The 50 greatest Euros goals ever: 9-1

The 50 greatest Euros goals ever: 9-1
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From unstoppable solo efforts to volleys that seemed to defy the laws of physics, these are our picks for the best Euros goals ever scored from numbers nine to one.

9. Ronnie Whelan: Ireland v Soviet Union, 1988

Ronnie Whelan Republic of Ireland v USSR Euro

The Soviet Union conceded a couple of unbelievable goals on their way to reaching the final of the 1988 tournament (more on that later), and this is one of them.

It’s the kind of set-piece routine that would have made Tony Pulis’s Stoke side very proud, featuring a launched throw in deep into the Soviet Union box and then a quite frankly ridiculous effort from Whelan, coming out of nowhere and nestling in the corner.

8. Maniche: Portugal v Netherlands, 2004

Sometimes, all you need as a football fan is an uncomplicated long-distance banger to put you in a good mood. Treat yourself and watch the reverse angle of this Maniche effort a couple of times. It’s a reminder that sometimes the simplest goals are the most pleasing, and that Portugal in 2004 really should have seen off Greece and won the whole thing. It's also probably the easiest assist of Cristiano Ronaldo's entire career.

7. Hal Robson-Kanu: Wales v Belgium, 2016

Turning on a dime, sending the defenders for a hot dog, sending the fans into raptures – this goal deserves all of the cliche footballing descriptions, given the skill on display and the significance – it’s arguably Wales’s greatest ever footballing moment, after all. Take a bow Hal Robson-Kanu.

6. Davor Suker: Croatia v Denmark, 1996

Hrvatska - Danska/Croatia - Denmark (1996.)

It’s the most impetuous of dinks, without breaking stride, and one of the cheekiest efforts you’re likely to see from Davor Suker.

It’s the kind of thing most people wouldn’t have the bottle to try during a Sunday league game, never mind at the Euros against one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the game, Peter Schmeichel. It remains absolutely outrageous to this day.

5. Rui Costa: Portugal v England, 2004

England’s games against Portugal in the mid-00s were pointed to say the least, but it’s easy to forget just how much quality was on display both times the Portuguese knocked the Three Lions out in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

This Rui Costa pinger, for instance, is far less likely to be remembered than Sol Campbell’s disallowed header in the same game, or Rooney’s red card and indeed Cristiano Ronaldo’s infamous wink two summers later. Yes, Phil Neville should have closed him down and stopped the shot, but the purity of the strike – well into extra time, no less – cannot be doubted for this one.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Sweden v Italy, 2004

Euro 2004 - Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovichas always looked a bit like a character from the Street Fighter games, don’t you think? If he was, we can imagine the acrobatic, jumping backheel he scored back in 2004 would have been his signature finishing move.

The Swede simply wasn’t interested in scoring boring goals, and this effort against Italy essentially summed up the audacity and the outrageous skill which defined his career. It's the kind of finish that other players wouldn't even conceive of, never mind attempt.

3. Patrik Schick: Czech Rep v Scotland, 2020

what a goal from Patrick Schick/Euro 2020/beautiful goal/goal that shock the

It was only three years ago, but the summer of Schick already feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? For a time, every football fan was obsessed with this Czech forward and his beast of a left foot, thanks to goals like this.

The ball broke for him just over the halfway line against Scotland, and he thought 'Why not?'. It's a dreamy long-range effort, but it also must be said that it was made 10 times better by keeper David Marshall hurling himself into the net at breakneck speed.

For a few short weeks, Schick was everyone's favourite player, and while that dream move to the big time that many predicted didn’t quite happened at the time, he played a part in Bayern Leverkusen’s rise to the Bundesliga title in the 2023/2024 season – and he’ll always have the summer of 2021 to look back fondly on too.

2. Paul Gascoigne: England v Scotland, 1996

Paul Gascoigne Goal (England Vs Scotland 1996)

This is a goal so steeped in context and nostalgia, that it’s easy to forget just how good this solo effort from Paul Gascoigne was back in 1996. There’sthe dentist’s chair celebration, the fact no one could have predicted it would be Gascoigne’s final tournament for his country, and the Baddiel and Skinner-fuelled renaissance of English football fandom at the time… it’s difficult to know where to start, but the goal itself still stacks up as one of the greats of the Euros and doesn’t have to be seen through the lens of nostalgia to be celebrated decades later.

More than that, it embodies Gazza as a player: it's scored with the enthusiasm and single-minded determinism of a kid in a playground, coupled with generational skill, which embodies everything that one of England’s greatest players brought to the team at his best.

1. Marco van Basten: Netherlands v Soviet Union, 1988

Van Basten Goal vs Soviet Union | Euro

Goals like this transcend tournaments. It could have been scored in an international friendly and still be remembered so fondly nearly 40 years on, but this outrageous finish from Marco Van Basten came on the way to the Netherlands winning Euro 1988 and has the resonance of history behind it too.

It's easy to forget that this incredible goal was scored in the final of the tournament, helping the Dutch to their first and only Euros win to date.

There's just so much to enjoy here. The ball over the top, under any other circumstances, would seem pretty harmless. The defenders casually shuffle left, with the ball going over their heads, assuming no immediate threat. No one could have foreseen it being met from such an inspired angle by the forward, before being timed to perfection and struck perfectly over the USSR keeper, stranded helplessly just a few feet off his line.

Aesthetically, too, it’s just so pleasing. There's that incredible Dutch kit, and the disbelief written all over manager Rinus Michels's face. It's a goal for the ages, which came on the biggest of stages.

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