By News Team
Last Updated: 17th June 2021
Football is a game that can sometimes lend its hand to an upset, particularly when the pressures on in a major competition, so we’ve decided to have a look at the most surprising winners and losers in the European Championships history.
Greece, 1-0, Portugal, 2004
A year that will live long in the memory for Greece. Starting the tournament as 150/1 outsiders their campaign was full of surprises from the group stages. Facing up to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Portugal side the unfancied Greeks were able to turn over the hotly fancied Portuguese even despite a late response from a young Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having taken care of hosts Portugal in the group stages, Greece then went on to go all the way and to be Euro winners when beating Portugal again in the Euro Cup final match. To put this surprise in context they had only qualified for two European Championships before lifting the trophy.
Denmark, 2-0, Germany, 1992
Remarkably, Euro winners Denmark hadn’t managed to qualify for the 1992 Euro tournament but due to Yugoslavia having to withdraw, the Danes were asked to step in to fill their place, and step in they did.
They scraped through their group stages with a win, a draw, and a loss, but once through to the knockouts they didn’t look back. The Scandinavian side went on to join the Euro Cup winners list by virtue of beating the well fancied Germany by 2-0 in their Euro Cup final match, meaning they went from unqualified gap-stoppers to Euro Cup winners just like that.
Iceland, 2-1, England, 2016
England went into this last-16 game the hot favourites as you’d expect but it didn’t materialise into the routine victory that was expected. This result has often been described as the most unlikely result in the European Cup finals history, and then manager Roy Hodgson and his England side have been condemned to the history books for this humiliating defeat.
To make matters worse, England took the lead in this fixture after only four minutes when Wayne Rooney netted a penalty to put the favourites in front. However, it wasn’t to be and another major tournament disappointment for England who couldn’t find that all-elusive Euro winner’s trophy. Hodgson’s resignation was received shortly after and the rest, they say, is history.
Wales, 3-1, Belgium, 2016
Another game from the Euro Cup final of 2016 and another home nation in action. This time, however, the home nation was on the winning side. This was without question the greatest evening in Welsh football’s history and was certainly a highlight of the Euro 2016 campaign.
In Wales’ first major tournament for 58-years, the Dragons came from a goal down to beat a talented, and well fancied, Belgium side. With that they managed to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament for the very first time, unfortunately they couldn’t go all the way and reach the Euro Cup winners list, but their efforts were valiant nonetheless.
Turkey, 2-0, Belgium, 2000
Unfortunately, for Belgium, they again feature in our most surprising Euro Cup winners list and again they are on the wrong side of fortune. They co-hosted the 2000 edition of the Euro Cup finals and were fancied to put up a bold show. However, few expected that they wouldn’t make it out of the group stages, particularly being eliminated by Turkey.
Turkey beat the hosts to seal their spot in knockout stages, a first for Turkey in a major tournament. They did this despite only taking one point from their first two games.