Euro 96: The Best Goals

Euro 96 didn't have a great number of goals, but it had a number of great ones. Vithushan Ehantharajah and Andy Kennedy bring you the best of the bunch.

1. Karel Poborsky (Czech Republic) v Portugal

There are many who see the fortunes reaped by Poborsky in his career as essentially a by-product of this particular goal, which won the quarter-final. A bit harsh for a talented winger but, in hindsight, it was far from the sign of things to come that it was supposed to be (despite landing him a move to Manchester United, with subsequent stints at Benfica and Lazio). A UEFA poll voted this effort as the “Best Individual Goal in European Championships”, which may be overstating it slightly, but Alex Ferguson was certainly impressed… VE

2. Paul Gascoigne (England) v Scotland

Still awaiting to hear his punishment following reports of mile-high vandalism on the flight back from England’s pre-tournament tour of the Far East (which also happened to coincide with his 29th birthday), Gazza produced a moment of brilliance to remind a nation why it accepted his loutishness. Media outlets across the land condemned the “Lads on Tour” nature of the pre-tournament preparation, singling out Gazza as the worst influence of all. But at that moment he was faultless; even his celebration drew a smile from the hacks. VE

3. Davor Suker (Croatia) v Denmark

Ah, the perils of sending your keeper up for corners. To be fair, if you were going to send anyone up, it would be Peter Schmeichel; unfortunately, the opportunity didn’t arise for him to display his credentials in the opposition box, leaving the Great Dane scampering back to his own as Croatia launched a swift counter-attack. Fair play to the big man, he did get back –  just in time to meet an advancing Davor Suker, who kills the tie with a gorgeous chip over the deflated Dane. As good as the finish was, note how Suker’s first touch makes the goal… VE

4. Vladimir Beschastnykh (Russia) v Czech Republic

In a 3-3 thriller that saw a number of top-drawer strikes, Vladimir Beschastnykh’s stand-out effort gave Russia the lead with five minutes left to play having overturned a 2-0 deficit. The striker receives the ball 35 yards out with his back to goal – but showing the eye for goal that helped him go on to become Russia's all-time top scorer,  he turns his man and unleashes a thunderous effort into the top left-hand corner of Petr Kouba’s. It looked to have marked a sensational comeback for the Russians, only for the Czech Republic to draw level two minutes from time – and go through to the quarter-finals. AK

5. Goran Vlaovic (Croatia) v Turkey

Having had a blood clot removed from his brain the previous year, striker Vlaovic scored his first international goals in March 1996 – and he settled straight in at Euro 96. Coming on to replace Alen Boksic, he scored a late solo effort to ensure Croatia disposed of Turkey 1-0 at the City Ground. The striker receives the ball inside his own half on the break, and in just five touches goes past the last two Turkish defenders, wrongfoots the goalkeeper and slides the ball home to give his side a late lead and all three points. It was the first Croatian goal at a major championships, and there were plenty more to come. AK

6. Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) v Romania

Former 1994 European Footballer of the Year Hristo Stoichkov grabbed the only goal of the game at St. James’ Park as Bulgaria ended Romania’s hopes of advancing past the group stages. While his country would also tumble out of Euro 96 at the first hurdle, the former Barcelona man scored all three of Bulgaria’s goals in the competition. Here his pace and power creates and exploits the gaps in the opposition defence as he pokes the ball home from 10 yards out. AK

7. Davor Suker (Croatia) v Germany

The all-time leading Croatian goalscorer shows some sublime finesse and a cool head in front of goal to draw his country level in their quarter-final against Germany. As Nikola Jurcevic pressures the Germans into some defending, the ball finds its way to Davor Suker, whose rollover bypasses the oncoming keeper Andreas Kopke leaving him free to slot into an empty net. AK

8. Alan Shearer (England) v Holland

Having already put England in front with a first-half penalty, Shearer capped a fine passing move from Terry Venables' side, grabbing his second of the game and giving the hosts a 3-0 lead. A majestic Paul Gascoigne danced past the Dutch defence and found Teddy Sheringham, whose lay-off completely wrong-footed the opposition to find Shearer in clear Wembley acres. As a nation screamed "HIT IT!!!", he did just that, hammering the ball home to help England to the 4-1 win which sent them through as Group A winners. AK

9. Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) v France

The Bulgarians entered the final fixture of the group stages knowing victory would secure their place in the quarter-final. Whilst events failed to materialise as they may have hoped, with France instead booking their place in the knockout rounds thanks to a 3-1 win, Stoichkov scored another cracker, this time a free-kick. With the ball placed just 22 yards from goal, the striker still managed to find the pace and dip to whisk the ball over the five-man France wall and past goalkeeper Bernard Lama. AK

10. Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany) v Russia

Already well at home in England after his Spurs stint, the German captain became the first player to score at three European Championships with a brace in their second game of the tournament. The first of those efforts epitomised the striker’s class and temperament in front of goal: a clever turn took him past Russian defender Yuri Nikiforov before Klinsmann stroked the ball up and round the keeper with the outside of his right boot. AK

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