Euro 2020: What is the biggest shock in the history of the European Championship?



What will you choose as the biggest shock in Euro history?

The European Championship has plenty of surprises in store over its 60-plus years – from shock titles for Denmark and Greece to unexpected exploits for Iceland.

BBC Sport has teamed up with data experts Gracenote to uncover the 10 biggest shocks in Euro history, but of course we want you to have your say too.

The most recent tournament, Euro 2016, was the most unpredictable in tournament history, with 29% of matches won by the underdog, a tally that included Portugal’s victory over France in the final.

Just days away from Euro 2020, what better way to get in the mood for this summer’s tournament than to refresh your memory on the biggest surprises over the years?

Here they are 10 to one, according to Gracenote’s rating. You can vote for your favorite at the bottom of the page …

10. England 0-1 Yugoslavia – Euro 1968 semi-final (21.9% chance of winning)

Winner of the World Cup two years earlier, England faced Yugoslavia for a place in the final of the 1968 European Championship in Italy.

But it wasn’t to be for Alf Ramsey’s men this time around.

A team consisting of Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks and Geoff Hurst had hopes of another trophy. But Dragan Dzajic shot Banks in the 86th minute to end their hopes of another momentous triumph.

9. West Germany 0-1 Spain – Euro 1984 group stage (21.7% chance)

Defending champion West Germany only needed a point to advance to the semi-finals as group runners-up in 1984 – and they certainly wanted to get it.

Spain had other ideas, however, as Antonio Maceda’s 90th-minute goal stunned Jupp Derwall’s side.

The late winner sent the Germans home and saw Spain take first place before losing to France in the final.

8. Portugal 1-2 Greece – Euro 2004 group stage (21.4% chance)

Greece celebrates victory over Portugal as Cristiano Ronaldo watches

A magical summer will never be forgotten in Greece, as the nation pulled off one of football’s biggest shocks by winning Euro 2004.

This final victory over host country Portugal is the most surprising result of a Euro final (24.5% chance) – but it fails to qualify here.

That’s because the inexperienced Greeks had already beaten Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men in their first group game, as goals from Georgios Karagounis and Angelos Basinas sealed victory despite the late response from Cristiano Ronaldo. Even then, no one had predicted what was to follow.

7. Ukraine 0-2 Northern Ireland – Euro 2016 group stage (21.3% chance)

Niall McGinn celebrates goal against Ukraine at Euro 2016

“It’s probably something that might not sink completely for 30 or 40 years.”

This was the view of Niall McGinn four years after scoring his famous goal at Euro 2016, which, after heading Gareth McAuley, sealed a 2-0 victory over Ukraine. It was Northern Ireland’s first victory in the major final since 1982.

This one group stage victory was enough for Michael O’Neill’s men to qualify for the round of 16 as well.

6. CIS 0-3 Scotland – Euro 1992 group stage (21.2% chance)

“When you step out into this park today you will be doing something that no other Scottish player has ever done,” said Scotland’s head coach. Andy Roxburgh said to its players before the nation’s Euro debut in 1992.

After opening defeats to the Netherlands and Germany, Scotland were eliminated – but achieved a memorable first victory in the tournament against their last group opponents, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – formed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Paul McStay, Brian McClair and Gary McAllister clinched a 3-0 victory to ensure the Roxburgh side walk away with their pride intact.

5. Netherlands 0-1 Denmark – Euro 2012 group stage (19.9% ​​chance)

Michael Krohn-Dehli celebrates his goal against the Netherlands

“You can say that we are a little jealous of the Dutch team, that we are not in their place. They are the favorites. There is no doubt about that.”

This was an honest statement from Danish coach Morten Olsen at the time, and even Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk let himself be rocked by admitting his side were favorites in 2012, but in hindsight, it may have been a mind game.

The Netherlands – World Cup finalists two years earlier – were stunned by Michael Krohn-Dehli’s goal in the first half and lost all three of their games.

Denmark, despite their surprise victory, also failed to advance to the knockout stages.

4. Belgium 0-2 Turkey – Euro 2000 group stage (19.7% chance)

Turkey celebrates victory over Belgium at Euro 2000

“It’s a great gift for all of Turkey,” said Turkey coach Mustafa Denizli. “This is the best achievement in the 77-year history of Turkish football.”

Denizli’s exhilaration followed Turkey’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium at Euro 2000, which simultaneously sealed his country’s first-ever appearance in the knockout stage of a major tournament and knocked out the co- organizers.

Hakan Sukur scored both goals for the underdogs, who had taken just one point in their first two games.

3. Belgium 1-3 Wales – Euro 2016 Quarter-Final (19.6% chance)

Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates goal against Belgium

“If I were president of a Premier League club I would make Hal Robson-Kanu my next signing,” said former Welsh striker John Hartson.

“What a goal. He sent Thomas Meunier for a cup of tea and a toast with that trick.”

The biggest night in Welsh football history ranks as the third biggest Euro shock of all time, with the sensational Robson-Kanu turn and finish – as Hartson testifies – the climax of ‘an unforgettable victory in 2016.

In Wales’ first major tournament in 58 years, Chris Coleman’s side came back from a downed goal to beat a talented Belgium 3-1 and reach the semifinals of a major tournament for the first-ever time.

Radja Nainggolan had given Belgium the lead with a strike from 25 meters, but goals from Ashley Williams, Robson-Kanu – who didn’t even have a club – and substitute Sam Vokes turned the tide.

2. France 0-1 Greece – Quarter-final of Euro 2004 (19.1% chance)

Greece celebrates victory over France at Euro 2004

“This is the greatest moment in Greek football,” said match winner Angelos Charisteas.

At the time, that was a fair comment, as Otto Rehhagel’s side had reserved their place in the Euro 2004 semi-finals by knocking out title-holding France.

The Blues could offer no answer to Charisteas’ lead in the second half as the Greek fairytale summer continued to the detriment of a French side which boasted of Zinedine Zidane, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry.

But Charisteas’ commentary quickly became obsolete – because there were even bigger moments to come. Greece would go on to beat the Czech Republic 1-0 in the semi-finals, before claiming their first and only major title, beating Portugal in Lisbon.

1. England 1-2 Iceland – Euro 2016 round of 16 (17.4% chance)

Iceland celebrates victory over England at Euro 2016

“We all believed. The rest of the world didn’t believe it, but we did.”

Such was the words of defender Kari Arnason, after he and his Icelandic teammates recorded, statistically speaking, the most unlikely result in the history of the competition and doomed Roy Hodgson’s England to arguably their most humiliating defeat in any competition.

In what was described by former England striker Alan Shearer as “the worst performance I have ever seen from an England team”, Iceland came back from behind to beat the Three Lions 2-1 in of the last 16 in 2016.

Wayne Rooney’s fourth-minute penalty suggested an easy night for England, but Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson reversed the game in 14 minutes and the final whistle was quickly followed by Hodgson’s resignation.

Now it’s your turn.

Vote for what you think is the biggest shock in euro history below.

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.


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