Euro 2020: EVERY team in European Championship history... ranked!

West Germany, 1980 European Championship - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020
(Image credit: PA Images)

This feature on the European Championship's best teams is from the Euro 2020 preview issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe now and never miss an issue!

A total of 38 European teams have taken part in the continent’s biggest international competition. FFT has crunched the numbers and worked out each country’s win percentage. The results may not be quite as expected

=35. Slovenia, 0% | Tournaments: 1

Slovenia, Euro 2000 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Group stage (2000)

High: Surging into a 3-0 lead in their first ever Euros fixture, as Zlatko Zahovic weaved his magic against rivals Yugoslavia. What a moment! Nothing could go wrong now...

Low: Blowing a 3-0 lead in their first ever Euros fixture, as Yugoslavia rescued a 3-3 draw. Slovenia ended the finals winless and haven’t qualified since.

=35. Latvia, 0% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Group stage (2004)

High: A heroic 0-0 draw with Germany, after the no-less-heroic feat of qualifying at all, thanks in no small part to Marian Pahars.

Low: Well, these days they’re ranked 138th in the world with one victory in their last 21 Euros qualifiers, but let’s not dwell on that. 

=35. CIS, 0% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Group stage (1992)

High: Their Adidas kit was nice.

Low: The Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS – consisting of the Soviet Union minus Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and created after the USSR dissolved between qualifying for Euro 92 and Euro 92 itself – lost 3-0 to Scotland, then disbanded in shame (and possibly a few other reasons as well).

=35. Austria, 0% | Tournaments: 2

Austria, Euro 2008 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Group stage (2008, 2016)

High: Not having to qualify, as 2008 co-hosts.

Low: Failing to win a single match across two tournaments. While 2016 was a big letdown, being sent home – at home – by Germany and a Michael Ballack screamer hurt more.

34. Romania, 6.3% | Tournaments: 5

Best result: Quarter-finals (2000)

High: Coming up against Phil Neville at Euro 2000. The defender gave away an 89th-minute penalty and future Wolves striker Ioan Ganea fired past Nigel Martyn to put Romania through in England’s place.

Low: That remains their one and only victory in 16 European Championship matches.

33. Switzerland, 15.4% | Tournaments: 4

Switzerland, Euro 2016 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Last 16 (2016)

High: Peak Xherdan Shaqiri: a divine overhead kick to level a last-16 tie with Poland in 2016. Alas, Switzerland still lost, so his fleeting moment of magic was for nothing – a bit like his time with Stoke.

Low: Losing 3-0 to England in 2004, when Wayne Rooney became the tournament’s youngest ever goalscorer. The Swiss got their revenge, though: four days later, their own wonderkid broke Rooney’s short-lived record. Remember the name: Johan Vonlanthen… 

=31. Ukraine, 16.7% | Tournaments: 2

Best result: Group stage (2012, 2016)

High: Celebrating their Euros debut in 2012 by beating Sweden 2-1 on home soil, thanks to a brace from veteran Andriy Shevchenko.

Low: Following up those giddy scenes in Kiev by losing their next two matches and being kicked out of their own party.

=31. Bulgaria 16.7% | Tournaments: 2

Best result: Group stage (1996, 2004)

High: Two years after reaching a World Cup semi-final, Bulgaria bagged their only Euros win against Romania in 1996. Bafflingly, the idea of Hristo Stoichkov vs Gheorghe Hagi enticed just 19,107 fans to St James’ Park.

Low: Bulgaria never did have much luck against Sweden: hammered 4-0 in USA 94’s third-place play-off, they lost 5-0 to them at Euro 2004. Henrik Larsson scored in both – the latter, a sumptuous diving header.

30. Poland, 18.2% | Tournaments: 3

Best result: Quarter-finals (2016)

High: A penalty shootout victory over Switzerland at Euro 2016 sent them into the last eight of a major tournament for the first time since the 1982 World Cup.

Low: A disastrous co-hosting of Euro 2012. Poland let a lead slip against Greece; their tie with Russia was marred by fighting between rival fans; and they lost to the Czech Republic to finish bottom of Group A. That went well.

