EURO 1988: all you need to know

A fine Marco van Basten finish made the Netherlands' biggest EURO success even more special.

Captained by Ruud Gullit, Netherlands won their first major trophy at EURO 1988
Captained by Ruud Gullit, Netherlands won their first major trophy at EURO 1988 Popperfoto via Getty Images

Who won the 1988 EURO?

The Netherlands beat the Soviet Union 2-0 in the final of the 1988 UEFA European Championship, which took place at Munich's Olympiastadion on 25 June. Ruud Gullit put the Oranje in front in the first half, before Marco van Basten's amazing volley from a tight angle killed the game off after 52 minutes. "You need a lot of luck with a shot like that," he told UEFA.com. "Everything went well. It is one of those things that sometimes just happens."

Who were the top scorers at the 1988 EURO?

Marco van Basten scored five times at the 1988 finals, despite starting on the bench for the Netherlands' opening game against the Soviet Union (which the USSR won 1-0). The AC Milan man hit a hat-trick against England in the next match, then struck the semi-final winner against Germany before saving his very best finish for the decider. "I had a difficult year with lot of injury problems," he said, looking back at the England win. "From that moment everything changed and everything went positive."

EURO countdown: Watch Van Basten's volley from 1988
EURO countdown: Watch Van Basten's volley from 1988

Another Dutchman, John Bosman, was the top scorer in the qualifying competition with nine goals. The Ajax ace started the Netherlands' first game at the finals but lost his starting place to Van Basten thereafter.

Where was the 1988 EURO held?

Eight stadiums in West Germany were used for the 1988 finals, with the decider itself staged at the Olympiastadion in Munich. The other venues were the Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf, the Niedersachsenstadion in Hanover, Gelsenkirchen's Parkstadion, Cologne's Müngsdorfer Stadion, the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart, Frankfurt's Waldstadion and Hamburg's Volksparkstadion.

Who managed the winning team at the 1988 EURO?

Rinus Michels led the Netherlands to EURO glory in the third of his four spells in charge of the national side. The architect of 'Total Football', the ex-Ajax striker won three European Cups with the Amsterdam club before taking his philosophy to Barcelona. "I am especially happy with the fact I have been able to help make the Dutch way of playing famous all over the world," he once said. "If I had a tail, I would wag it."

Who was the winning captain at the 1988 EURO?

Ruud Gullit became the first Netherlands captain to lift a major international trophy when the 25-year-old picked up the Henri Delaunay Trophy after the final in Munich. The attacking midfielder came to the tournament fresh from winning the Serie A title in his first term at AC Milan, and headed the opener in the EURO final against the Soviet Union. "Winning for your country is the best achievement ever because you live there," he remembered. "You will be a hero for the rest of your life."

What was the format for the 1988 EURO?

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1988
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1988

Staged from 10–25 June, the tenth edition of the UEFA European Championship featured an eight-team group stage (two groups of four teams). The group winners (West Germany and the Soviet Union) faced the runners-up from the other groups in the semi-finals (the Netherlands and Italy). There was no third-place play-off.

How many teams featured in the 1988 EURO?

Eight teams competed at the finals, while 32 sides participated in qualifying. West Germany qualified for the finals automatically as hosts.

How did 1988 EURO qualifying work?

The 32 entrants were split into seven groups; four comprising five teams and three comprising four. In the groups, sides played each other home and away (two points for a win, one for a draw). The seven group winners joined hosts West Germany in the final.

Who was in the 1988 EURO team of the tournament?

Italy's Gianluca Vialli was named in the  team of the tournament
Italy's Gianluca Vialli was named in the team of the tournamentPopperfoto via Getty Images

GK: Hans van Breukelen (Netherlands)
DF: Giuseppe Bergomi (Italy)
DF: Paolo Maldini (Italy)
DF: Ronald Koeman (Netherlands)
DF: Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands)
MF: Giuseppe Giannini (Italy)
MF: Jan Wouters (Netherlands)
MF: Lothar Matthäus (West Germany)
FW: Gianluca Vialli (Italy)
FW: Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
FW: Marco van Basten (Netherlands)

Who scored the first goal at the 1988 EURO?

Roberto Mancini scored the first goal of the final tournament, 52 minutes into Italy's game against Germany in Dusseldorf on 10 June 1988. Andreas Brehme equalised three minutes later. As coach, Mancini led the Azzurri to the finals of EURO 2020.

Ştefan Iovan broke the deadlock on 44 minutes when Romania kicked off the EURO 1988 qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win against Austria on 10 September 1986. The Steaua Bucureşti right-back was later assistant coach of Romania, but dedicated much of his coaching career to the club he once played for, now known as FCSB.

Five top facts about the 1988 EURO

Peter Shilton earned his 100th England cap at the 1988 EURO
Peter Shilton earned his 100th England cap at the 1988 EURO Popperfoto via Getty Images

• The Netherlands' Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Berry van Aerle and Gerald Vanenburg all won the EURO within weeks of lifting the European Cup with PSV.

• One million people lined Amsterdam's canals as the Netherlands paraded their trophy on a barge after their return. Houseboats sank under the weight of people dancing on the roofs.

• The Dutch semi-final victory over West Germany was their first against their neighbours since 1956. Celebrations after that game were considered the biggest public gathering in the Netherlands since the events that marked the end of the Second World War.

• Goalkeeper Peter Shilton became the fourth England player to win 100 caps on the day he conceded three Marco van Basten goals against the Netherlands in a 3-1 defeat.

• Beaten 2-0 by the Dutch in the decisive game in Munich, the Soviet Union remain the only team to lose in three UEFA European Championship finals.

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