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Top five highest-scoring European Championship finals

Top five highest-scoring Euro finals
© Reuters
Ahead of Euro 2024 getting underway, Sports Mole looks at the five highest-scoring finals in the competition's history.

Euro 2024 will be the 17th edition of the European Championships and it is set to be one of the most fiercely contested ones to date.

A number of teams across the continent boast squad depth that other nations may only dream of, while players such as Kylian Mbappe, Jude Bellingham and Cristiano Ronaldo are all set to take centre stage for their respective countries.

Under regular circumstances, the European Championships occur every four years. The competition is seen as the second-most watched football competition behind the World Cup, and most spectators are drawn into the final.

In the 2020 edition, it was England who lost out to Italy on penalties after a rather dull 1-1 stalemate.

However, there have been some far more exciting final matches through the years, and here Sports Mole runs through the top five highest-scoring finals in Euros history.



Highest scoring Euro finals

Spain 2-1 Soviet Union - 1964

This was the second-ever Euro final, and it turned out to be a historic one for Spain. La Roja were the host nation for the tournament and played the final at Real Madrid's ground, Santiago Bernabeu.

La Roja knew they had to start fast against the competition's inaugural champions, and use the home crowd they had in attendance.

And that's exactly what happened when Chus Pereda scored after six minutes. The Soviet Union levelled through Galimzyan Khusainov just two minutes later, but Spain were to have the last laugh, as Marcelino scored with just six minutes left to play, sending the home crowd wild.

Spain's manager Jose Villalonga went down in history for lifting a first-ever trophy, and to do it on home soil made it far more special.



West Germany 3-0 Soviet Union - 1972

The Soviet Union were becoming regulars at the latter stages of international tournaments during this period, but this was one in which they simply did not turn up.

West Germany were utterly ruthless in Belgium, with an impressive brace from Gerd Muller. However, it was not entirely straightforward for the home side.

With the game edging towards full time and the referee constantly checking his watch, fans failed to contain their excitement and stormed the pitch, delaying the game for a prolonged period. The supporters were eventually ushered off and West Germany were crowned European champions.



Czechoslovakia 2-2 West Germany (5-3) - 1976

Czechoslovakia looked to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time in history, only for Bernd Holzenbein to score with just two minutes of the 90 left to play and crush the hearts of thousands of people around Europe.

However, that despair would only last for roughly another half an hour, because the game ended up going to penalties and the Germans crumbled in a manner the belied the reputation for 12-yard duels they would get in the coming years.

It was four out of four penalties scored by Czechoslovakia when Uli Hoeness fired his penalty well over the crossbar with some force to put West Germany on the verge of defeat, as the pressure fell onto the shoulders of Antonin Panenka.

That name will certainly sound familiar to football fans around the world because this special player is who the 'Panenka penalty' is named after as he delicately dinked his effort down the middle.

His composure in such a crucial moment must be seen to be believed because, as Sepp Maier dived to his right, Panenka floated the ball straight down the middle to win the Euros, create history and change how penalties would be taken forever.



West Germany 2-1 Belgium - 1980

West Germany's Horst Hrubesch is congratulated after scoring the winning goal in the Euro 80 final© Reuters

Thirsting for redemption after their shootout defeat four years earlier, West Germany took a 10th-minute lead in the 1980 final.

However, Belgium responded with just 15 minutes left to play when Rene Vandereycken scored from the spot, and it looked to be heading for extra time in Italy until Horst Hrubesch scored his second of the game in the 88th minute.

Hrubesch went on to collect personal praise for his spirited display in the final, but it was not enough for him to claim the biggest individual award of them all, as his teammate Karl-Heinz Rummenigge won the Ballon d'Or just a few months later.



Spain 4-0 Italy - 2012

Spain players celebrate David Silva's goal against Italy in the final of Euro 2012 on July 1, 2012© Reuters

This remains by far the most one-sided Euro final of all time.

Spain's golden generation was incredibly talented, but nobody saw this 4-0 thumping of Italy coming. The two countries had actually met in the group stages to open their tournaments, with the clash ending 1-1 thanks to goals from Antonio Di Natale and Cesc Fabregas.

With nothing separating them in the group stages, there was a sense of anticipation around the final knowing it could be an all-time classic, but what happened was the complete opposite.

David Silva opened the scoring after just 14 minutes, before the new Barcelona signing Jordi Alba doubled the lead on the stroke of half time.

Italy remained in the game until the 84th minute, when Fernando Torres and Juan Mata turned on the style with goals in quick succession and sealed the final for Spain. That made it three trophies in as many international tournaments for Spain, over a four-year period that will never be forgotten.


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