5 of the Biggest European Championship Shocks

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Antonin Panenka made himself instantly famous with THAT penalty but where does Czechoslovakia's Euro success rate on our list of shocks?

Antonin PANENKA (rechts, CSSR) erzielt den entscheidenden Elfmeter im Elfmeterschiessen,  Siegtor, im Vordergrund Torwart Sepp MAIER,
Fussball Europameisterschaft EM 1972, Finale, Tschechoslavakei CSSR - Deutschland 7:5 n.E. 20.06.1976
©SVEN SIMON#Prinzess-Luise-Strasse 41#45479 Muelheim / R u h r #tel. 0208/9413250#fax. 0208/9413260#P o s t g i r o  E s s e n Nr. 244 293 433 (BLZ 360 100 43)# www.SvenSimon.net

There have been some memorable moments since the European Championships debuted in 1960 and we have picked out five of the most shocking tournament results.

1976 Final – Czechoslovakia 2 West Germany 2 (Czechoslovakia win 5-3 on penalties)

Czechoslovakia, who dispatched the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time in the semi-finals, found themselves 2-0 ahead after just 25 minutes in the final thanks to goals from Jan Svehlík and Karol Dobias.

However, West Germany hit back through Dieter Muller before Bernd Holzenbein’s 89th-minute strike forced extra-time, a period where neither team could grab the winner and penalties were needed.

Leading 4-3 in the shootout, the footballing world were then treated to the first-ever Panenka penalty, when Antonin Panenka introduced this technique to beat West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier and clinch the title.

1988 Group Stage – England 0-1 Republic of Ireland

Making their debut in the European Championships, the Republic of Ireland pulled off a huge shock by beating Bobby Robson’s England 1-0 in the group stage. Ray Houghton headed Jack Charlton’s side ahead just six minutes into the match.

Despite an onslaught from the Three Lions, the ROI managed to hold on for the famous win, largely thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Pat Bonner.

That would be Ireland’s only win of the tournament as they finished third in Group 2, while England lost all three of their matches to finish bottom.

1992 Final – Germany 0-2 Denmark

Denmark’s 1992 European Championship success remains one of the biggest stories in the tournament’s history, with John Jensen and Kim Vilfort netting in the final to overcome Germany.

However, the Danes, who have never lifted the trophy since, actually failed to qualify for Euro 92 and were only drafted in just two weeks before it kicked off when Yugoslavia withdrew.

Speaking on the sensational victory, Vilfort said: “We couldn’t fail because there were no expectations.”

2004 Final – Portugal 0-1 Greece

The 2004 European Championship remains one of the most surprising in the tournament’s history, as Greece managed to reach the final and edge past Portugal 1-0 to lift the trophy.

Having already seen Germany, Spain and Italy exit at the group stage, the shocks kept on coming as Greece knocked out defending champions France in the quarter-finals before seeing off the Czech Republic in the semi-finals.

In the final, the Blue and White’s got the better of Portugal again, having beaten them in the group stage, to cap off their memorable journey.

2016 Round of 16 – England 1-2 Iceland

Unfortunately for England, they make the list for a second time and this defeat to Iceland in 2016 trumps the 1-0 loss to the Republic of Ireland back in 1988.

The Three Lions were firm favourites heading into the contest and they made the perfect start to the clash when Wayne Rooney converted a penalty four minutes into the game.

However, less than 120 seconds later Iceland were back on level terms through Ragnar Sigurdsson, before Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s goal in the 18th minute squirmed through Joe Hart and proved to be the winner.

Roy Hodgson resigned almost immediately after the final whistle, his decision being confirmed in the post-match press conference, while Iceland were knocked out 5-2 by France in the next round.

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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