Every four years the nation well and truly comes together over a love of football and a mutual dread that we might once again fall foul of Germany’s superior penalty takers (please, anything but going out on pens… again!).
Yep the Euros, full of great highs, heart-breaking lows and also moments of complete madness. The dodgy celebrations, weird tactics, tasteless European beer commercials and shock winners, so grab a (British) beer, put down that Panini sticker book and soak in the Euros most wonderfully weird moments, “It’s football, but not as we know it!”
Gazza and his water bottle…
June 15th, 1996, after weeks of criticism from the press for a big night out involving bottles of tequila and a dentists’ chair “Gazza” and the Geordie goal machine single handedly tears Scotland apart.
After lobbing the ball over Colin Hendry and firing in one of the greatest goals in Wembley history, Gazza hit the floor while the rest of the team poured bottles into his laughing mouth in answer to the shame-faced journalists. England 1 – Fleet Street 0.
Joe Hart’s War Face
2012’s quarter finals, another penalty shootout, another England failure. But the abiding memory is Joe (anti-dandruff) Hart pulling faces at the Italian penalty takers.
It’s unknown to this day whether he’d been watching the All-Blacks too much or if he had just run out of ideas, but it had absolutely no effect on the Italians whatsoever. Never mind Joe, at least your hair looked good!
Greece’s finest hour
It was weird in Euro 2004 when Greece pulled off an unlikely victory over tournament hosts Portugal in the first game of the tournament. So it was even weirder when the tournament ended with the very same fixture – this time for the trophy.
And it was EVEN WEIRDER when Greece actually managed to beat Portugal on their own soil by the very same score line to take home their first ever European Championship. Some things are stranger than fiction and this was certainly one of them.
Celebrating a win over an international rival is always emotional, but in 2012 Antonio Cassano took things to the next level by taking off his shirt… and then his shorts. Yep, Tony C ran around the ground in just his Y-fronts.
There’s no denying it; Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a shocker of a tournament in 2012 along with the rest of the Swedish national side, but that didn’t stop him unleashing this worldie of a goal in Sweden’s final group game. From zero to hero only to suffer a quick Euro exit.
The Fields of Athenry
Ok, so Ireland might not get too many chances to celebrate victory but they do love a good sing song, the weird thing here is that they were having such a great party despite being 4-0 down to Iceland and about to go out of their first finals in 24 years!
Heads or tails?
Did you know that prior to the introduction of penalty shootouts, tied games were actually decided on the toss of a coin? In 1968 even the Italy vs Soviet Union’s semi-final was decided on a heads/tails basis. If only they would bring it back then England would at least stand a 50.50 chance which has to be better than our penalty luck!
In 1992 Denmark only made it into the finals as group winner’s Yugoslavia pulled out due to civil war that griped their nation. In an amazing turnaround that would shock even Leicester City, after Yugoslavia’s exit saved their bacon, the Danes went on to sweep past the rest of Europe on route to beating Germany in the final.
The perfect Panenka
In 1976 a footballing tradition was born when Czechoslovakian striker Antonin Panenka coolly dinked the ball over a German keeper from the spot to win the tournament. The style of pen came to be known as “a Penenka”. But what was truly weird… Germany losing a penalty shootout!
Balotelli Goes Viral
The controversial player has had his share of press over the years but even he couldn’t have seen the explosion jokes that would be coming his way. Internet pranksters across Europe got together to mock his goal celebration after putting one past Germany for Italy in 2012 with hundreds of memes hitting the web.
If Carlsberg did adverts…
Carlsberg really is one of those “love it or hate it” beers but when it comes to this WTF advert for Euro 2012 there is only one correct response; embarrassment. While England fans laughed at a two-second shot of a Diego Maradona lookalike mopping the floor, the Argentinian fans were less than impressed and promptly flooded Carlsberg with complaints. Ok Carlsberg, hands up!