EURO 1996 Team of the Tournament

Three of Germany’s winning squad made the cut but seven countries were represented overall.

Croatia striker Davor Šuker was at his peak during EURO ‘96
Croatia striker Davor Šuker was at his peak during EURO ‘96 ©Getty Images

GOALKEEPER

Andreas Köpke (Germany)
The 1993 German Footballer of the Year was a long-time understudy to Bodo Illgner, sitting on the bench at three tournaments before getting his chance at EURO '96, aged 34. Kept his goal intact throughout the group stage, saving a Gianfranco Zola penalty, then stopped another spot kick from Gareth Southgate in the semi-final shoot-out against England. Played for Nürnberg, Frankfurt and Marseille, and ended his international career at the 1998 FIFA World Cup with 59 caps. Germany's goalkeeping coach since 2004.

DEFENDERS

Laurent Blanc (France) 
Made the team of the tournament in 1992, 1996 and 2000, where he bowed out with victory in the final – an honour cruelly denied him through suspension at the 1998 World Cup. Nicknamed ‘Le Président’ on account of his authority, elegance and leadership, the centre-back started at Montpellier as a midfielder, later representing Barcelona, Inter and Manchester United. Won the title as Bordeaux coach, led France at UEFA EURO 2012, then two domestic trebles with Paris.

Marcel Desailly was a dominant figure in the France defence at EURO ‘96
Marcel Desailly was a dominant figure in the France defence at EURO ‘96©Getty Images

Marcel Desailly (France)
A UEFA Champions League winner with Marseille and AC Milan in successive seasons, Desailly helped France to the EURO '96 semi-finals and 1998 World Cup success. At UEFA EURO 2000, he was the only Frenchman to start and finish all six matches and arguably the most consistent central defender of the tournament. An icon at Milan and Chelsea, where he spent six years, he amassed 116 caps.

Matthias Sammer won the European Footballer of the Year award off the back of his EURO ‘96 displays
Matthias Sammer won the European Footballer of the Year award off the back of his EURO ‘96 displays©Getty Images

Matthias Sammer (Germany)
His Franz Beckenbauer-like performances as sweeper at EURO '96, where he scored winners against Russia and Croatia, earned Sammer the European Footballer of the Year award. The first East German to represent the unified Germany, he was twice an East German league winner with Dynamo Dresden then won the Bundesliga three times; once with Stuttgart and twice at Dortmund, where he also claimed the 1997 UEFA Champions League. Coached both clubs after a knee injury forced his retirement, aged 30.

Paolo Maldini (Italy)
One of the game’s greatest ever defenders, Maldini played over 1000 matches for club and country and made a then Italian record 126 appearances between 1988 and 2002. Came closest to international honours when runner-up at the 1994 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000. It was ironic that Italy should win the 2006 World Cup without their talisman, but Maldini claimed EURO Team of the Tournament places in 1988, 1996 and 2000 not to mention five European Cups and seven Serie A crowns in 25 years at Milan.

Paul Gascoigne rolled back the years for hosts England at EURO ‘96
Paul Gascoigne rolled back the years for hosts England at EURO ‘96©Getty Images

MIDFIELDERS

Paul Gascoigne (England)
After winning global fame at the 1990 World Cup, Gascoigne was plagued by injuries but he recaptured his form at EURO '96. The former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio midfielder had just had a dream debut season for Rangers and was at his mercurial best when scoring against Scotland. In the next game against the Netherlands, 'Gazza' made two goals in a stunning 4-1 victory and he was centimetres away from a golden goal during the semi-final against Germany.

Dieter Eilts (Germany)
An outstanding servant to Werder Bremen, Eilts went to EURO '96 and surprised everybody with his composure as an anchorman. His tactical appreciation enabled libero Sammer to sweep forward and Germany conceded just three goals, one after Eilts had been forced off injured in the final. Captained Bremen until 2002, clocking up 390 Bundesliga appearances in 17 years, and won two German championships, three German Cups and the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Karel Poborský’s scoop was one of the stand-out goals at EURO ‘96
Karel Poborský’s scoop was one of the stand-out goals at EURO ‘96©Getty Images

Karel Poborský (Czech Republic)
Poborský made his name at EURO '96 with a string of dazzling performances, including an outrageous scooped winner in the quarter-final against Portugal. Reached the final here and the last four in his third EURO, in 2004. Claimed his 118th cap at the 2006 World Cup and finished with eight goals. Poborský played for Manchester United, Benfica and Lazio, but it was his international performances that marked him out.

Alan Shearer was the top scorer at EURO ‘96 with five goals
Alan Shearer was the top scorer at EURO ‘96 with five goals©Getty Images

FORWARDS

Alan Shearer (England)
Shearer began summer 1996 off the back of a season which brought 31 Premier League goals and ended it with a world-record move from Blackburn to Newcastle. At EURO '96 he ended a 21-month international goal drought with a tournament high of five goals. As England captain Shearer struck twice at UEFA EURO 2000, taking his tally to 30 goals in 63 caps, but he ended his international career aged 29. Played another six seasons for Newcastle, whom he briefly managed, before moving into punditry.

Hristo Stoichkov scored in every group game for Bulgaria at EURO ‘96
Hristo Stoichkov scored in every group game for Bulgaria at EURO ‘96©Getty Images

Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
The man who spearheaded Bulgaria’s run to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals scored in all three group matches in England. The 1994 Ballon d'Or winner lifted the 1992 European Champion Clubs' Cup with Barcelona, two years after leaving CSKA Sofia, and returned to the Camp Nou to lift the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Also played at the 1998 World Cup and won 83 caps, reaping 37 goals. After spells in Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United States, he coached Bulgaria and various club sides.

Davor Šuker (Croatia)
The crowning glory of Šuker's international career came at the 1998 World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot after six goals that propelled Croatia to third place. Scored 12 goals in EURO ‘96 qualifying and three more at the finals, two of them in a virtuoso performance against Denmark. Soon snapped up from Sevilla by Real Madrid, where 24 goals earned a league title immediately and, a year later, UEFA Champions League glory. Šuker, who also played for Arsenal, bowed out in 2002 with 45 international goals.

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