=28. Yugoslavia (Unified), 20% | Tournaments: 4

Best result: Runners-up (1960, 1968)

High: Defeating world champions England in the semi-finals of Euro 68 in Florence. Back then, Yugoslavia were hailed as ‘the Brazilians of Europe’. What’s Serbo-Croat for o jogo bonito?

Low: Getting kicked out of Euro 92 before it even started. The unified Yugoslavia had lost their previous six European Championship tournament matches before the outbreak of war; Croatia and the new Yugoslavia actually went on to get better results, despite each having far fewer players to choose from.

=28. Republic of Ireland, 20% | Tournaments: 3

Republic of Ireland, Euro 88 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: PA Images)

Best result: Last 16 (2016)

High: Beating England on their tournament debut in 1988. Ray Houghton’s header gave Jack Charlton victory over his native country. “Never do that again,” Charlton told him after the game. “What, score against the English?” asked Houghton. “No, score so early,” his manager replied. “That was the hardest 85 minutes of my life.”

Low: Euro 2012. The Boys in Green lost 3-1 to Croatia, 4-0 to Spain and then 2-0 to Italy.

=23. FR Yugoslavia, 25% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Quarter-finals (2000)

High: At Euro 2000, a post-war Federal Republic of Yugoslavia enjoyed a bonkers group stage in their solitary tournament appearance, drawing 3-3 with Slovenia, beating Norway 1-0 and losing 4-3 to Spain having led after 93 minutes. Savo Milosevic shared the Golden Boot with Patrick Kluivert.

Low: Running into Kluivert, who scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 quarter-final shellacking. FR Yugoslavia was soon to be renamed Serbia and Montenegro, who missed out on Euro 2004 before disbanding in 2006.

=23. Sweden, 25% | Tournaments: 6

Best result: Semi-finals (1992)

High: A mesmerising Tomas Brolin goal in Stockholm at Euro 92, assisted by Martin Dahlin and, for some of us, by Barry Davies on commentary. It sent Graham Taylor’s England home, prompting those japesters at The Sun to guffaw, ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’.

Low: Since 1992, Sweden have reached the knockout stage just once. Zlatan Ibrahimovic blazed his spot-kick over the bar as they lost a shootout to the Netherlands at Euro 2004, and if you’re losing on penalties to the Dutch, you belong in the group stage. Ibra remains oddly quiet on the subject.

=23. Slovakia, 25% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Last 16 (2016)

High: In Slovakia’s only appearance, Marek Hamsik netted a belter as they beat Russia.

Low: Losing 3-0 to Germany in the last 16.

23. Northern Ireland, 25% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Last 16 (2016)

High: Take your pick: a 2-0 win over Ukraine; Michael McGovern’s goalkeeping heroics in a 1-0 defeat to Germany sending Norn Iron through on goal difference; and Eric Cantona, shirt open, belting out, “Will Grigg’s on fire, your defence is terrified!” on Eurosport.

Low: Minutes played by Grigg at Euro 2016: zero. And an own goal against Wales sent them home, one day after discovering they were being Brexited against their will. Cruel.

=23. Hungary, 25% | Tournaments: 3

Best result: Semi-finals (1964, 1972)

High: After a semi-final loss to Spain in 1964,  the Magyars beat Denmark to earn bronze in front of 3,869 fans at the Camp Nou – still the lowest attendance for a Euros fixture.

Low: A 4-0 battering by Belgium in the last 16 at Euro 2016. Hungary impressively finished top of Group F in their first appearance at the tournament since 1972, but the grand return ended with a distraught 40-year-old Gabor Kiraly sat on the goal-line in grubby joggers.

22. Denmark, 25.9% | Tournaments: 8

Best result: Winners (1992)

High: Winning the whole damn thing in 1992, despite failing to qualify. When Yugoslavia were banned, Denmark – sat on the beach, so the story goes – were asked to fill in at the last minute. They scraped into the final on the back of less-than-convincing results (0-0, 0-1, 2-1, 2-2) but there they stunned Germany, despite Michael Laudrup’s pre-tournament withdrawal, presumably with the intention of finishing his sandcastle.

