Missed penalties, hooliganism, red cards, It's A Knockout and that Gazza celebration

While the Euros have not delivered any success to these islands they have given us memorable moments aplenty. Glenn Moore takes a look at tournaments past

Click to follow
The Independent Football

European Championships do not conjure the same memories as World Cups, but perhaps that is because, whatever their name, format and size, there has been one constant for more than half a century: British and Irish teams have consistently failed to make an impact. While Germany have reached six finals, winning three, England have twice reached the semi-finals, once as hosts. The Republic of Ireland and Scotland have each made an eight-team finals once, and Wales, like Ireland, reached the quarter-finals when they were staged on a two-leg basis. So though Paul Gascoigne, Ray Houghton and Wayne Rooney have had their moments in the finals, for the men who go to Ukraine and Poland this summer history is there for the making.

1960 Hosts: France
Final USSR 2-1 Yugoslavia
Player of the tournament Lev Yashin (USSR)
England Did not enter
Republic of Ireland Did not qualify (DNQ)

The Republic of Ireland's Liam Tuohy scored the first goal in the new European Nations' Cup, but the Irish also became the first to be knocked out, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Czechoslovakia in the only preliminary round tie. The Home Nations, like Italy and West Germany, declined to enter but 17 countries did. A knock-out qualifying competition climaxed in a four-team finals hosted by France. The communists of the USSR, who had been given a walkover in the quarter-final as the fascist General Franco refused to let Spain play them, beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in front of 17,966 in Paris. England may not have entered, but Arthur Ellis, later to gain fame refereeing TV's It's A Knockout, officiated.

1964 Hosts: Spain
Final Spain 2-1 USSR
Player of the tournament Luis Suarez (Spain)
England DNQ
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Unlike Scotland, England deigned to enter, but lost to France in the first round. The second leg, Sir Alf Ramsey's debut as manager, was lost 5-2. Spain, having knocked out both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the quarter-finals in qualifying, were chosen as hosts. Franco had to allow the USSR in, and was one of 120,000 who saw Spain defeat the holders 2-1 in the final. Referee Arthur Holland remains the last Englishman to appear in the competition's final.

1968 Hosts: Italy
Final Italy 2-0 Yugoslavia (replay, after 1-1 draw)
Player of the tournament Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia)
England SF
Republic of Ireland DNQ

The competition was renamed as the European Championship and groups introduced for qualifying. The Home International Championship served as one of them. World Cup winners England, despite losing at home to Scotland, qualified, then beat holders Spain (who had topped the Republic of Ireland's group) home and away to make the finals. In a pre-penalty shoot-out age the hosts Italy won one semi-final, against Russia, on the toss of a coin. England lost to Yugoslavia in the other, Alan Mullery unluckily becoming the first player dismissed on England duty. Italy won a replayed final 2-0.

1972 Hosts: Belgium
Final West Germany 3-0 USSR
Player of the tournament Gerd Müller (West Germany)
England DNQ
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Ireland gained one point in qualifying while England dropped only one. In the quarter-finals, however, they were outclassed 3-1 at Wembley by Gunter Netzer's West Germany, then drew in Berlin. Belgium, having knocked out holders Italy in the quarter-finals, hosted the last four in which West Germany cruised to victory against the USSR in the final.

1976 Hosts: Yugoslavia
Final: Czechoslovakia 2-2 West Germany (Czech won 5-3 on pens) Player of the tournament: Anton Ondrus (Czechoslovakia)
England: DNQ
Republic of Ireland: DNQ

Wales, under Mike Smith, made the last eight, going out 3-1 to Yugoslavia who then hosted the last four. Don Revie's England were put out by Czechoslovakia who went on to beat West Germany in the final. This was settled by a penalty shoot-out remembered for Anton Panenka's winning chipped spot-kick after Uli Hoeness had blazed high into the Belgrade night. Incidentally, the majority of the winning XI were Slovaks.

1980 Hosts: Italy
Final: West Germany 2-1 Belgium
Player of the tournament: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (West Germany)
England: Group stage
Republic of Ireland: DNQ

The finals were expanded to eight teams with hosts chosen in advance. England were drawn with Northern Ireland and the Republic, prompting the first all-Ireland meeting. The Dublin leg, in front of 55,000, was goalless. Northern Ireland then won in Belfast through a Gerry Armstrong goal, but by then England had the group secured. England's opening match in the finals, a draw against Belgium in Turin, was marred by serious hooliganism. Ron Greenwood's team then lost to Italy before winning a dead rubber against Spain. Belgium, inspired by veteran Wilfried Van Moer, reached the final but there they were beaten by two Horst Hrubesch goals.

1984 Hosts: France
Final France 2-0 Spain
Player of the tournament Michel Platini (France)
England DNQ
Republic of Ireland DNQ

For the first time since 1960, when only the Republic entered, no British Isles team made the last eight. Allan Simonsen's penalty was enough to earn Denmark victory at Wembley and the Scandinavians a place ahead of England.

Wales also missed out by a point while Ireland came third in a group won by Spain from the Dutch after a 12-1 defeat of Malta in the final game. With Simonsen suffering a broken leg in the opening game of the finals it was Michel Platini who dominated with nine goals, including two hat-tricks, as France won all five games.

