The most iconic goalkeepers in the Euro history

The role of a goalkeeper is probably one of the, if not the most crucial position in football. In European Championship, only few outstanding goalkeepers emerged during the matches. Here are some of the most popular and iconic goalkeepers that displayed an impressive and unforgettable performance during their quest to Euro glory:

Euro 1960: Lev Yashin (Soviet Union)

Originally called the European Nations’ Cup, the very first Euro tournament was inaugurated in 1960 with only four teams, out of 17 teams, contested in the finals. The Soviet Union were the powerhouse team back then, and they proved it with a 2-1 victory against Yugoslavia after extra time. Soviet Union won against Yugoslavia 2-1 in a thrilling match held in Paris.

Lev Yashin, known as ‘the Impregnable Spider’ led the Soviet Union to glory along with Viktor Ponedelnik winning header with seven minutes of extra-time remaining, bagging the first ever European title of the inaugural European Championship. 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.

EURO 1992: Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)

In 1992, the format of the game allows winners of the seven groups to join the hosts in the tournament. Denmark had missed out on qualification, however, Yugoslavia, in a state of civil war, was banned from participating in the tournament. It gave the Danes the chance to qualify and they shocked the football world by beating the unified Germany lifting their maiden trophy. 

The underdog Danish side dominated the opening quarter of the final with impressive saves from Peter Schmeichel. Germany had a couple of chances in the second half but Schmeichel made sure that it won’t turn into a point. A Claus Christiansen’s header on the halfway line sealed the win in the 78th minute, defeating the unified German side and clinching Denmark’s first European title.

Euro 2000: Francesco Toldo (Italy)

Having helped the Azzurri to three wins from three in the group stages and a 2-0 defeat of Romania in the quarter-finals, Francesco Toldo’s superb display was unstoppable. Although Italy only finished as runners-up at Euro 200, Toldo was regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation, and most young goalkeeper look up to him and his contributionto Italy. 

During the semi-final against the Netherlands, Toldo saved one penalty during regulation time and two doing the shoot-out at the end of the game to book their place in the final. The Dutch side even missed another penalty during the game and yet another in the shoot-out, meaning Italy conceded only one fromthe opponent’s six attempts from the spot.

EURO 2012Iker Casillas (Spain)

The 2012 edition of the European Championship saw Spain, who had won Euro 2008, successfully defended their title with a heavy win over Italy, becoming the first team to win two consecutive European Championships. Their 4-0 win is the biggest ever win in the final of the European Championship.

Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sparked wild celebrations across Spain, sweeping away the clouds of an economic crisis that has engulfed the south European nation. Captain Iker Casillas was the major instrument in uniting the then divided team, merging players for FC Barcelona and Real Madrid into one team. He also blocked important goals from the opponents.