Some of these games are considered among the best matches in the tournament till date.
The Euro 2020 competition began with a bang on Friday night – as Italy thrashed Turkey 3-0. It was a relatively one-sided affair in which the Azzurri showcased their dominance at the Stadio Olimpico Stadium in Rome. The 3-0 win is also the biggest opening day result in the euros.
Italy created a record of their own with such a compelling win to boost their chances of winning the competition. So which other games weigh up among the biggest opening day wins in the history of the Euros? Let’s have a look.
5. France 2-1 Romania (Euro 2016)
The majority of the opening day clashes in the history of European Championships have been tight affairs. The majority of these games have been decided by a solitary goal. Similarly, France opened their Euros campaign in 2016 with a dramatic late win over Romania.
Olivier Giroud scored the competition’s opening goal before Bogdan Stancu scored a surprising equalizer. However, Dimitri Payet netted a brilliant winner in the 89th minute to begin Les Bleues’ campaign in style.
4. Greece 2-1 Portugal (Euro 2004)
Euro 2004 remains memorable for many reasons. Often remembered as the competition of the underdogs, Greece scripted a brilliant story to become the first underdog side to lift the trophy. Euro 2004 is also the tournament where the opening game and finale were played between the same teams.
In the first one, Greece prevailed. Giorgios Karagounis stunned the crowd with an emphatic strike seven minutes into the tournament. Angelos Basinas scored a penalty in the second half to make it 2-0. While Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back in the added time – it was not enough to scrape a win for Portugal.
3. West Germany 4-2 Yugoslavia (Euro 1976)
The format of the Euro 1976 included only four teams – who played two ‘semifinals’ before a final and a third-place playoff game. The tournament saw two games kick-off the competition at the same time – one in which West Germany reigned over Yugoslavia.
Danilo Popivada scored the first goal of the tournament but West Germany rallied back in style. After falling 0-2 down, the Germans proved they might be making it 2-2 and force extra-time. In the end, Gerd Muller finished off his hattrick in added time to power West Germany to the finals of the Euros in style.
2. Czechoslovakia 3-1 Netherlands (Euro 1976)
Alongside the West Germany-Yugoslavia clash, Czechoslovakia also faced off against Netherlands in the ‘other’ opening game of the Euro 1976. That was a pretty thrilling affair as well – with Anton Ondrus scoring the joint-first goal of the competition in the 19th-minute. Ondrus then turned from hero to villain with an own-goal in the second-half – forcing extra-time.
However, Czechoslovakia rallied back with goals from Zdenek Nehoda and Frantisek Vasely in the last six minutes of extra-time to move into the finals – where they defeated West Germany to win the competition.
1. Italy 3-0 Turkey (Euro 2020)
The opening game of the latest edition of the Euros was an entertaining, albeit one-sided affair. Italy dominated all the possession against Turkey who looked very defensive. After a goalless first half, the Italians came out punching in the second half. Ironically, it was an own-goal from Merih Demiral that ended up being the first goal of the tournament.
After that, the Azzurri took over and scored twice more in the second half through Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne. That helped record the biggest opening-day win in the history of the Euros & consolidate Roberto Mancini’s men as one of the favourites to win the tournament.