Arsenal’s History At The Euros by Dan Smith
So England are on the TV, and I can’t visit my family due to lockdown. It means one thing, a Dan top 10 list.
I had a few themes based on Arsenal’s history at the Euros. I previewed who might light up next summer’s tournament, but it just reminded me how rubbish we are. Which none of us gooners need right now.
The great thing with a Top 10 list is it forces us to remember happier times
10- Goal Made In Highbury – Euro 2000
France were losing 1-0 in the semi Final when Anelka cut in from the right to square to Thierry Henry, who scored on the turn. It was the ex-Gunner setting up the current Arsenal striker, a goal made in Highbury.
A shout out to Arsene Wenger as he gave the opportunity for these two as youngsters to make it to that level.
9- Paddy Power – Bendtner – Euro 2012
Iconic for two reasons. Firstly it was one of Bendtner final moments in the spotlight. Second, it tells you where UEFA’s priorities were at.
Scoring twice against Portugal is no small feat. Both times he chose to reveal his boxer shorts which had Paddy Power written on his waist band. The striker was breaking the rules by advertising without permission, but a fine of 80,000 was controversial when associations were being fined less for racial abuse from crowds. By doing this, were the governing body not advertising the betting company even more?
8- Total Football – Van Persie – Euro 2008
Our youngsters did well at these Euros. Holland should have won this tournament given the football they played.
Their second goal against France sums up the footballing ethos the Dutch have. It’s counter attacking at his best. Those old enough might remember but if not, you can watch the highlights here. Henry scored the consolation goal as Holland won 4-1. Worth a watch!
7- Iconic Goals – Henry – Euro 2000
One of my favourite Thierry Henry goals and celebrations were against Denmark. Barthez threw the ball to his striker who started his run on the half way line. Defenders quickly realised they simply couldn’t catch him.
He cut in from the left, Schmeichel took a step before accepting the strike was too good so just stood there. To clarify that’s one of the best keepers the world has ever seen just shrugging his shoulders in acceptance. Henry gave one of his famous arrogant glares but it’s not arrogant if you can back it up!
6- Giroud Gets recognition – Euro 2016
Scoring the opening goal of a Euros in your own country is a big honour in its own right, but it also helped Giroud silence some critics. Many (including those in his own nation) couldn’t understand why Deschamps kept picking the striker considering the other options available to him.
The manager felt Giroud gave the French a plan B, allowing them to knock the ball long when needed. He repaid that faith by finding the net 3 times and assisting another two. Only Griezmann and Ronaldo contributed to more goals that summer.
Although they lost the Final, Giroud’s link up play would be the blueprint towards winning the World Cup two years later.
5- ‘Don’t Take Me Home ‘ – Rambo – Euro 2016
Wales were the story of the Euros 4 years ago, their first major competition since 1976. Second only to Gareth Bale, Ramsey was instrumental in the Welsh being the smallest nation to get to the semi-finals of a European Championship.
His iconic moment was probably his chipped finish against Russia which put his country on course for the knockout stages.
In fact he was so good that summer, many believe his suspension for the Portugal tie was a major factor in the Portuguese 2-0 win
4- Spain Break Mental Barrier – Fabregas – Euro 2008
By 2008 everyone knew Spain had world class players, but we had been saying that about them for years. The nice way of putting things is the country had a reputation for under achieving in football. The horrible way of saying it would be they had bottled it.
So when Italy took them to a penalty shoot-out in the quarter finals it was seen as a huge mental barrier to knock down.
At that point, the Spanish had failed to advance beyond the last eight of their previous 10 tournaments which their press would often remind them of. So win and the curse was lifted. Lose and it would be added to the list of near misses.
So for their decisive penalty it might have been a surprise they put their faith in our 21-year-old midfielder. He kissed the ball, spoke to it and it did as it was told. I was proud of Fabregas.
The only issue being every time he won something with his country, his teammates would celebrate by forcing him to wear a Barcelona shirt. He didn’t exactly resist, did he?
3 Seaman Penalty Save part 1 – Euro 96
When England face Scotland next summer it will the 25th anniversary of their famous clash at Euro 96. It was iconic for Paul Gascoigne’s goal and celebrations, but it over shadows what happened seconds before. Garry McAllister had a chance to equalise from the spot which would have put massive pressure on England given they had drawn their opener. A David Seaman save set up what was to follow. Watch the highlights here.
2-Ashley Cole vs Ronald- Euro 2004
It might say a lot about England’s Golden Generation, that their best individual performance in a major tournament may have been the two times Cole went head to head with Ronaldo when we lost (the other two years later at the World Cup). Anyone who remembers this game will know what I am talking about.
If you don’t believe me, Ronaldo himself has described Cole his toughest opponent.
For non-footballing reasons Ashley doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but I would argue he was our only so-called World-Class player from this era to replicate his club form with his country.
1- Seaman Penalty Save part 2 – Euro 96
To put this moment into context this was England’s first ever win in a penalty shoot out. Whisper it quietly but Spain were a lot better for 120 minutes and wrongly had a goal disallowed. But Seaman saved Spain’s spot kick to put us in the semi Final.
And England never lost another shoot out again ……
Hope you enjoyed