Low: Denmark’s return of P3 W0 D0 L3 F0 A8 at Euro 2000 is still the tournament’s worst group-stage performance. Tough draw, mind (France, the Netherlands and Czech Republic).

21. Turkey, 26.7% | Tournaments: 4

Best result: Semi-finals (2008)

High: Semih Senturk’s equaliser in the 122nd minute of their Euro 2008 quarter-final – three minutes after Croatia had scored what seemed to be the winner. Cue a classic finger-to-lips goal celebration, before Turkey triumphed 3-1 on penalties. 

Low: Losing their semi-final in similarly dramatic fashion: Senturk levelled against Germany with four minutes remaining, but Philipp Lahm swiftly bagged the clincher.

20. Russia, 29.4% | Tournaments: 5

Best result: Semi-finals (2008)

High: That year Andrey Arshavin was really good – having helped Zenit to beat Rangers in the UEFA Cup final, he conducted Russia’s shock victory over the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

Low: Euro 2016’s fight with England fans, loss to Slovakia and 3-0 pumping by Wales. Grim.

19. Greece, 31.3% | Tournaments: 4

Greece, Euro 2004 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Winners (2004)

High: Beating all-comers in 2004 despite showing no hints of capability before nor since. Ruining Portugal’s party by beating the hosts in the opener and the final, making Cristiano Ronaldo cry, was objectively funny.

Low: Their ill-fated title defence. The Ethniki lost all three group games in 2008. Yet even that was bliss compared to a Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that saw Greece finish bottom of their group, having lost twice to the Faroes. Claudio Ranieri was sacked after the first of those defeats; eight months later, he joined Leicester, which turned out all right.

18. England, 32.3% | Tournaments: 9

Best result: Semi-finals (1968, ’96)

High: The summer of 1996: Gazza’s goal against Scotland, that 4-1 demolition of the Dutch, Stuart Pearce’s emotional penalty against Spain... we forget how it all ended. 

Low: There’s plenty of choice – England’s 31 games at the Euros have brought 10 defeats and only 10 wins – although the nadir was clearly 2016’s defeat to Iceland, a nation with a population equivalent to Leicester... who, admittedly, were English champions. 

=15. Scotland, 33.3% | Tournaments: 2

Best result: Group stage (1992, 1996)

High: Ally McCoist’s Euro 96 rocket against Switzerland – the Scots were briefly set for the quarter-finals until Patrick Kluivert’s consolation goal against England sent the Dutch through instead, on goals scored.

Low: The 60 seconds against England when David Seaman repelled Gary McAllister’s penalty, then Paul Gascoigne embarrassed Colin Hendry – particularly painful for Celtic fans, as Gazza was with Rangers at the time.

=15. Norway, 33.3% | Tournaments: 1

Norway, Euro 2000 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Group stage (2000)

High: Steffen Iversen’s winner against Spain on their Euros debut, a match refereed by an official from the European hub of, uh, Egypt.

Low: Drawing with Slovenia was enough to put Norway through, as long as Spain didn’t beat Yugoslavia. The Iberians were trailing in the 93rd minute, so get the party started. Then Spain scored twice. Party cancelled. 

15. Albania, 33.3% | Tournaments: 1

Best result: Group stage (2016)

High: Albania’s one Euros victory is enough to give them a better win rate than England. Armando Sadiku’s header did for Romania and gave Albania hope of a last-16 place.

Low: It’s the hope that kills you – with third place in Group A secured, the Eagles had to hang around for three days to find out if they were a ‘good enough third’ to earn passage to the knockouts. They were not. 

14. Czechoslovakia, 37.5% | Tournaments: 3

Best result: Winners (1976)

High: Few footballers have a trick named after them, but Antonin Panenka’s ice-cool title-winning penalty in the Euro 76 Final sparked generations of imitators. Up until the country’s split in ’93, Czechoslovakia had one of the European Championship’s best records: one trophy triumph and a pair of third-place finishes. 

