A look back at the last five European Championship finals
With Euro 2020 kicking off in just a matter of days, the question of who is going to win this year’s edition of the tournament is still one that is being heavily debated. France and England are currently leading the way in the Euro 2021 odds, but as we have seen in the past, the European Championships have a knack for throwing up surprise victors.
That said, let’s take a look at the last five winners of the tournament, which will take us nicely back to the beginning of the millennium. Read on to find out more!
2016: Portugal 1-0 France (AET) – Stade de France
With Euro 2016 taking place on home soil, France were heavily expected to win the tournament for the first time since 2000, and with Portugal being the shock finalists, Les Bleus were tipped to blow Cristiano Ronaldo and co. away. However, despite boasting over 55% of possession and registering some 18 shots, the French couldn’t find a way past Rui Patrício. In the end, Éder’s strike from the edge of the box with just 10 minutes of extra-time to go meant heartache for the hosts and most of the 75,000 crammed into the Stade de France.
2012: Spain 4-0 Italy – Olympic Stadium, Ukraine
After winning Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, Spain went into Euro 2012 as the heavy favourites, and despite looking far from their best at times, they duly delivered in the final, thrashing Italy 4-0. Given that the sides drew 1-1 at the group stage, it was tipped to be a tight affair. However, it was anything but. David Silva opened the scoring in the 14th minute and Jordi Alba doubled Spain’s lead by half-time. With Italy down to 10 men for the final 30 minutes, as their third and final sub Thiago Motta limped off after a matter of minutes, Spain capitalised. Fernando Torres was brought on and the then-Chelsea striker made it 3-0 before assisting Juan Mata for his country’s fourth.
2008: Germany 0-1 Spain – Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Austria
Torres was providing the goods for Spain four years prior as well, scoring the only goal of the final against Germany at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Austria. El Niño latched on to an inch-perfect through ball from Barcelona midfielder Xavi before lifting the ball beautifully over the oncoming Jens Lehmann. Torres missed a great opportunity to double Spain’s lead as his header struck the post, whilst Marcos Senna blew a great chance to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes left. Michael Ballack had Germany’s best chances, as his effort narrowly flew by the wrong side of the post. Ultimately, Torres’ strike was all Spain needed to secure their first major tournament triumph in 44 years.
2004: Portugal 0-1 Greece – Estádio da Luz, Portugal
When Portugal ran out 1-0 winners at the Stade de France in 2016, those Portuguese fans old enough to remember Euro 2004 would have known exactly how the hosts felt, as they had to deal with the heartache of losing a final on home turf in 2004. Greece were the shock outfit throughout the tournament. However, when paired up against the hosts in the final, they were totally written off. But the Greeks weren’t going to lie down. Instead, they brought the same fighting spirit to the hosts and Angelos Charisteas delivered the killer blow in the 57th minute.
2000: France 2-1 Italy (Golden Goal) – De Kuip, Netherlands
The late drama in the Euro 2000 Final at Feyenoord’s De Kuip means France’s victory over Italy will always go down as one of the classic European Championship finals. Marco Delvecchio had given the Azzurri the lead in the 55th minute and as the minutes ticked by, it looked as though that was going to be the only goal of the game. However, just seconds before the final whistle Sylvian Wiltord nabbed an equaliser and David Trezeguet crushed Italy’s dreams, scoring the Golden Goal with two minutes left in the first-half of extra time.