The most unexpected wins in the European Championship history

Euro 1988: West Germany v Netherlands

In the 1988 final of the European Championship it was the Republic of Ireland who gave the most surprises, the USSR shown impressive display but it was the Netherlands, courtesy of the fine Marco van Basten, who scored one of the best goals in history to clinch the title for the Dutch side. The then AC Milan forward inspired the Netherlands to their first European Championship win.

It was one of the most star studded final in the Euro history, which took place at Munich’s Olympiastadion and contested by players who were either all-time greats or at peak of their careers. The Soviets, who were playing in their last ever European Championship, were behind the Dutch with Ruud Gullit, whose own header beat Rinat Dassaev, taking the lead. 

Euro 1968: Italy v Soviet Union (via toss coin)

One of the most iconic moments in the history of Euro happened in 1968. Aside from officially calling the tournament “European Championship”, formerly “European Nations’ Cup”, the fairest way to declare a winner through a toss coin happened for the first and only time in history of Euro. It was Italy against theSoviet Union in the semifinals of Euro 1968. 

The bizarre moment of determining the winner happened in a separate where Azzurri skipper Giacinto Facchetti and his opposite number Albert Shesternev, accompanied by the referee and two administrators from the two countries to proceed on the coin toss. The Italian side called tails and as the coin flips in the air and landed on the official’s hand – a tail was shown and a winner has been declared.

Euro 1992: Denmark v Germany

In 1992, the format of the game only allows winners of the seven groups to join the hosts in the tournament. That year, Sweden, the host nation got the automatic qualification along with group stage winners. The Danes had missed out on qualification having finished as runners-up to Yugoslavia in Group 4 of the qualification stage.

However, Yugoslavia, in a state of civil war, was banned from participating in the tournament that gave Denmark the chance to qualify into the eight-team tournament and placed in a group featuring hosts Sweden, England and France. After being given a week to practice, Denmark shocked the entire football world by beating the unified Germany in the final and lifting the trophy for the first time.

Euro 2004: Greece v Portugal

One of the glorious moments in the European Championship history is the win of Greece for the first time since 1980, the nation’s maiden appearance in the tournament. Greece is one of the four additional nations included in the competition after it expands its admission from four teams to eight, making the nation a pioneer in this format and oldest than most nations in the modern format. 

This win was the most talked about victory that year and it was written in the book. Greece’s Euro 2004 title proved every country has a chance to succeed despite falling multiple times from the start. This win was celebrated in the whole Greece and all over the world. Rehhagel, Charisteas, Karagounis, Zagorakis, Dellas and the rest had guaranteed their names among the Gods of Greek sport.