In most occasion, finals hero were the ones savouring the limelight in every football match. Meanwhile, the person led them took the credit of bringing the team into a powerhouse one. Some of the most memorable wins in the Euro history was led by some of the most known captains in football. Here is every winning captain that led their teams through the finals of every European Championship:
EURO 1984: Michel Platini (France)
France were chosen as hosts in the 1984 edition of the tournament. They won all three of their group games, qualifying with Denmark at the expense of Belgium and Yugoslavia with the big help of their key man and captain Michel Platini. Their victory extended until the final when they beat Spain. It was the first European Championship final to feature two countries which still exist.
Michel Platini’s nine goals remains a record in a single European Championship. French manager Michel Hildago signed off following the win and France’s Platini and Tigana had been the stars of Euro 1984 and will be remembered for peaking during a major championship and leading his country to glory. The home soil win is one of France’s glorious moments in the European football.
EURO 1988: Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
In the 1988 final, Ruud Gullit led the Republic of Ireland andgave the most surprises as they took on the Soviet Union. A rematch of the 1974 World Cup final happened with West Germany taking over the Netherlands. It was one of the most star studded final in the Euro history with Marco van Basten hit an astonishing top-spin volley over the head of the best goalkeeper in Europe and clinches the title.
There was further frustration in 1985 when the Dutch missed out on qualification for the World Cup at the hands of neighbours Belgium in a play-off. However, a Gullit inspired side turned things around and sealed their first major international trophy in 1988, heading the opening goal in the final against the Soviet Union. Gullit is regarded as the best in Europe and around the world.
EURO 1992: Lars Olsen (Denmark)
In 1992, the format of the game allows winners of the seven groups to join the hosts in the tournament. In this glorious moment for the Danes, Lars Olsen led the team shocked the football world by beating the unified Germany lifting their maiden trophy despite missing out the qualification. The underdog Danish side dominated the opening quarter of the final with impressive saves from Peter Schmeichel.
Olsen drove from Turkey to Scandinavia when he learned of his country’s belated reinstatement in 1992. Olsen played 84 matches and scored four goals for the Danes from 1986 to 1996, and was named 1988 Danish Player of the Year. He ended his career with 84 caps, including a record 69 as captain. Following his retirement from his active career, Olsen managed various teams at Brøndby.
1996: Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany)
For the first time, the Euros was held with 16 instead of eight teams in 1996. From the 16 finalists, it was a Jürgen Klinsmanninspired Germany against Czech Republic who made it to the final round of European Championships in Wembley. In the finals, Oliver Bierhoff scored the first golden goal in history, a method used during the extra time to determine the winner of the match.
With Lothar Matthäus injured, Klinsmann captained the team in England and led the team to success. Klinsmann is one of Germany’s premier strikers during the 1990s, he scored in all six major international tournaments he participated in, from Euro 1988 to the 1998 World Cup. In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the “125 Greatest Living Footballers”.