Germany vs Scotland: Ranking 5 of the Best Opening Games in Euros History

Germany vs Scotland: Ranking 5 of the Best Opening Games in Euros History

Isaac Darko
updated at June 15, 2024 at 6:39 AM
In this article:
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  • Germany thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 as the Euro 2024 hosts kicked off the tournament in style in Munich on Friday evening
  • This win marks the largest margin for a host nation and the biggest win in any Euros opener since the tournament started in 1960
  • Sports Brief takes a look at five of the most memorable opening games in the history of the European Championship

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Germany shattered records in the Euro 2024 opener by defeating Scotland 5-1 at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Friday.

This triumph marks the largest margin of victory for a host nation in European Championship history and the most decisive win in any opening match of the tournament.

Sports Brief revisits five of the most memorable opening games in Euros history after Germany's 5-1 win over Scotland.
Sports Brief revisits five of the most memorable opening games in Euros history after Germany's 5-1 win over Scotland. Photos by Jean Catuffe/Vicenzo Pinto.
Source: Getty Images

Since its inception in 1960, the European Championship has seen only one goalless opening match, with eight others decided by a single goal, per Opta Analyst.

Here, Sports Brief revisits five of the most memorable opening games in Euros history:

Best opening games in Euros history

Turkey 0-3 Italy (2020)

Euro 2020's opener saw Italy deliver a dominant performance against a highly-rated Turkish side.

Italy, unbeaten in 27 matches, overwhelmed Turkey with 24 attempts on goal.

An own goal by Merih Demiral, followed by strikes from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne, sealed a comprehensive win, per ESPN.

This commanding display set the tone for Italy's campaign, which culminated in them winning the tournament by defeating England in the final on penalties.

France 2-1 Romania (2016)

France overcame a nervy start in their 2016 opener against Romania thanks to Dimitri Payet’s spectacular late goal.

Olivier Giroud’s header from Payet’s cross put France ahead, but Romania equalized through Bogdan Stancu’s penalty. In the 89th minute, Payet's stunning strike secured a narrow victory for the hosts.

Portugal 1-2 Greece (2004)

Greece stunned the host nation Portugal in the opening match of Euro 2004.

Georgios Karagounis exploited a Paulo Ferreira error to score from 25 yards, and Angelos Basinas doubled the lead with a penalty after Cristiano Ronaldo fouled Giourkas Seitaridis.

Although Ronaldo scored late for Portugal, Greece held on. Otto Rehhagel’s team went on to defeat Portugal again in the final, completing one of the biggest surprises in tournament history.

Czechoslovakia 3-1 Netherlands, AET (1976)

In the 1976 edition, the European Championship featured just four teams, with Czechoslovakia facing the Netherlands in the semi-final.

Johan Cruyff captained a formidable Dutch team, but the match extended into extra time after Anton Ondruš scored at both ends.

Late goals from Zdeněk Nehoda and František Veselý propelled Czechoslovakia to the final, where they triumphed over Germany in a penalty shootout, highlighted by Antonín Panenka’s iconic chipped penalty.

France 4-5 Yugoslavia (1960)

The inaugural European Championship set high standards with a thrilling semi-final between France and Yugoslavia at the Parc des Princes.

Milan Galić put Yugoslavia ahead in the 11th minute, but France quickly equalized and dominated, leading 4-2 with 15 minutes left.

Yugoslavia, however, made a stunning comeback with Tomislav Knez scoring, followed by two rapid goals from Dražan Jerković, securing their spot in the final.

Fans hail Toni Kroos

Sports Brief earlier reported that Toni Kroos received rave reviews following his masterclass performance for Germany against Scotland in the opening match of Euro 2024.

The Real Madrid midfielder, who came out of retirement for a last dance at the Euros, started the tournament with an almost flawless display.

After the game, football fans took to social media to lavish praise on the 34-year-old, who earlier announced he would call time on his career at the end of the Euros.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)