Updated: 19/04/2012 16:53 | By pa.press.net

Top 5 Classic Matches at European Football Championships



France's Michel Platini right celebrates after scoring the winning goal in extra time

France's Michel Platini (right) celebrates after scoring the winning goal in extra time

France 3 Portugal 2 (Semi-final, 1984, after extra-time)

France, led by the magnificent Michel Platini and playing on home soil, were the outstanding side at Euro 84 but they almost came unstuck in a pulsating semi-final.

Portugal were their surprise opponents in the last four and they did not appear to be causing many problems in Marseille as Jean-Francois Domergue opened the scoring for the hosts.

But Portugal showed resilience and forced extra-time with a Rui Jordao equaliser after 74 minutes.

When the same man then struck again eight minutes into the first additional period, the technically excellent France side were facing heartbreak.

Yet Michel Hidalgo's men showed they had substance as well as style as Domergue levelled with his second of the game.

A penalty shoot-out loomed but France found time for one last attack as the clock ran down. The tireless Jean Tigana glided through the Portugal defence and centred for Platini to fire in a dramatic winner.

France went on to beat Spain 2-0 in the final with another goal from Platini, who finished with nine for the tournament, which still stands as a record.

West Germany 2 Czechoslovakia 2 (Final, 1976, Czechoslovakia won 5-3 on penalties)

Czechoslovakia claimed the European crown in Belgrade after a dramatic final was settled in their favour by an outrageous piece of skill in a penalty shoot-out.

Few had held out much hope for Czechoslovakia against the mighty world and European champions West Germany, but they dominated the early stages and opened up a deserved 2-0 lead through Jan Svehlik and Karol Dobias.

West Germany pulled one back with a fine Dieter Muller volley before the break and pressed until the end.

Ivo Viktor made a string of impressive saves to keep them at bay, but Czechoslovakia eventually cracked as Bernd Holzenbein headed in from a corner in the 89th minute.

No further goals during the 30 minutes of extra-time meant that the game became the first major international tournament final to be settled by penalties.

Czechoslovakia's chance to win it came after Uli Hoeness missed the Germans' fourth spot-kick.

Antonin Panenka had the responsibility and showed no sign of pressure as he faced up to the legendary Sepp Maier, beating him with an audacious chip.

It was a penalty that went down in folklore but that was the last time the German national team has been beaten in a penalty shoot-out.

Netherlands 2 Czech Republic 3 (Group match, 2004)

Vladimir Smicer completed a sensational Czech Republic comeback with a late winner against a superb Netherlands side in an enthralling contest in Aveiro.

The game was open from the outset with the Czech Republic spurning two gilt-edged chances before a Wilfred Bouma header gave the Netherlands a fourth-minute lead.

The Dutch appeared to be tightening their grip on the game as Ruud van Nistelrooy added a second 15 minutes later but the Czech Republic quickly responded as Milan Baros set up Jan Koller.

The Netherlands went close to restoring a two-goal cushion as Edgar Davids hit the woodwork but, after breathtaking spells of attacking play from both sides, the Czech Republic drew level through Baros.

This time it was Koller who turned provider, chesting down for the Liverpool striker - who went on to claim the tournament's golden boot - to blast home.

The Dutch then suffered a blow as John Heitinga was sent off for a second bookable offence and Pavel Nedved rattled the crossbar before Smicer settled a classic after 88 minutes.

Denmark 2 Germany 0 (Final, 1992)

Denmark became the most unlikely of champions as they completed a fairytale tournament with a stunning win over Germany in Gothenburg.

Denmark did not even qualify for the tournament and their players were preparing for their summer holidays when Yugoslavia were barred on security grounds due to the Balkans conflict.

Not only did Denmark accept the late invitation but they also upset the odds with a surprise run to the final.

After scraping past the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals, they were expected to meet their match when they faced Germany but they found the right moment to produce their best.

Midfielder John Jensen - who became a cult hero for his lack of goals at Arsenal - opened the scoring when he blasted past Bodo Illgner from Flemming Povlsen's pass

They then had to dig deep as the German attack, and Jurgen Kilnsmann in particular, fired in shot after shot at their goal.

But Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel enjoyed one of his many inspired days and defied them time after time.

Germany were left to rue their profligacy as Kim Vilfort settled the contest 12 minutes from time.

Germany 3 Turkey 2 (Semi-final, 2008)

Philipp Lahm hit a last-gasp winner in Basle as Germany finally saw off a determined Turkey in a frantic finish to book a place in the final.

Turkey thought they had at least forced extra-time after Semih Senturk had levelled the scores with 86 minutes on the clock.

That might have been the least they deserved for a wholehearted display in which they hit the ground running, forcing Christoph Metzelder to slice close to his own goal early on.

Colin Kazim-Richards rattled the crossbar and then hit the woodwork for a second time on 22 minutes which led to the opener. This time Ugur Boral was on hand to bundle home the rebound and Semih and Mehmet Aurelio both went close to doubling the lead.

Germany finally woke up midway through the first half as Bastian Schweinsteiger scored an equaliser against the run of play and both sides then traded chances throughout.

Miroslav Klose finally headed Germany ahead after 79 minutes but most of the drama was still to come as Semih revived Turkey's hopes - only for Lahm to kill them off in agonising fashion.

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