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Greatest comebacks in EURO history

Published: Friday 20 April 2012, 10.00CET
From nine-goal thrillers to last-gasp victories and extra-time drama, UEFA.com looks at eight of the most dramatic comebacks in UEFA European Championship finals history.
Greatest comebacks in EURO history
Nihat Kahveci celebrates with team-mates after his unlikely winner in 2008 ©Getty Images
 
Published: Friday 20 April 2012, 10.00CET

Greatest comebacks in EURO history

From nine-goal thrillers to last-gasp victories and extra-time drama, UEFA.com looks at eight of the most dramatic comebacks in UEFA European Championship finals history.

1960 semi-finals: France 4-5 Yugoslavia
The opening game of the inaugural UEFA European Championship produced an encounter barely equalled for drama in the 52 years since. The teams traded early blows before France went 2-1 up just before half-time, yet there was still little sign of the explosion of goals to come. Les Bleus doubled their advantage twice – either side of Ante Žanetić's 55th-minute effort – to lead 4-2 with 15 minutes left, but three strikes in five minutes turned the match on its head in remarkable fashion.

1976 semi-finals: Yugoslavia 2-4 West Germany (aet)
Two down inside half an hour, the holders' title defence was on the rocks. Helmut Schön's 1974 FIFA World Cup winners did not deal in capitulations, however, and were on level terms again with eight minutes left thanks to Heinz Flohe and substitute Dieter Müller. Müller hit two more in the last six minutes of extra time to complete his hat-trick and put West Germany through to a showpiece against Czechoslovakia – not a bad international debut for the forward.

1984 semi-finals: France 3-2 Portugal (aet)
In front through Jean-François Domergue's goal midway through the first half, France were in charge and destined for a home final until Rui Jordão struck with 16 minutes remaining. With a spring in their step, Portugal took the lead in extra time and appeared to have orchestrated the unlikeliest of turnarounds; France had Michel Platini in their ranks, though. Inspirational throughout the tournament, their captain once more came to the fore, setting up his team's equaliser before notching a 119th-minute winner.

2000 group stage: Yugoslavia 3-3 Slovenia
To suggest the odds were stacked against Yugoslavia with 30 minutes to go would be to do them a disservice – it was a task of Everest proportions. Slovenia were not only three goals to the good after two Zlatko Zahovič efforts and Miran Pavlin's header, they also had a man extra after Siniša Mihajlović's dismissal on the hour. But Yugoslavia did not know when they were beaten and hauled it back to 3-3 with goals on 67, 70 and 73 minutes, Ivan Dudić's late goal-line clearance ensuring their hard work did not go to waste.

2000 group stage: Portugal 3-2 England
England's UEFA EURO 2000 campaign seemed to have got off to a dream start when Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman put them 2-0 up inside 18 minutes. They were facing a world-class midfield, though, and had surrendered their advantage to goals from Luís Figo and João Pinto by half-time. With Rui Costa at his majestic best there was now only one likely winner – sure enough, the No10's sublime pass played in Nuno Gomes to make it 3-2 just before the hour.

2000 group stage: Yugoslavia 3-4 Spain
Spain really did look dead and buried as this, their final group game, wound to a close. José Antonio Camacho's men needed to win to go through to the quarter-finals but trailed 3-2 to ten-man Yugoslavia as the match entered added time. Gaizka Mendieta's free-kick promptly drew them level yet they still had to eke out another; Alfonso Pérez duly hammered in his second of the game and pandemonium ensued. Yugoslavia, at least, could be consoled by the fact they went through too.

2004 group stage: Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
Dick Advocaat's team, who had held Germany in their opening fixture, were set to inject further momentum into their 2004 campaign after goals by Wilfred Bouma and Ruud van Nistelrooy inside 19 minutes. Yet the 1996 runners-up still possessed quality aplenty and halved their challenge almost immediately courtesy of Jan Koller. Milan Baroš made it 2-2 midway through the second half before John Heitinga was sent off, leaving Vladimír Šmicer to apply the coup de grace with two minutes on the clock.

2008 group stage: Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic
An exhilarating, breathtaking tournament for Turkey was summed up by the final four minutes here. Fatih Terim's charges were 2-1 down and in need of a hero; captain Nihat Kahveci levelled on 87 minutes but penalties still loomed. Nihat made sure there was no need for that, however, scoring the winner with a minute to spare. The chaos was complete when Volkan Demirel was sent off, though there would be more mayhem for Turkey in the quarter-finals – Semih Şentürk rescuing them two minutes into injury time of extra time before a 3-1 penalty shoot-out triumph against Croatia.

Last updated: 20/04/12 12.29CET

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