Eight days to go: Perhaps the most iconic goal in UEFA European Championship history, Marco van Basten's stunning volley in the 1988 final continues to drop jaws.
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The game: USSR 0-2 Netherlands, 1988 final
The date: 25 June 1988
The location: Olympiastadion, Munich
The protagonist: Marco van Basten
What made it special?
Few players have possessed the skill to pull off what Marco van Basten managed against the USSR in 1988. Fewer still have had the courage to do it in a final. On the bench for the Netherlands' opening loss against the same opponents, the forward responded with a hat-trick against England and the semi-final winner against hosts West Germany.
Then came his moment of pure genius 54 minutes into the decider, meeting Arnold Mühren's lofted cross with a sensational arcing volley from a tight angle wide out on the right. Utterly breathtaking.
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What did it mean?
For the Oranje, who were 1-0 up following Ruud Gullit's opener, this was the goal that sealed the deal, securing their first major international title. After the heartbreak of their FIFA World Cup final defeats in 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands had a trophy to lift at last – and Rinus Michels' squad were soon welcomed home as heroes, with a boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam.
How Van Basten remembers it …
"It was in the second half and I was a little tired. The ball came from Arnold Mühren and I was thinking, 'OK, I can stop it and do something with all these defensive players or I can do it the easy way – take a risk and shoot.' You need a lot of luck with a shot like that. Everything went well. But as for the excitement after the goal, I didn't really understand it or what I'd done. You can see that in my reaction. I'm asking: 'What's happening?'"
Ruud Gullit, Netherlands captain
"If he hit it a million times, he would never ever score that goal again."
Jan Wouters, Netherlands midfielder
"When we celebrated, I asked him: 'How could you shoot from there?' He answered: 'I just don’t know.'"
What the papers said
"With his first touch, Arnold Mühren launched a curling cross over 40 metres which Van Basten met on the volley. Unstoppable for the completely surprised Rinat Dassaev, the ball hit the net. The most beautiful EURO goal was born." De Telegraaf