The European Championships is one of the, if not the most celebrated and the most glorious football events in Europe. It produces some of the most iconic images and greatest football players of all time. From the time it was inaugurated, the action already begun and the rest is history. The key to glory in this glorious event is a goal that changes European football.
Here are some of the most glorious moments in the EURO history:
Euro 1960: The Soviet beginnings
The first ever European Championship, formerly known as the European Nations’ Cup, was hosted by France in 1960. The Soviet Union were the powerhouse team back then, and they proved it with a 2-1 victory against Yugoslavia after extra time. The Nations’ Cup was contested between 1958 and 1960 until the name was changed to “European Championship” in 1968 along with a couple of changes.
Yugoslavs, boasting most of the flair players on the pitch such as Dragoslav Sekularac and Bora Kostic, opened the scoring on 43 minutes by the Serbian Milan Galic. Yugoslavia continued to dominate the game, but the legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin, did not let another conceded score from the opponent. Georgian Slava Metreveli equalised the game four minutes into the second half.
Euro 1996: Oliver Bierhof’s golden goal
For the first time, the European Championship was held with 16 instead of eight teams in 1996. From the 16 finalists, it was Germany and Czech Republic who made it to the final round of European Championships in Wembley. In this match, Oliver Bierhoff scored the first golden goal in history, a method used during the extra time to determine the winner of the match.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Kouba, despite being directly in line with the ball, was stunned by Bierhoff, who had come from the bench to win the European Championship for Germany. That golden moment came at the age of 28. It was his second goal in twenty-two minutes, and two years later following Klinsmannretirement after the 1998 World Cup, he became captain of the team.
EURO 1976: Antonín Panenka and the greatest penalty of all time
In the final round of Euro 1976, Czechoslovakia beat holdersWest Germany to win the then European Nation’s Cup. Czechoslovakia’s fairy-tale run and triumph paved way to one of the most iconic images of an international football tournament and gave birth to an infamous penalty-kick, the Panenka Penalty, which was named after a gifted midfielder playing for Czechoslovakia, Antonín Panenka.
During the penalties, the first seven tries converted into a goal until Uli Hoeness halted West Germany’s fourth attempt. The Czechs fate was in the hands of Antonin Panenka. This was the first time that a penalty was taken but eventually it became famous. Panenka stepped up to take the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out and chip the ball down the middle of the goal.The rest is history.