The UEFA Euro semi-finals has witnessed plenty of nail-biting and thrilling encounters over the years with close finishes and fans as well as players experiencing a wide range of emotions. There have been plenty of twists and turns in past Euro semis and the last-four stage in the 2020 edition promises to be no different as Italy takes on Spain in the first semi-final while England faces Denmark in the second.
Yugoslavia’s 5-4 triumph against France in the 1960 semis remains the highest-scoring game in Euros history, while West Germany’s 4-2 come-from-behind win is another memorable match from the last-four stage. However, here we look at a few more modern Euro semi-final classics.
West Germany 1-2 Netherlands, 1988
Though Marco van Basten’s stunning volley in the final of the 1988 European Championship is what everyone still remembers vividly, his decisive goal in the semi-final that sealed a final berth for the Dutch cannot be understated. West Germany secured a lead after the legendary Lothar Matthaus scored from the penalty spot. Ronald Koeman had restored parity for Netherlands as the game looked to be heading to extra-time before van Basten netted a dramatic late winner to secure a spot in the final and avenge Netherlands’ 1974 defeat to Germany in the World Cup final.
Germany 3-2 Turkey, 2008
The 2008 Euro semi-final between Germany and Turkey was another classic rollercoaster of a contest with the pendulum swinging in favour of both sides over the course of the encounter. Even though Turkey were missing several players for the clash, they led once through Uğur Boral. However, Bastian Schweinsteiger quickly equalised and Miroslav Klose gave Germany the lead with 11 minutes left. Turkey then responded through a Semih Şentürk strike that levelled the score only for Philipp Lahm to net a rare goal in the closing stages and secure the German’s path to the final.
Germany 1-2 Italy, 2012
The 2012 semi-final is remembered for Mario Balotelli turning on the show and the iconic viral meme of the bare chested Italian striker flexing his muscles while celebrating the Azzurri’s second goal of the night. The Italian striker was instrumental in halting Germany’s run of 15 consecutive victories. His header gave Italy an early lead before powerfully rifling a second past Manuel Neuer. Germany could never recover despite Mesut Özil's added-time penalty as Italy earned a memorable semi-final win.
Featured photo : Ettore Ferrari / AFP