The tournament has provided some sensational goals over the years.
The European Championships provide us a great spectacle to witness our favourite football stars pull on their national team jerseys for a month of continental football. The Euros have also witnessed some amazing goals.
The quadrennial event has produced some special moments ever since its inception in 1960. The tournament has seen some of football’s finest compete against each other. Many of them have added to their burgeoning legacies by lifting the continent’s biggest prize. The tournament’s on-field exploits have also seen some spectacular goals that have enthralled us over the years.
Here we catalogue the top 10 most amazing goals in the competition:
10. Wesley Sneijder Vs France (2008)
In the 2008 edition, the Netherlands and France contested a Group C game. Both teams were looking to make their way out of a tough group also featuring Italy and Romania.
The Dutch completely dominated proceedings and stormed to a 4-1 win in Bern. The win was crested with a fabulous goal from Wesley Sneijder in the final minutes of the game. Sneijder took the ball outside his box and slammed a shot past the keeper. The midfielder showed great quality to find the net, despite his side facing the goal and with two on-rushing France defenders.
9. Frank De Boer Vs France (2000)
Another instance of a Dutchman scoring against France in the Euros came eight years earlier, when current Netherlands coach Frank de Boer scored in the millennial edition.
De Boer smacked a free-kick from almost 40 yards which took French goalkeeper Bernard Lama by surprise and left him stunned. The ball flew past him into the net at a ferocious pace and helped the Netherlands get back into the game, having been down 2-1 till that time to the eventual champions.
8. Gareth Bale Vs England (2016)
The 2016 edition saw plenty of stunning goals and one among them was Gareth Bale’s free-kick against England. Bale, who had also scored from a set-piece in the previous game (against Slovakia) took the dead-ball from almost 35 yards and hit a fizzing shot over the wall. Although Joe Hart got a hand to it, the shot from Bale was too good for him to keep out.
Bale’s free-kick gave Wales the lead, but their rivals eventually got the last laugh, as they ran out 2-1 victors on the day.
7. Eder Vs France (2016)
The 2016 final featured a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal lift their first-ever international trophy and overcome hosts France in a tense game. The only goal in the game came in the 109th minute, when Eder stepped up and took a slippery shot from almost 25 yards out. The ball slid between Hugo Lloris and the post to give Portugal the lead and a historic win.
The intensity of the situation, the composure and the confidence that was required to take that shot at the time made it a memorable goal and one among the best.
6. Maniche Vs Netherlands (2004)
The 2016 winners were the hosts in the 2004 edition and their semi-final game against the Netherlands featured a goal to remember from Portuguese midfielder Maniche.
Portugal took a 1-0 lead thanks to a young Cristiano Ronaldo and were pushing for a bigger advantage. A corner in the 58th minute was taken quickly by Luis Figo, who passed it to fellow midfielder Maniche. Seeing that the Dutch weren’t yet settled in their defence, Maniche sensed his chance and unleashed a fiery strike from the left wing.
The ball curled beautifully past the outstretched hand of Edwin van der Sar and nestled in the far corner. A stunning curler from Maniche who scored from almost 25 yards from a tough angle.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo Vs Hungary (2016)
The legendary Portuguese has scored some spectacular goals in his tally of 103 for his nation, but his best at the Euros came in a thrilling draw against Hungary in 2016.
Both teams faced each other in a Group F encounter, with Portugal needing a win or draw to keep themselves in the competition. But, Hungary took a surprise 2-1 lead putting the Selecao in danger of getting knocked out in the group stages.
A cross from Joao Mario saw Ronaldo in space, but with the tight angle needing something creative. A cheeky back-flick saw the ball eke past the outstretched Hungarian keeper to bring Portugal back into the game and in the competition.
4. Mario Balotelli Vs Republic of Ireland (2012)
Mario Balotelli had a standout campaign in 2012 and was the player to watch out for. The Italian scored thrice in the tournament and led his team to the final.
Italy led 1-0 and against the Republic of Ireland. From a corner floated in, Balotelli faced stiff resistance from Irish defender John O’ Shea, but unleashed a scissor-kick which slammed into the net.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic Vs France (2012)
When we talk of spectacular goals, we have to talk about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In the 2012 edition, the maverick Swede made his mark with a sensational scissor-kick against France.
Ibrahimovic smashed home the goal from the edge of the box, showcasing his exceptional balance and timing to generate power and precision from far out.
2. Mario Balotelli Vs Germany (2012)
The semi-final tie between Germany and Italy saw Balotelli’s individual brilliance in that tournament in full flow. The former AC Milan striker gave Italy the lead and in the 36th minute, he scored one of the goals of the edition.
Balotelli collected a long pass from Milan team-mate Riccardo Montolivo while successfully beating the offside trap laid by the German defenders. He utilized the vast space ahead of him and the chance to put Italy in the lead. Balotelli took the ball in his stride and smashed an unstoppable shot past Manuel Neuer from just outside the box. He added glitz to the moment by revealing his iconic shirtless “flex” celebration.
1. Xherdan Shaqiri Vs Poland (2016)
The game between Poland and Switzerland in the group stages o the 2016 championship saw a sensational goal from Xherdan Shaqiri in the last minutes, with Switzerland 1-0 down in their Round of 16 fixture against the Poles.
The Liverpool winger latched on to a high ball that lobbed off his teammate and hit a sizzling bicycle kick that completely befuddled Lukasz Fabianski in goal. It brought the Swiss back into the game and Shaqiri did it in spectacular fashion although it was only joy in the day as Poland won the fixtures on penalties to progress to the quarterfinals.