Since 1958, the Euros have treated football fans around the globe to a plethora of great events, with teams showcasing their ability on football’s biggest stage.
Euro 2020 was originally scheduled to start on June 11th, but was pushed back to next year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Since football fans are missing out on the action, here are some great teams from the past that have won the European Championship.
The Greatest Teams To Have Played In the Euros
Spain (Euro 2012):
In 2012, Spain made history. Del Bosque’s men became the first team to win back-to-back European Championships, not to mention the 2010 World Cup as well.
This was a side that accomplished total domination from 2008-2012. They have gone down as one of the best teams in footballing history. They were absolutely unstoppable. With a squad overflowing with talent, the Spaniards were capable of anything on their day.
The Spaniards were known for their exquisite style of football. For example, they won the tournament with no recognised striker! Cesc Fabregas operated as a false-nine, forever interchanging with the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Silva.
They were unbeaten in the group, and defeated the likes of France and Portugal on their way to the final. Even though they already had an impressive run, Spain saved the best for last. The final against Italy will go down as one of the best performances by a national team, in the history of football.
Everyone remembers Xavi’s fine ball to Alba, who scored the second. A dominant 4:0 final win was a compliment to Italy, Spain were ruthless.
Throughout the game, the midfield and the front three were narrow, in an attempt to win the midfield battle with the Italians. Once they had the ball in the midfield, their quick and intricate passing allowed them to dominate the game.
Another big factor was Spain’s fullbacks. Alba and Arbeloa would exploit the gaps out wide and get in behind the Italian defense.
Conceding just one goal in the whole tournament, this Spanish team is considered as one of the greatest teams to have ever played the game. Their movement off the ball was almost magical to watch. Their midfield ran the show that year, wreaking havoc for every defense they faced.
Holland (Euro 1988):
This was the second generation of the great Dutch team. The world had the pleasure of witnessing the great Johan Cruyff. Sadly, Cruyff never managed to win a trophy with his beloved nation.
On paper, it wasn’t Holland’s finest team. Nevertheless, their team in the ’88 Euros was still exciting.
Rinus Michels had some world-class talent in his squad. The likes of; Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, and Frank Rijkaard all took the pitch for Holland on West German soil.
The Dutch’s journey to the gold was not an easy one. They experienced a tough loss to a great USSR side, barely qualifying for the knockout rounds. However, they performed completely differently in the knockouts. They miraculously came from behind to beat the West Germans, in their backyard, to make it to the final.
This team was something special. Although they had their ups and downs, when they were on form, they were brilliant.
Striker Marco van Basten had a tough year at AC Milan that season, and he needed to fire on all fronts in the tournament. He did just that, going on to score the most goals in the tournament, with five, including a hat-trick against England.
After their sensational victory over the West German’s, USSR awaited them in the finals, with the Dutch seeking revenge. With Ruud Gullit scoring Holland’s first, the final will be remembered by THAT goal scored by Marco van Basten.
To this day, this Dutch side will go down as one of the greats in history.
France (Euro 1984):
It’s always hard going into a major tournament. For France in ’84, that wasn’t the case. Not only were they the heavy favourites for the tournament, but they were also the hosts. Les Bleus always seem to host great tournaments, with the whole country backing them all the way.
Talisman Michel Platini scored nine goals to help Les Bleus win their first-ever European Championship. Platini still holds the record for the most goals at a single European Championship.
The ’84 rendition of the Euros was only the second time that the tournament had a Group Stage. France cruised past all three group games, scoring eight goals, and finishing top. Platini managed to score seven times in the group stage.
Michel Hidalgo, the French coach, had a midfield dominated with number 10’s who had an eye for a pass. This was a big risk for the French, but it certainly paid off.
With a mesmerising midfield packed with the very best, including, Platini, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Luis Fernández, it’s no wonder that France won in their backyard.
Jean-Francois Domergue was a player who truly excelled in this tournament. With little to no caps before the tournament, he was given a chance and he took it with both hands. His bursting runs from fullback made the French faithful fall in love with him.
After spending the majority of the tournament catching the eyes of many, the final was a little bit more complicated.
Holding on to a crucial 1:0 lead, the French were a man down with five minutes to go, setting up a nervy finish. Nevertheless, Bellone’s 90th-minute goal secured a historic 2:0 win over the Spaniards.
France’s ’84 team is also a record-breaker. They are the only host nation to win the Euros since its expansion in 1980.
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