Low: Owing to the knockout format of the early tournament, Czechoslovakia’s 3-0 loss to the USSR in 1960 meant any hope of glory was extinguished after little more than an hour. Thanks for coming. At least they stuck around in Marseille for long enough to beat France 2-0 in the third-place play-off.

13. Iceland, 40% | Tournaments: 1


Best result: Quarter-finals (2016)

High: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson firing past the world’s most pumped-up man, Joe Hart, to secure victory over England at Euro 2016. Iceland also secured their status as the darlings of Europe, having already irked Cristiano Ronaldo in the group stage (“They showed a small mentality and aren’t going to do anything in the competition”), and were thus forgiven for the time they set off that volcano and caused continent-wide travel chaos, the cheeky scamps.

Low: Going into half-time of their last-eight clash 4-0 down to France. At least they beat the hosts 2-1 in the second half...

12. Belgium, 41.2% | Tournaments: 5

Best result: Runners-up (1980)

High: Winning their group to automatically advance to the final in 1980. 

Low: Going out in Euro 2000’s group stage, on home soil. Needing to draw with Turkey, they were 2-0 down to Hakan Sukur’s brace before goalkeeper Filip De Wilde took his name too literally and tried to decapitate Arif Erdem.

11. Czech Republic, 41.7% | Tournaments: 6

Czech Republic, Euro 96 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: PA Images)

Best result: Runners-up (1996)

High: Since Czechoslovakia split, the Czech Republic have reached only one World Cup finals but qualified for all seven European Championships. Explain that. The highlight of their journey to the Euro 96 Final was Karel Poborsky’s scoop over Portugal’s Vitor Baia, though he later told FFT, “I didn’t mean to hit it so high.” Don’t spoil the magic.

Low: Losing the Euro 96 Final to Germany thanks to the first golden goal ever scored in international football, then losing the Euro 2004 semi-final to Greece thanks to the only silver goal ever scored in international football. Curse UEFA and their meddling!

10. Italy, 42.1% | Tournaments: 9

Best result: Winners (1968)

High: Looking back, the Azzurri’s only European Championship triumph seems quaintly old-fashioned. Their semi-final win against the now-defunct USSR was decided on a coin toss after extra time, then the final against Yugoslavia (also now defunct) ended in another draw, in front of 68,000 in Rome. Both teams – but only 32,000 fans – returned two days later for a replay. Italy won it 2-0.

Low: Simone Zaza’s penalty against Germany in 2016. Brought on at the end of extra time specifically for the one task of scoring it, he embarked upon a bizarre stutter run-up that seemed to take around 15 minutes, only to stick his foot through the ball and welly it into orbit. In short: history’s funniest penalty.

9. Croatia, 44.4% | Tournaments: 4

Best result: Quarter-finals (1996, 2008)

High: Beating holders Denmark 3-0 at their first major tournament in 1996. Davor Suker’s dink left Peter Schmeichel wafting at air, four months before Philippe Albert did the same thing for Newcastle. Stay on your line, Peter.

Low: Two of the Vatreni’s best ever players made a mess of their penalties in Croatia’s Euro 2008 shootout defeat to Turkey, as Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic both fired wide.

8. Spain, 47.5% | Tournaments: 10

Spain, Euro 2012 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Winners (1964, 2008, 2012)

High: Thrashing Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 Final, setting numerous records. With the biggest victory ever recorded in the final – helped, to be fair, by injuries reducing Italy to 10 men after only an hour – Spain became the first team to retain the trophy, and the first to make nine billion passes in one match.

Low: Becoming the only side over a 28-year stretch to lose a penalty shootout to England. Barcelona’s Miguel Angel Nadal missed from the spot in the last eight of Euro 96, possibly prompting his 10-year-old nephew, Rafael, a keen footballer, to take up tennis instead.

7. Netherlands, 48.6% | Tournaments: 9

Best result: Winners (1988)

High: Marco van Basten’s rather smashing volley to secure the Netherlands’ only major title, at Euro 88 – arguably the best goal scored in any international final.

