Stories

The best European players ever: How to create the perfect Euro goal

If you were trying to select the ingredients for the ideal way to hit the back of the net in the European Championship, this is what you'd go for… 

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

One of the best things about football is its simplicity.

There's only one way to score points in a game - by putting the ball in the back of the net - and doing so is always worth a single goal, whether it was a glorious 50-yard volley or a scuffed tap-in on the goal-line.

Still, some goals live longer in the memory due to their aesthetic quality or the sheer difficulty of executing the move as intended. With that in mind, we've picked out several elements that, when combined, would make for the perfect European Championship goal...

A Schmeichel save...

The opposition break beyond your defence but Peter Schmeichel is on hand to keep them at bay, just as he was throughout Denmark's remarkable triumph at Euro 92.

1/2 UEFA Euro 1992 Netherlands-Denmark 2-2 (4-5 P.)

Schmeichel keeps the Dutch out in the semi-final in 1992

A Nesta tackle…

The danger's still not been fully averted, though, so Alessandro Nesta steps in to make a crucial slide tackle without losing any of his elegance. Not many defenders could read the game as well as the Italian.

Nesta tackle

Nesta dispossess Sylvain Wiltord in the final of Euro 2000

A Beckenbauer maraud...

Nesta lays the ball off to Franz Beckenbauer, who looks up, assesses his options and decides to carry the ball up the pitch in a manner that was typical of West Germany's attacking sweeper.

1972 UEFA Euro Qualifiers - England v. West Germany

Beckenbauer on a run forward against England in a Euro 1972 play-off

A Xavi pass...

Midfield metronome Xavi, who controlled the tempo of many a Spain game at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, collects the ball and lays off a pass.

Xavi Hernández - Euro 2012

Xavi picks out a team-mate (obviously) against Italy at Euro 2012

An Ibrahimovic touch...

The lofted ball is accurate, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic's delicate control ensures the defender can't get anywhere near it. Good touch for a big man, that Zlatan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Vs France (Euro 2012)  ● Individual Highlights ●  19/06/2012

Zlatan kills it dead against France at Euro 2012

A Gascoigne dribble…

Paul Gascoigne takes possession and sets off on a run, skipping past a couple of challenges before laying the ball off.

Gazza for England

Off goes Gazza...

A Platini through ball…

Michel Platini, the star of France's triumph on home soil at Euro 1984, plays a defence-splitting through ball to set up the striker in a great position.

Tribute Michel Platini: Goals and Assists

France international Platini plays a brilliant through ball for Juventus

A Shearer blast…

There's only one way to finish off a move like this. Over to you, Alan.

EURO ’96 highlights: England 4-1 Netherlands

Shearer smashes home against the Netherlands in 1996

FourFourTwo's guide to Euro 2016: who'll shine, and who to watch out for

Goals: they're beautiful aren't they? This article is part of FourFourTwo's partnership with BetVictor and their Million Pound Goal campaign. Find out how to enter and more here.