GK: Hans van Breukelen (Netherlands)
This was an annus mirabilis for Van Breukelen, who followed up a domestic double and European Champion Clubs' Cup glory at PSV Eindhoven with EURO '88 success. His save to deny Benfica's António Veloso in the penalty shoot-out clinched the European Cup in Stuttgart, and Van Breukelen denied Igor Belanov from the spot in the EURO final in Munich. His penalty-saving prowess deserted him in the semi-final shoot-out loss to Denmark four years later in what was his 73rd and last international appearance, but he went on to complete a decade's service at PSV, the club he joined from Nottingham Forest in 1984.
DF: Giuseppe Bergomi (Italy)
A FIFA World Cup winner at 18, Bergomi made his UEFA European Championship debut six years later as the Azzurri made it through to the semi-finals under his captaincy. Bergomi's international career would last another ten years, but after starring on home soil at the 1990 World Cup there would be a six-year wait before a shock recall for the 1998 finals in France, meaning he earned 'only' 81 caps. A one-club man, Bergomi made 519 Serie A appearances and 117 in European competition (1980–99) for Internazionale Milano. He won one Scudetto and three UEFA Cups before retiring to take up a career as a football pundit.
DF: Ronald Koeman (Netherlands)
A classy defender, Koeman was also a frequent goalscorer and free-kick specialist. His winning goal for Barcelona in the 1992 European Champion Clubs' Cup final against Sampdoria earned him immortality in Catalonia, where he won four league titles. He was also adored at PSV, with whom he had won Europe's top club competition four years earlier. In 1988 he clinched the domestic double and European Cup with PSV before triumphing at EURO '88, his equalising penalty in the semi-final against West Germany crucial in the Oranje's success. Koeman played at EURO '92 and in two World Cups before taking up coaching.
DF: Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands)
Rijkaard coached the Netherlands at UEFA EURO 2000 having shone as a player at the UEFA European Championships of 1988 and 1992. A stylish defender in Rinus Michels' victorious '88 side, Rijkaard moved into midfield at EURO '92, where he again excelled, scoring a late equaliser, one of his ten international goals, against Denmark in the semi-finals. A member of the celebrated Dutch triumvirate at AC Milan, he won the European Champion Clubs' Cup in each of his first two seasons, scoring the winning goal in the 1990 showpiece. Five years later, he hoisted the trophy as Ajax captain.
DF: Paolo Maldini (Italy)
One of the greatest ever defenders, Maldini played over 1,000 matches for club and country and made an Italy record 126 appearances between 1988 and 2002. Maldini shone from his first international tournament (EURO '88) to his last (2002 FIFA World Cup), coming closest to winning honours at the 1994 World Cup, where the Azzurri lost the final to Brazil on penalties, and the UEFA EURO 2000 final, which Italy lost to France's golden goal. It was ironic that Italy should win the 2006 World Cup without their talisman, but Maldini claimed EURO Team of the Tournament places in 1996 and 2000 not to mention five European Cups and seven Serie A crowns.
MF: Giuseppe Giannini (Italy)
Though relatively new to international football, Giannini was firmly established as the Azzurri No10 by summer 1988 following a brilliant Serie A campaign for Roma. Nicknamed 'Il Principe' (The Prince), Giannini fared well in his first major tournament, playing with particular panache in the 2-0 defeat of Denmark, and there was more to come on his FIFA World Cup debut on home soil two years later. Beaten in both semi-finals, Giannini would get no further opportunities to win a trophy for Italy and bowed out with 47 caps. He did, however, continue to play for several years more with his beloved Roma, chalking up 318 Serie A appearances before departing in 1996.
MF: Lothar Matthäus (West Germany)
Lothar Matthäus was capped 150 times, making his debut at the 1980 UEFA European Championship and his last appearance at UEFA EURO 2000. West Germany's best player in 1988, he opened the scoring in the semi-final before the Netherlands fought back. Matthäus captained his country to glory at the 1990 World Cup, the year he was voted European Footballer of the Year. Italia '90 was just one of five World Cups in which he appeared, and he is the competition's all-time appearance-record holder with 25. At club level, too, Matthäus won myriad honours with Bayern München and Internazionale Milano.
MF: Jan Wouters (Netherlands)
A regular for the Netherlands between 1982 and 1994, Wouters was at his indefatigable best at EURO '88 and one of seven players who lasted the 90 minutes in all five matches. Signed by Johan Cruyff for Ajax in 1986, Wouters remained with the Amsterdam giants for six years, before joining Bayern. He played at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and EURO '92, before ending his international career at USA '94 with 70 caps and four goals. He then joined PSV, where he would later coach, enjoying other roles at Ajax, Rangers and Utrecht.
FW: Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
Gullit was one of the continent's most illustrious players. European Footballer of the Year in 1987, the tall, dreadlocked total-footballer inspired Milan to their first league title in nine years and captained the Netherlands to their first major international trophy at the 1988 UEFA European Championship, scoring the opening goal in the final against the Soviet Union with a powerful header. Gullit was back to his commanding best at EURO '92, having won the Scudetto with Milan in record-breaking style. He ended his international career with 66 caps and 17 goals in 1994. His has since coached Chelsea, Newcastle United, Feyenoord, LA Galaxy and Terek Grozny.
FW: Gianluca Vialli (Italy)
Two goals in a decisive 1988 qualifier against Sweden confirmed Vialli as the Azzurri's new golden boy. Italy's No1 striker at EURO '88, he impressed but missed several chances in the 2-0 semi-final defeat by USSR. At the 1990 World Cup, Vialli was upstaged by Totò Schillaci and Roberto Baggio and his international career ended with 16 goals and 59 caps. He joined Juventus for a world-record fee after Sampdoria lost the 1992 European Champion Clubs' Cup final to Barcelona but won the 1996 trophy with the Bianconeri. He finished playing at Chelsea, where he became manager before moving on to Watford and then forging a successful TV career.
FW: Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
Van Basten scored many fabulous goals, but the one for which he will always be remembered is his volley against USSR goalkeeper Rinat Dasaev in the EURO '88 final. It was his fifth goal of the tournament, following a hat-trick against England and a late winner in the semi-final against West Germany. The Dutch marksman scooped the Golden Boot and would win the first of his three Ballon d'Or awards that year. At Milan he twice lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup before an ankle injury forced his premature retirement after 24 goals from 58 caps. Van Basten also coached his former club Ajax in 2008, after four years in charge of the Oranje.
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