Low: Only two years after reaching the World Cup final, the Oranje lost three from three in Euro 2012’s group stage, their performances hampered significantly by a less physical style with a total absence of karate kicks.

6. Germany (Unified), 60% | Tournaments: 7

Best result: Winners (1996)

High: Oliver Bierhoff’s golden goal in the final of Euro 96. It wasn’t pretty, it really should have been saved, but in true German fashion, it got the job done. The result: a first – and so far, only – European Championship title for Die Mannschaft since their reunification in 1990.

Low: Germany’s failure to win a single game at Euro 2000 was a national disaster and an official inquiry was launched. Despite an impressive recovery to reach the 2002 World Cup Final, they repeated their Euros failure in 2004 – eliminated after losing their last group game to the Czech Republic. Bad news for Germany; great news for fans of close-ups showing an absolutely furious Oliver Kahn.

5. France, 51.3% | Tournaments: 9

Best result: Winners (1984, 2000)

High: Coming from behind to beat Portugal in a dramatic Euro 84 semi-final on home soil, when Michel Platini scored twice. The slippery playmaker netted, incredibly, nine goals in five games that summer, helping Les Bleus to win their first major trophy. If only his footballing legacy had ended there.

Low: Long before dreaming up the ill-fated globe-trotting concept for Euro 2020 and being banned from football following an ill-fated ethics investigation, Platini was also an ill-fated coach. After failing to guide the French to the 1990 World Cup, he managed zero victories in a group-stage exit from Euro 92 with a team featuring Didier Deschamps, Eric Cantona, Jean-Pierre Papin and Laurent Blanc.

4. Portgual, 51.4% | Tournaments: 7

Best result: Winners (2016)

High: Eder had left Swansea on loan midway through 2015/16, netting no goals in 13 Premier League appearances. He ended that season by writing his name into the history books, as the striker's extra-time stunner in the Euro 2016 Final gave Portugal their first international trophy.

Low: Captain Cristiano Ronaldo saved himself for the glory-seeking fifth kick of a shootout against Spain in the Euro 2012 semi-finals - a fine plan, until Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed their penalties and Portugal lost 4-2, with no need for a fifth to be taken. If you want something done properly...

3. USSR, 53.8% | Tournaments: 5

Best result: Winners (1960)

High: Coming from a goal down against Yugoslavia to win the first European Championship in 1960 – the country’s finest achievement since they sent that dog up into space three years earlier.

Low: Losing their next three finals, in 1964, 1972 and 1988. A few years after Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s (largely Ukrainian) team were beaten by Marco van Basten’s Netherlands at Euro 88, the USSR ceased to exist.

2. West Germany, 60% | Tournaments: 5

Best result: Winners (1972, 1980)

High: West Germany actually had a better record before reunification, when all of the East Germans turned up and apparently ruined football for everybody. Gerd Muller’s double helped West Germany to spank the Soviets in the 1972 final, on their first Euros appearance; they’d failed to qualify in 1968, and hadn’t bothered to enter before that. 

Low: Even by German standards, a total of five tournaments producing two trophies, a final lost on penalties and one semi-final appearance is impressive, so a poor showing at Euro 84 sticks out like a sore thumb. West Germany were still minutes from reaching the semis, only for a last-gasp Spain goal to eliminate them in the group stage.

1. Wales, 66.7% | Tournaments: 1

Wales, Euro 2016 - European Championship's best teams, Euro 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best result: Semi-finals (2016)

High: Hal Robson-Kanu reinventing the Cruyff turn to stun Belgium, second in the world rankings, in Euro 2016’s quarter-finals. The 3-1 win gave Wales a fourth success at their debut tournament – narrow victories over Slovakia and Northern Ireland having been punctuated by a freewheeling drubbing of Russia – and the best win percentage of any team in European Championship history. 

Low: Daniel Sturridge’s 92nd-minute winner for England in Group B was painful – but it’s fair to say Wales got over that pretty quickly.


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