FourFourTwo's 50 Most Memorable Euros Goals: 20-11
Here's the fourth part of our list of the 50 Most Memorable Euros Goals. We're releasing the full selection across the week, so pop back to find the rest.
20. Ray Houghton, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND v England, 1988
Republic of Ireland didn’t get past the group stage and this wasn’t even their best goal of Euro 88, but the looping header will go down in folklore. It came just six minutes into their first game at a major tournament, against much-fancied England, where most of their players plied their trade and for whom their manager, Jack Charlton, won a World Cup. The noise said it all.
19. Oliver Bierhoff, GERMANY v Czech Republic, 1996
Golden goals. Remember those? Course you do. In two of the three Euros for which they counted, a golden goal decided the final. The first came courtesy of late-bloomer Bierhoff, who had only made his international debut four months earlier at the age of 28. Having levelled for Germany in normal time courtesy of a trademark header, the supersub made history with a scrappy effort, which went in via a deflection as well as a weak parry from the keeper. They all count.
18. Alfonso, SPAIN v Yugoslavia, 2000
A dramatic end to perhaps the greatest game in Euros history. Three times Yugoslavia had led; three times Spain equalised, Gaizka Mendieta’s nerveless penalty making it 3-3 deep into second-half stoppage time. But there was a final twist, Alfonso firing into the bottom corner after Spain lumped a free-kick forward in the dying seconds. Norway, who’d beaten the Spanish in their opener, were out.
17. Ladislav Jurkemik, CZECHOSLOVAKIA v Italy, 1980
A defender not known for his scoring prowess, Jurkemik converted Czechoslovakia’s penultimate penalty in the 1976 Final shootout before Antonin Panenka’s famous winning spotkick. The two combined for this strike in the third-place play-off four years later, the latter cutting his corner back to the former, who hammered it first time into the top corner from at least 25 yards out.
16. Pietro Anastasi, ITALY v Yugoslavia, 1968
Pity Yugoslavia. Twice beaten finalists in the first three tournaments, they would later suffer the indignity of being kicked out of Euro 92 only for their replacements Denmark to win the whole bloomin’ thing. On this occasion, they were forced to contest a replayed final two days later, for which they made only one change; the Italians, meanwhile, were able to bring in Gigi Riva, Sandro Mazzola and three other pairs of fresh legs. But it was Anastasi who stole the show, with a quite brilliant control, swivel and volley combo.
15. Davor Suker, CROATIA v Denmark, 1996
Not many strikers made a mug out of Peter Schmeichel in his prime, but then not many strikers had the all-round goalscoring ability of Suker. With the giant Dane bearing down at tight angle, the Croat took the aerial route, chipping an inch-perfect back-spinner into the far corner to complete a 3-0 win. It was Suker's second of the game and he would score another fine goal in the quarter-final against Germany.
14. Mario Balotelli, ITALY v Germany, 2012
Why always him? Because amid the madness and inconsistency, Super Mario is capable of goals – and celebrations – like this. What seemed like route-one stuff actually came about from Balotelli’s clever movement, enabling Riccardo Montolivio to pick out the errant striker, whose excellent first touch, thunderous first-time volley and muscle-flexing pose stick long in the memory.
13. Marcelino Martinez, SPAIN v USSR, 1964
Known simply as Marcelino, and one of Real Zaragoza’s Los Magnificos, the striker belied his lack of height with a brilliant diving header as he retreated to meet Jesus Pereda’s right-wing cross. The goal gave Spain victory in a politically-charged final against the Soviets, with General Franco watching on inside a packed Bernabeu.
11 & 12. Michel Platini, FRANCE v Yugoslavia, 1984
Amid his recent fall from grace as would-be king of the (football) world, it’s easy to forget that Michel Francois Platini is one of Europe’s greatest footballers of all time. Indeed, no player has ever dominated a Euros – in fact, any major tournament – quite like the Frenchman did on home soil in 1984. He scored nine goals in five games, including two hat-tricks and a dramatic semi-final winner against Portugal. But his best both came in the group match against Yugoslavia, a textbook diving header and trademark free-kick proving that Platini was not only a great goalscorer but a scorer of great goals – all kinds of goals.