When a football player hit the net and scored for the team, a goal celebration follows. Whether it’s emotional, controversial or humorous, the spirit of that moment is one of the wonder of the game as millions of fans are watching during the time of glory.That is when a celebration becomes iconic. Here are some of European Championship’s most iconic goal celebrations:
Euro 1996: Paul Gascoigne’s “dentist chair” celebration
It was Germany and Czech Republic who made it to the final in Wembley. Germany won the match 2–1, with Oliver Bierhoff scoring the golden goal in the 95th minute. Although knocked out by Germany in the semi-finals, hosts England have made iconic moments during that year and one of which was Paul Gascoigne’s “dentist chair” celebration.
In the 78th minute of the England-Scotland game, Gascoigne’s finish against Scotland saw him lying on the ground, mouth wide open, as his teammates squirted water into his mouth to recreate the notorious ‘dentist’s chair’ drinking game which took place during a pre-tournament trip to Hong Kong. It was a re-enactment of what happened after their game against Hong Kong Golden XI.
Euro 1996: Stuart Pearce’s penalty goal celebration
Another entry from the same year was Stuart Pearce’s emotional celebration after a successful penalty shoot-out against Spain. The match went to extra time, then a penalty shoot-out, and with the scores level at 3-3 and when Pearce scored the winning goal, he roared his head off with full of emotion, that later become one of English football’s most iconic images.
“What people have to remember are the circumstances surrounding me even playing in that tournament and all of that joy, relief and passion was released in the moment the ball hit the net,” says Pearce. “All I was thinking when I took the penalty was to hit the ball cleanly and where I wanted to go. I like pressure and responsibility. I always have done.
Euro 2012: Mario Balotelli’s “Hulk” celebration
The 2012 edition of the European Championship saw Spain, who had won Euro 2008, successfully defended their title with a 4–0 win over Italy, becoming the first team to win two consecutive European Championships. Despite losing, Italy has an iconic moment in that edition with their player Mario Balotelli’s “Hulk” celebration in the semi-final match between Italy and Germany.
After scoring his second goal for the team, Balotelli removed his shirt and posed like the Marvel superhero Hulk as a celebration. This celebration was also seen compared to Mega Man and Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer and was one of the most memorable images of Euro 2012. This iconic celebration was made into a video game celebration later on.