Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2012 17:39 | By pa.press.net

Five Best Goals Ever: Great Goals at European Championships



Holland's Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten centre and Arnold Muhren Left

Holland's Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten (centre) and Arnold Muhren (Left)

Marco van Basten (Netherlands v USSR, Final, 1988)

The Netherlands and Van Basten were outstanding throughout Euro 88 but the goal for which the former AC Milan striker will forever be remembered came in the final.

The Dutch were already leading 1-0 through a Ruud Gullit strike in Munich when Arnold Muhren hit a looping cross over the Soviet defence to Van Basten wide on the right.

Van Basten hardly seemed to have an angle to score and most people expected him to attempt to bring the ball under control.

Instead, he twisted and met it full on the volley, displaying excellent technique as he hit a shot that flew past a stunned Rinat Dasaev into the top corner.

The goal secured the Netherlands' first and so far only major tournament success.

Van Basten said: "You know, you need a lot of luck with a shot like that - everything went well. It is one of these things that sometimes just happen.

"I can tell a lot of stories, but it was just a fantastic feeling.

"I have to be happy and thankful that such a moment was given to me and to Holland."

Tomas Brolin (Sweden v England, Group match, 1992)

England were infamously dumped out of Euro 92 by hosts Sweden in Stockholm after spurning numerous chances to add to David Platt's early opener.

Jan Eriksson equalised after the interval and Sweden went on to establish a stranglehold which was capped by Brolin's stunning 82nd-minute winner.

Brolin, the star of the team, powered forward and played dazzling one-twos with Klas Ingesson and Martin Dahlin before hitting a first-time shot past Chris Woods.

England were unable to respond and seemed drained as they realised their tournament was coming to an end.

Afterwards, the English press turned on manager Graham Taylor, criticising him for substituting star striker Gary Lineker.

Brolin's reputation in England was later damaged after a forgettable spell at Leeds.

Alan Smith, who replaced Lineker in the game, said: "1-0 up against Sweden, we should have closed them out.

"But we gave away a sloppy goal at the start of the second half and from then on were on the back foot.

"The momentum was all with them and Tomas Brolin scored a great goal to win it."

Paul Gascoigne (England v Scotland, Group match, 1996)

Gascoigne was vilified by the press pre-tournament for his role in the 'dentist's chair' drinking game during England's infamous warm-up tour of Hong Kong.

But he responded in typically brilliant fashion on the field and a stunning strike against Scotland was the obvious highlight.

England led 1-0 thanks to an Alan Shearer header but Scotland were threatening until Gascoigne - then at Rangers - chased a pass into the box on the left and cheekily lifted the ball over Colin Hendry's head.

He followed up and met the ball on the volley as it dropped, firing a low shot past Andy Goram for one of the great Wembley goals.

Not forgetting his media critics, he celebrated by sliding to the ground and urging team-mates to squirt water into his mouth - a re-enactment of the night of debauchery in Hong Kong.

"People often ask me whether that's the best goal I've ever scored - and it was a memorable one," said Gascoigne.

"In terms of what the goal meant, you couldn't beat it. I was playing in Scotland for Rangers at the time, so it was really sweet.

"And to have 70,000-odd fans singing your name is just unbelievable."

Ronnie Whelan (Republic of Ireland v USSR, Group match, 1988)

Jack Charlton's Ireland were not known for their finesse but Whelan showed plenty of it when he struck one of the tournament's great goals in Hannover.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it came from a direct source as Mick McCarthy launched a long throw-in across the edge of the penalty box.

Liverpool midfielder Whelan showed agility and technique as he launched himself and connected with a stunning volley from 18 yards.

It flew into the net and gave the Irish more to cheer after beating England in their opening game.

Manager Charlton said: "It was a tremendous throw from Mick. He didn't launch it into the goalmouth, he actually threw the ball to the edge of the box and Ronnie volleyed it over the top of his head.

"Most goals that you enjoy come as a shock, and I will remember that one for a long time."

Unfortunately, it was not to last for Ireland as Oleh Protasov equalised for the Soviet Union 16 minutes from time.

Ireland were still well placed to qualify but were beaten by the Netherlands in their last group game while the Soviet Union went on to reach the final.

Davor Suker (Croatia v Denmark, Group match, 1996)

Croatia embarrassed reigning champions Denmark with an ultimately convincing 3-0 win at Hillsborough, with Suker's sublime chip rounding off their performance.

Suker put his side into the lead from the penalty spot and then created a second for Zvonimir Boban 12 minutes from time after a scare when Brian Laudrup hit the woodwork.

It was no more than Croatia, making their first appearance in a major tournament, deserved and there was still time for Suker to wrap up victory in style.

Denmark's legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel raced upfield for a corner and was left frantically backtracking as Croatia launched a quick counter-attack.

He just about made it back to his goal but it was to no avail as Suker took the ball in his stride on the left and then lifted it up and over the Manchester United star with his left boot.

Suker said: "He [Schmeichel] looks frightening when he is on the goal-line but you have not to be scared. It was one of the most beautiful goals I ever scored."

IE11