This summer, the fun and excitement of a major international tournament returns with Euro 2020.

Portugal will go in as defending champions as they won Euro 2016, narrowly beating France 1-0 in the final in Paris thanks to an extra-time winner from Eder.

Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to glory despite injury and is one of a number of greats to write his name into the glittering history of the Euros since they were introduced in 1960.

There have been plenty of other legends who have graced the famous competition over the past 60 years, and the biggest names in the sport’s history have played host to some of the greatest games ever witnessed.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look back at the ten best games ever played at the Euros since its inception all the way back in 1960…

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Portugal head into Euro 2020 as defending champions after beating France in the 2016 final

10) Netherlands 2-0 Soviet Union (Euro 1988 final) – Olympiastadion, Munich, Germany 

Going into Euro ’88, Holland were the nearly men of European football on the international stage. Despite their best efforts, they still hadn’t won an international honour.

At club level, Ajax won three European Cup titles in a row between 1971 and 1973, with a core of Dutch players, starring the legendary Johann Cruyff, playing a pivotal role.

The Dutch national team were denied by the brilliance of Gerd Muller and Germany in the 1974 World Cup final and the brilliance of Diego Maradona and Argentina in the 1978 World Cup final.

They lost the 1974 final at the Olympiastadion in Munich, but they weren’t to be denied at the same venue 14 years later when Holland had their next core of generational stars featuring the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman, Gerald Vanenburg and Ruud Gullit – the man who opened the scoring in the ’88 final.

But the leading light in the Dutch class of ’88 was Marco Van Basten, he’s a football god and was as important to Holland in the 80s as Cruyff was in the 70s.

Gullit set the Dutch on their way in the first half, but his strike partner produced a bolt from the blue in the second when he scored arguably the best goal ever scored.

Van Basten struck Arnold Muhren’s lofted cross-field ball sweet on the volley before his right-footed effort flew into the top corner from a tight angle.

It’s perhaps the most iconic moment in European Championship history.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Marco van Basten produced the spectacular as Netherlands beat Soviet Union 2-0

9) France 4-5 Yugoslavia (Euro 1960 and the first ever European Championships game) – Parc des Princes, Paris, France 



France goals: Vincent 12, Heutte, 43, 62, Wisnieski 53

Yugoslavia goals: Galic 11, Zanetic 55, Knez 75, Jerkovic 78, 79 

It’s fair to say that the Euros have been a very successful tournament since they were first introduced, but they’ve always had a lot to live up to.

The very first game in European Championship history was a match between France and Yugoslavia in Paris, and it was a nine-goal thriller.

Although Yugoslavia took the lead early on through Milan Galic, France fought back and turned it round. Goals from Jean Vincent and Francois Huette put France in the lead prior to half-time, before Maryan Wisniewski made it 3-1 just after the break.

But as Yugoslavia scored 10 minutes into the first half, they did exactly the same in the second as Ante Zanetic pulled it back.

Huette doubled his tally shortly after, but Yugoslavia weren’t down and out just yet.

Yugoslavia were 4-2 down on 75 minutes, but five minutes later they were 5-4 up thanks to a goal from Tomislav Kenz and a brace from Drazan Jerkovic.

It’s hard to believe that 60 years ago it was just four teams competing in the Euros, but it has since continued to shine on the global stage with the very first game setting the tone.

8) West Germany 2-2 Czechoslovakia – AET – Czechoslovakia win 5-3 on pens (Euro 1976 final) – Stadion Crvena Zvedza, Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia  

The stage was set in Belgrade for the Euro ’76 final between Czechoslovakia and Germany, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. 

Germany went into the Euro ’76 final with an aura of invincibility about them. They were the defending European champions having won the tournament in ’72. They were world champions having won the World Cup in ’74. And they were dominating in club football as well with Bayern Munich off the back of a hat-trick of European Cup triumphs between 1974 and 1976.

Germany were certainly the favourites, but Czechoslovakia had other ideas as they raced into an early lead through Jan Svehlik before Karol Dobias doubled their lead after 25 minutes.

The Germans immediately responded through Dieter Muller but they would then continue to be frustrated.

It looked as though Czechoslovakia would triumph, but a late Bernd Holzenbein sent the contest into extra-time and eventually penalties.

The first seven penalties of the shoot-out were scored, but when Uli Hoeness missed the ball was in Antonin Panenka’s court.