1988 Hosts: W Germany
Final Netherlands 2-0 USSR
Player of the tournament Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
England Group stage
Republic of Ireland Group stage

Holders France failed to qualify, but Republic of Ireland, managed by England World Cup-winner Jack Charlton, reached their first finals. They marked their debut with a 1-0 win over Charlton's native country, Ray Houghton scoring the only goal in Stuttgart. For England it got worse, Marco van Basten bewildered Tony Adams in scoring a hat-trick against them, then the USSR beat Bobby Robson's team 3-1.

The Irish needed a draw against the Dutch to progress, but Wim Kieft's 81st-minute header put them out. The Netherlands went on to beat hosts West Germany in the semi-final and, with a Ruud Gullit header and stunning volley by Van Basten, the USSR in the final.

1992 Hosts: Sweden
Final Denmark 2-0 Germany.
Player of the tournament Thomas Hässler (Germany)
England Group stage
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Denmark became the eighth and most surprising winners after being summoned late to the tournament when UN sanctions barred Yugoslavia.

England had qualified by a point from Republic of Ireland and were joined by Scotland in their first finals. England's campaign is remembered for Graham Taylor's substitution of Gary Lineker, in his final international, and the subsequent Sun headline: Swedes 2, Turnips 1.

Craig Brown's Scots at least won once, against the CIS (as the USSR, initial winners and four-times finalists, were then known). Though held by England, Denmark concluded with wins over France, the Netherlands (on penalties), and, with a rare John Jensen goal, Germany in the final. So much for preparation.

1996 Hosts: England
Final Germany 2-1 Czech Republic
Player of the tournament Matthias Sammer (Germany)
England SF
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Football "came home", with a 16-team tournament, and England came closer than usual to ending "30 years of hurt" (now 46, and counting).

The Republic lost a play-off at Anfield, to the Dutch, but Scotland qualified, only to lose to an England inspired by Paul Gascoigne, who recreated the "dentist's chair" with his memorable celebration. Terry Venables' fluent team then despatched the Dutch, 4-1, and edged fortuitously past Spain on penalties, only to be beaten in the 12-yard lottery by Germany in the semi-finals – Andreas Möller winning it after Gareth Southgate's missed penalty.

Germany beat the Czechs with Oliver Bierhoff's second of the final, and first title-deciding "golden goal".

2000 Hosts: Belgium & Netherlands
Final France 2-1 Italy
Player of the tournament Zinedine Zidane (France)
England Group stage
Republic of Ireland DNQ

The first joint tournament had two distinct flavours – fine food and ale and old-fashioned policing in Belgium; a party atmosphere and liberal law enforcement in the Netherlands. Ireland again lost in the play-offs, to Turkey.

England beat Scotland in a play-off to qualify, but then stank the place out. On the pitch Kevin Keegan's team beat a German side that was even worse but still failed to qualify, while off it hooligans misbehaved in Brussels then rioted in Charleroi. The Germans went home to overhaul their entire coaching structure, England simply carried on as before.

Back in the Low Countries the Dutch, after scoring 14 goals in four matches, lost their nerve in the semi-final against 10-man Italy, missing two penalties in the scoreless match and three in the shoot-out.

In the other semi-final Portugal lost their heads after France beat them with a 117th-minute golden-goal penalty. Long bans for manhandling officials ensued. Italy led in the final, but missed chances allowed Sylvain Wiltord to level in the last minute before Juventus-bound David Trezeguet won it with a golden goal.

2004 Hosts: Portugal
Final Greece 1-0 Portugal
Player of the tournament Angelos Charisteas (Greece)
England QF
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Teenager Wayne Rooney shone, but was then injured as, for the fourth tournament in eight, England went out on penalties, to Portugal.

The glory went, most unexpectedly, to Greece, who defeated the hosts in the tournament's first and final games. They scored seven goals in six matches as veteran German coach Otto Rehhagel turned a bunch of reserves and relative nonentities into a tight, well-organised unit.

Wales and Scotland both lost in play-offs, to Russia and the Netherlands respectively.

2008 Hosts: Austria & Switzerland
Final Spain 1-0 Germany
Player of the tournament Marcos Senna (Spain)
England DNQ
Republic of Ireland DNQ

Two hosts, 16 teams but none from the British Isles despite the Scots beating France home and away in qualifying. England finished third behind Croatia and Russia, spelling the end for umbrella-holding Steve McClaren, giving rise to the "wally with a brolly" nickname.

In a rain-hit Alpine tournament, Spain, after years of flattering to deceive, won their first title since 1964, the prolific (back then) Fernando Torres scoring the only goal of the final.

Semi-finalists Turkey were the comeback kings, even beating Croatia (on penalties) after going behind in the 119th-minute. A notable feature was the number of Brazilian-born players involved, from finalists Marcos Senna (Spain) and Kevin Kuranyi (Germany) to Deco and Pepe (Portugal), Eduardo (Croatia), Mehmet Aurelio (Turkey) and Roger Guerriro (Poland). The European Championship was now global.