The World Cup is the biggest planetary sporting event, but European Championship is not far behind, which is why we will dedicate some time and introduce every country that has ever won the EURO.
Tied in first place for the most European Championship titles with Spain, Germany started their dominance way back in 1972, as West Germany beat Soviet Union 3:0 in the finals. They haven’t waited much for the second title as West Germany once again managed to lift this trophy in 1980, with two goals from Horst Hrubesch in the final match.
The next trophy didn’t come right away, as they had to wait another four tournaments or 16 years to win their third and last EURO in 1996. It was a tough game against the tough opponent Czech Republic, and they had to wait for Bierhoff’s golden goal in extra time for the 2:1 win.
Spain has proven to be one of the best teams since this form of competition started, as they won the title in 1964, only four years after it started. It was still a new competition, but 26 teams competed just to Spain ruin the Soviet Union’s dreams of defending the title by winning 2:1 in the finals. Many years had to pass until their second and third title came in 2008 and 2012, with great dominance and style, especially the latter trophy as they demolished Italy in the finals by beating them 4:0.
France’s national team waited for their first title until 1984 when they defeated Spain in the finals of the competition they hosted. The result was 2:0, and the scorer of the first goal was the world-famous Michel Platini, who later became the president of UEFA and held that position for nine years. They waited for the next Euro title for 16 years when they defeated Italy borne on the wings of victory as they managed to become World Cup champions two years before. Although the game started well for Italy, and they scored the first goal, France turned the result in their favor and ended the match 2:1, which was enough for a new title.
1968 was the year of changes when it came to UEFA European Championship, as it became its official name, and the format of the competition was changed. The national team who raised the first trophy of this improved tournament was Italy after they beat Yugoslavia in the finals. They repeated that success in the last Euro, which was postponed due COVID-19 pandemic and finished in 2023 instead of 2020, which means Italy is the actual champion and has the chance to defend the title.
This is probably the most talented generation of the Netherlands national team, with football greats like Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten. The journey was bumpy, but they finished second in the group by beating the Republic of Ireland and England. In the semifinal, West Germany was no match to this Netherlands team, and in the final, they denied the hopes of the Soviet Union and claimed their first and only EURO title so far.
6. Czech Republic
Football fans are familiar with the Panenka technique when it comes to the execution of penalties, but most of them do not know how this technique got its name. It was back in 1976 when Czecholslovakian player became the star because of his amazing shot in a penalty shootout against West German, which was trying to defend the title. They did not succeed since Czecholslovakia won 5:3 after penalties.
Portugal has waited for its first title for a long time, but they can be proud of themselves because they beat France when they were hosting Euro 2016 and were considered absolute favorites thanks to two titles. The main star Cristiano Ronaldo left the game because of an injury, but the rest of the squad did a great job and brought the trophy home.
The story of how Denmark did not just win the title but how Denmark even got the chance to compete in the 1992 EURO is the best proof that surprises and upsets happen and a reason why football is such a wonderful game is probably. Namely, their spot was reserved for Yugoslavia, but due to sanctions this country met, Denmark got the chance to play instead as a lucky loser. They started with a draw against England, then lost to Sweden, just to emerge victorious against France and book their place in the knockout phase. A win on penalties against the Netherlands, and voila, they were in the final, where they stunned Germany by beating them 2:0.
The first Euro Championship ever was held back in 1960 in a different format, as it has only 17 competitors, and by another name, it was called UEFA European Nations Cup. The first winner ever was U.S.S.R., thanks to a better performance in the finals when they beat Yugoslavia 2:1 after extra time.
This is probably the best fairy tale that only football can write, as no one gave a chance to this Greece team to do anything more than to go home after the group stage in EURO 2004. Even more, the most chance of winning the trophy that year went to the host country, Portugal, which made their accomplishment even greater, as they managed to beat them twice, once in the group stage and again in the finals. That 1:0 win over Portugal and the winning goal of Angelos Charisteas still represent the best football fairy tale ever written.
Although all football fans are focused on the World Cup and impatiently waiting for the winner, next year, we will move our attention to another great competition – EURO, as next year the qualifications start. The madness of the EURO is beginning, and people have many different predictions about the outcomes of the matches. It can be a fun way to earn some money, so if you have some of them, place your bet on Bet365 and try your luck.