Panenka did more than just score, he had the audacity to chip the penalty past the diving Sepp Maier to win Czechoslovakia the Euros and coin his own term for a chipped penalty. 

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Czechoslovakia captain Jan Pivarnik lifts the trophy after the triumph in June 1976

7) England 4-1 Netherlands (Euro 1996 Group Stage) – Wembley Stadium, London, England

‘Football’s coming home,’ was the anthem that rang out all over England when the country was chosen to host Euro ’96, and when it came round the fans showed what they were all about – pride, passion and belief.

It was as passionate as you will ever see a set of supporters, Euro ’96 is a tournament that will live long in the memory forever.

It took England a while to get going, a draw to Switzerland in their opener was followed by an unconvincing 2-0 win over Scotland, meaning they weren’t guaranteed qualification going into the last group game against Holland.

It was a game and atmosphere that brought out the best in England. Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham burst into life as they dispatched the Dutch 4-1 at Wembley.

The Wembley crowd were England’s twelfth man as they roared the Three Lions on to a monumental victory over a strong Holland team featuring the likes of Edwin Van Der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Danny Blind, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert – all of whom won the Champions League with Ajax a year prior to Euro ’96.

They’d never played in anything like the cauldron Wembley was that day though, England were brilliant. Shearer and Sheringham both netted a brace as they put Holland to the sword.

Kluivert responded with a consolation late on, but it didn’t dampen the mood of the England fans who watched their team produce perhaps their finest ever Euro display. 

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Alan Shearer scored twice while Teddy Sheringham also netted a brace against Netherlands

6) Denmark 2-0 Germany (Euro 1992 final) – Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden 

Remarkably, Denmark failed to qualify for Euro ’92 having finished second behind Yugoslavia in qualification.

Back in 1992, the Euros held just eight teams – a third of today’s number, with the winners of each of the seven qualifying groups plus hosts Sweden going straight into the tournament.

In 1991, the Cold War ended and when the Soviet Union lost control of the Slavic nations of Yugoslavia, terrible Civil War broke out.

This meant that Yugoslavia were unable to compete at Euro ’92 after being widely tipped to win the tournament based on the fact that 15 out of Red Star Belgrade’s 16 players in their squad for their European Cup final triumph of 1991, were Yugoslavian.

As a result, Denmark were drafted in to make up the numbers a week before the tournament began. Their squad made the short trip across to neighbouring Sweden to compete.

The Danes did more than just make up the numbers, they exceeded all expectations and won the tournament, beating Germany in the final in Gothenburg.

After picking up just one point and failing to score in their opening two group games against England and Sweden, Denmark beat France 2-1 in the final group game before edging out Holland on penalties in the semis.

Then in the final, goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort sealed the deal as Denmark were crowned champions of Europe. The Scandinavians outplayed Germany.

Goalkeeper Peter Schmichel and Laudrup brothers Brian and Michael starred for Denmark throughout the tournament.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Denmark celebrate their 2-0 triumph over Germany in the Euro 1992 final in Sweden

5) Spain 4-0 Italy (Euro 2012 final) – Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev, Ukraine

In 2012, Spain created unprecedented history. They became the first team to win back-to-back Euros and they did it while simultaneously being world champions.

The Spain dynasty was complete in 2012 when Vicente Del Bosque led his country to continental glory after leading them to world glory in 2010.

Starring the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Iker Casillas, Spain’s group of supremely talented players laid the foundations of modern day football.

Remarkably, Spain conceded just six goals across the three international tournaments they won in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

After narrowly overcoming Iberian neighbours Portugal on penalties in the semi-finals, they went into the game against an Italy side full of confidence after knocking out Germany.

But only one team played with confidence in the final in Kiev as Spain dominated the contest from start to finish in one of the most dominant displays ever seen in a final.

Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata saw Spain sweep Italy aside and create a unique piece of history that makes them stand out from all the other European Championship winners of the past.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Spain dominated Italy in the Euro 2012 final, winning 4-0 at the Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev

4) Portugal 2-2 England – AET – Portugal win on pens (Euro 2004 quarter-final) – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

Talk about high-end drama, this game certainly wasn’t short of it.

England prevailed from the group stage and a young 18-year-old named Wayne Rooney was making the nation fall in love with the national team and starting to believe they would win on the international stage.

