Best Goals and Top Celebrations of the Euros: From Ronaldo's Flick to Balotelli's Belter

Best Goals and Top Celebrations of the Euros: From Ronaldo's Flick to Balotelli's Belter

Lukman Mumuni
June 8, 2024 at 7:44 PM
In this article:
Netherlands logo
France logo
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Dimitri Payet logo
D. Payet
Clube de Regatas Vasco da Gama logoMFrance logo
UEFA European Championship logo
Zlatan Ibrahimović logo
Z. Ibrahimović
AC Milan logoFSweden logo
Mario Balotelli logo
M. Balotelli
Adana Demirspor logoFItaly logo
  • The 2024 European championship is set to start this summer in Germany
  • Over 800 goals have been scored across 16 editions of the championship
  • Sports Brief looks at the best goals and top celebrations in Euros history

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Goals define football matches, goals give meaning to football games, and goals separate winners from losers.

Most often fans leave the stadium with a vivid picture of scorers and the result that reminisce throughout an entire 90 minutes of football.

While goals are the most important element of a football match, the celebrations add beauty to the moment.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Euro 2024, Euro 2016, Portugal, Hungary, France
Cristiano Ronaldo scores with a flick against Hungary at the 2016 European championship. Photo: Michael Steele.
Source: Getty Images

There have been the screamers, the flicks, the acrobatic kicks, and the stunners since the Euros began in 1958. With these goals came exciting celebrations like the Antoine Griezmann choreography and the Icelandic thunderclaps.

According to UEFA, 829 goals have been scored in 337 games across 16 editions of the European Champions.

Sports Brief looks at 10 best goals from the European champions, taking into consideration factors such as strikes from outside the box, the build-up to the goals, and of course the beauty of the strike.

Best goals in Euros history

Ronaldo vs Hungary (2016)

Cristiano Ronaldo had a memorable Euro 2016 after leading Portugal to success in France. The then Real Madrid star played an inspiring role as the Selacao defeated host nation, France, in the final to win their first-ever European championship.

However, it was his second goal against Hungary in the group stages that proved to be decisive for Portugal, who were on the brink of elimination. Ronaldo flicked the ball into the net following a cross from the right to earn his country a significant point.

Dimitri Payet vs Romania (2016)

At that same competition, former West Ham United star, Dimitri Payet, had his best moments with the French national team. His best goal in a Les Blues shirt came in the game against Romania, when he received a pass from N'Golo Kante, did a quick turn, then rifled the ball into the net with his left foot.

Eder vs France (2016)

What a goal to win the Euros. Eder had to run almost 100 metres to celebrate the goal - that was how significant it was for the unlikely hero and his country, Portugal. With Ronaldo having to be replaced due to injury, the game went to extra time and a mistake in the 116th minute saw Eder fired in from outside the box to secure the winner.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Italy (2004)

In a crowded defence, the Swedish legend scored out of nothing with his Kung-fu chip into the net after evading Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini, the creme de la creme of defending. Zlatan's moment of genius remains one of the best at the Euros.

Hal Robson-Kanu vs Belgium (2016)

The 2016 Euros produced a lot of great goals. Wales' fairy-tale run at the competition, where they reached the quarter-final, saw two men starring: Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu. The latter's goal against Belgium was a thing of beauty. The former West Bromwich Albion striker turned two Belgium defenders with a quick move before smashing home as Wales reached the semi-final of the competition.

Mario Balotelli vs Germany (2012)

Why always Balotelli? That was the pose for his celebration after scoring a thunderous goal in the game against Germany. The former Man City striker picked a long pass from Riccardo Montolivo, before firing it into the top corner. The goal was so good, the Italian took off his jersey and presented European football with an iconic celebration.

Angelos Charisteas vs Portugal (2004)

Charisteas etched his name in the history books after scoring the winner in the Euro 2004 final. Greece came into the competition as underdogs and in the final against Portugal, with stars like Luis Figo and a fast-rising Ronaldo, the hosts were the fancied side. However, the Greek star rose above everyone in the box to head home the most significant goal in his nation's history.

Ibrahimovic vs France (2012)

Ibrahimovic had to appear on the list again. No one scored acrobatic goals better than the Swede and one of his best came at the 2012 European championship, where he scored a sensational goal to see off France 2-0.

Antonin Panenka vs West Germany (1976)

A goal so good, his name became synonymous with the style. The Czechoslovakian sparked innovation in football with his penalty against West Germany. It become so popular that after more than 40 years later, there are still players who hit the Panenka when taking penalties.

Marco Van Basten vs Soviet Union (1988)

One of the best players Holland has ever produced, Van Basten's career was blighted by injuries. However, his sensational volley against the Soviet Union at the 1988 Euros is arguably the best goal to have ever been scored at the tournament. The then AC Milan forward volleyed home from a brilliant cross from the left.

Iconic celebrations at the Euros

With the beautiful goals came iconic celebrations. Antoine Griezmann gave the Euros the popular 'Hotline Bling' dance while Ronaldo, Balotelli and David Trezeguet added panache with the taking off of shirts at the tournament.

Sports Brief has looked at five of the most iconic celebrations from the European championship.

Antoine Griezmann's 'Hotline Bling'

In 2016, Griezmann hit Hotline Bling after scoring in France's victory over Germany in the semi-final of Euro 2016. It has since become his signature celebration. The name came from Drake's 2016 hit song.

Fernando Torres' 'thumb' celebration

The former Liverpool striker rolled back the clock after scoring in the final of Euro 2008. He produced a iconic and somewhat weird moment to celebrate his strike against Germany.

Iceland and the 'Thunder Clap'

The Icelandic team conducted a thunderclap celebration after eliminating England at the Euro 2016's Round of 16 stage. They were joined by their fans, producing an epic sound.

Mario Balotelli shows off his muscles

Balotelli took off his shirt to display his mighty muscles after scoring a belter against Germany at Euros 2012. The Italian starred at the tournament as Gli Azurri reached the final. Before Balotelli, Trezeguet and Ronaldo had their shirts off in previous championships.

Paul Gascoigne's 'dentist chair'

A flamboyant player by all standards during his playing days, Gascoigne had everything from goals to celebrations. He performed the 'Dentist Chair' celebration with his England teammates in the victory over Scotland at the 1996 Euros.

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Lukman Mumuni
Lukman Abdul Mumin is a Sports Journalist based in Accra, Ghana. He has been writing for the past five years. Lukman joined Sports Brief as an Editor for the Local Desk in 2022.