Patrik Schick of the Czech Republic scored a thunderbolt strike in his country’s opening match of Euro 2020 against Scotland. The 25-year-old Bayer Leverkusen player executed the shot from 45 yards after noticing that David Marshall was off his line. His precision, vision, and accuracy are what made football fanatics go crazy across the globe appreciating his goal. Let’s take a look at the top-ranked best goals in the tournament’s history.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic ( vs Italy in 2004 Euro)
It was the 85th minute, the scoreboard read 1-0 in favour of Italy against Sweden in the Portuguese capital, Porto. The Azzuri desperately needed a win especially after playing to a 0-0 draw against Denmark in the opening match. Antonio Cassano’s first-half strike seemed to be enough for Italy to seal a victory to be on course to progress to the next round. Till Sweden received a corner – the substitute Kim Kallstrom drove the corner with his left boot. As soon as the ball left the corner flag, people had ideas that Kallstrom played a wasted ball till it found a Swedish player from outside the box to deliver the ball into the box. A bit of scrappy defending with Italy failing to clear the danger and in between Freddie Ljungberg tried an acrobatic strike but failed to orchestrate it.
Then the 22-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic under immense pressure from Italian Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who was in rushing to clear the danger after coming out of his line. But Ibrahimovic did the unthinkable, producing a quick on-air back heel as Buffon arrived late into action. That looping shot was too good for Christian Vieri who tried to head it out as he was on the goal post but the ball was too high for him to reach. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and Italy were on the brink of crashing out of the tournament which they eventually were despite winning the last match against Bulgaria.
4. David Trezeguet ( vs Italy in Euro 2000 Final)
In the tournament, France arrived with the favourites tag to win the continental title. It was no surprise as two years ago, they had conquered the world winning FIFA World Cup on home soil. Their passage to the final indicated that there were living up to the expectation. Despite trailing in the match an added minute strike by Sylvain Wiltord forced the match to extra time. With the first half of extra time, former Arsenal winger Robert Pires received the loose ball on the far-left after Demetrio Albertini failed to take control of a pass as Italy tried to build from the back. Pires looked at Zinedine Zidane but chose not to pass to him then charged forward beating Albertini first then went past the second defender to deliver a lowly cross in the box.
The ball found Trezeguet who positioned himself nicely away from the defender then thumped a first time shot off his left boot to burst it on the roof of the net. Trezeguet took his shirt off in wild celebrations as France were crowned European champions all thanks to the golden goal rule. The match will be remembered for the mastermind tactics shown by Roger Lemerre as all his three substitutes contributed with two goals plus an assist in the match. History was made as France became the first side to hold the World and European titles at the same time.
3. Karel Poborsky ( vs Portugal in 1996 Euro)
The Czech Republic took many people by surprise during Euro 1996 in England. Far from being considered as the tournament contenders but they managed to reach the final only to lose to Germany. But the moment of magic produced by Karel Podorsky at Villa Park against Portugal still takes any breath away. Podolsky dribbled past opposition defenders while one thought he had overpassed but accidentally he regained the position. As he edged closer to the box he notices that goalkeeper Vitor Baia was off his line. Then he looped the ball beyond the reach of Baia.
The skill executed is what makes it one of the tournament’s most memorable goals. Coincidentally, Podorsky’s goal came in 53rd minutes same as countrymen’s Patrik Schick strike in this year’s tournament against Scotland. That Czech Republic side spearheaded by Pavel Nedved was considered as the golden generation but they failed to claim silverware despite some brave performances that left football fans seeking more.
2. Maniche ( vs Netherland in Euro 2004)
Maniche Nuno started the Euro 2004 on a high note and brimming with confidence as he was coming from playing an influential role in Jose Mourinho Porto’s side that had just won Uefa Champions League. Maniche did cement his place in the squad easily. With Portugal playing against the Netherlands with the score locked at 1-1. Cristiano Ronaldo took a quick corner which was surprising with only two Portuguese players in the box against six from the opponent. As Ronaldo’s passed to Maniche with a lot of space – he took one forward touch to curl the ball to the top corner. Despite, Dutch goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar’s height, the perfection from the midfielder made it difficult for him to put a stop to it.
Van Der Sar was too quick to blame defenders on why they didn’t close Maniche down. That strike was enough to send the hosts to the final only to lose to Greece.
1. Marco Van Basten ( vs USSR in 1988 Euro)
Marco van Basten was the most devastating talent to emerge from the Netherlands in the post-Cruyff generation. But his goal against USSR in the final remains one of the all-time best goals. Despite, being included in the Dutch side as a backup player after he had persistent injuries in his first season with AC Milan, the lanky forward went on to become the tournament’s leading scorer.
His volley in the final still does the talking as the angle he scored from shows what a genius he was. Even the goalkeeper was taken by surprise seeing the ball as many thought he would play a pass back to the box. This goal even today is regarded as the most beautiful goal ever seen.