After impressive wins against Switzerland and Croatia where Rooney netted a brace in both and was forming a lethal combination with Michael Owen up top, England played hosts Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Portugal had a golden generation of their own, they had a young Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks playing with Real Madrid star Luis Figo along with the core of FC Porto’s Champions League winning side of 2004.

It was Owen who put England into an early lead, flicking past Ricardo on three minutes.

But the game changed on 27 minutes when Rooney was substituted, England’s talisman was running the Portuguese defence ragged.

It made Portugal seize the initiative, and that initiative turned to constant pressure in the second half – pressure which eventually culminated in a goal scored by Helder Postiga on 83 minutes.

Sol Campbell thought he’d won it for England late on, turning in a David Beckham free-kick, but his goal was ruled out for an adjudged push.

Rui Costa put Portugal ahead in extra-time, before Lampard levelled again.

It wasn’t to be for England on penalties, Beckham blazed the first spot-kick over the crossbar and in doing so booked the squad’s flight back to London the next day.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

David Beckham reacts after missing his penalty during the shoot-out against Portugal in 2004

3) France 3-2 Portugal – AET (Euro 1984 semi-final) – Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France

The 1984 European Championships were packed full of drama, and the most dramatic game was the semi-final between Portugal and host nation France in Marseille.

The game finished 1-1 in normal time, but what followed in extra-time was edge of the seat action.

Rui Jordao doubled his tally in the first period of extra-time for Portugal, and in the second period of extra-time Jean-Francois Domergue did the same for France.

The game looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out, but Juventus star and Ballon d’Or holder at the time Michel Platini had other ideas.

The tireless Jean Tigana won back possession in the Portugal half deep into extra-time and he burst into the box before pulling the ball back towards Platini who did the rest.

Two onrushing Portugal defenders and the goalkeeper committed themselves with their tired minds playing a part. Platini though, was a step ahead, and after taking a touch to set himself, he lashed the ball into the roof of the net to send France into the final.

Platini was on target again in the final as France beat Spain in Paris 2-0.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Michel Platini celebrates his winner over Portugal – which fired France into the Euro 1984 final 

2) France 2-1 Italy – Golden Goal (Euro 2000 final) – De Kuip, Rotterdam, Holland

France became world champions in Paris in 1998, and two years later they became European champions in Rotterdam.

It certainly didn’t look that way in the final as stoppage time approached. France were 1-0 down and struggling to break down the Italian rearguard that had conceded just two goals in the whole tournament prior to the showpiece event.

A defence that contained the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini were holding firm.

It looked as though Marco Delveccio’s goal on 55 minutes would see the Italians over the line in Holland.

Deep into stoppage time, France goalkeeper Fabian Barthez launched his side’s last attack of the game with a big boot up-field. David Trezeguet won the header and headed onto Sylvain Wiltord who levelled for France.

After being provider at the end of the second half, Trezeguet then netted the golden goal in extra-time that saw France crowned European champions.

The Monaco striker swept the ball home on the half-volley with a delicious left-footed strike that wrong footed Francesco Toldo in the Italy goal.

Twenty years later, France have the opportunity to repeat their feat of 2000. If they win Euro 2020, France will simultaneously be World and European Champions.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

David Trezeguet lashes his golden goal winner into the roof of the net against Italy in 2000

1) Portugal 0-1 Greece (Euro 2004 final) – Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal

The greatest upset in the history of the Euros.

Greece went into Euro 2004 as one of the outsiders and a 150/1 shot to win the competition.

And they did just that – completely defying the odds. They beat Portugal 2-1 in the tournament’s first game in Porto, and beat them 1-0 in the tournament’s final game in Lisbon.

Portugal thought it was their year with their golden generation of players at their disposal and the fact they were playing on home soil, but the Greeks ensured they had the final say.

After overcoming France 1-0 in the quarters, then beating the Czech Republic 1-0 in the semis, Greece went and beat Portugal by the same scoreline in the final as Angelos Charisteas lit up the Estadio da Luz.

He became the latest Greek god as Athens rose from its ruins in 2004 to pull off one of the greatest sporting shocks you will ever see, and in doing so they rained on the Portuguese parade.

Top 10 Greatest Euro Matches: What dramatic clashes holds top spot in our rankings?

Greece celebrate following their remarkable 1-0 victory over Portugal in the Euro 2004 final


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