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Memorable EURO defensive performances: Dellas, Ramos, Pepe

Traianos Dellas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Ashley Cole and Philipp Lahm feature among our collection of five outstanding defensive EURO displays.

Germany defender Philipp Lahm in action against Turkey in the 2008 semi-finals
Germany defender Philipp Lahm in action against Turkey in the 2008 semi-finals AFP via Getty Images

UEFA.com picks out five outstanding defensive performances from past final tournaments.

Check out our selections below.

Traianos Dellas (Greece 1-0 Czech Rep, 2004)

EURO 2004 masterclass: Dellas v Czech Republic
EURO 2004 masterclass: Dellas v Czech Republic

Scoring the last silver goal winner in EURO history, the "Colossus of Rhodes" supplied a glancing header from Vassilios Tsiartas' whipped-in corner to propel underdogs Greece into the final.

Essential in Otto Rehhagel's defensive strategy, his endurance and dedication had epitomised the Greek spirit. With just seconds of the first period of extra time remaining, and the Czechs looking "very tired", the man of the match recalls "a now-or-never situation" as he nipped in front of a cluster of white shirts to clinch their victory in an absorbing last-four contest in Porto.

Ashley Cole (Portugal 2-2 England, Portugal won on penalties 6-5, 2004)

In an imperious performance against a young Cristiano Ronaldo, Cole's doggedness and perfectly-timed tackles made for a captivating battle with the tricky Manchester United teenager. Arguably one of Cole's best Three Lions displays, the left-back combined with Sol Campbell to withstand the waves of Portuguese attacks. Concluding in a penalty shoot-out, Cole, then 23, capped off an exceptional individual showcase, stepping up to coolly dispatch England's sixth spot-kick.

Philipp Lahm (Germany 3-2 Turkey, 2008)

EURO 2008 semi-final highlights: Germany 3-2 Turkey
EURO 2008 semi-final highlights: Germany 3-2 Turkey

In a dramatic end to a gripping semi-final, Lahm's 90th-minute winner sent Joachim Löw's charges into the final. With the end in sight, Semih Şentürk's late equaliser had brought Turkey to the brink of extra time. However, the German left-back had other ideas. Bursting forward and squaring to Thomas Hitzlsperger, Lahm exploited the inconsistent Turkish defensive line. Played back into his feet, he had little else to do but take a touch and fire Die Mannschaft into the final.

Sergio Ramos (Portugal 0-0 Spain, Spain won 2-4 on penalties 2012)

"I'd planned it in advance, I won't lie," the semi-final man of the match said of his Panenka-style penalty kick. "It was a risk, of course, but it went great for me." After a nervy 120 minutes in the Donetsk semi-final, Ramos, partnering Gerard Piqué in the middle, had successfully kept Ronaldo and Nani at bay and the tie remained goalless. Coming close himself in overtime, his free-kick thumped from distance wasn't far off target.

Commenting on the centre-back's audaciously taken kick in La Roja's shoot-out triumph, Alvaro Arbeloa was "not surprised". Spain captain Iker Casillas admitted, "he's got real guts".

Pepe (Portugal 1-0 France, 2016)

EURO 2016 masterclass: Pepe v France
EURO 2016 masterclass: Pepe v France

Having missed the semi-final with a thigh injury, Pepe returned in style, nullifying Antoinne Greizmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet in the Stade de France showpiece. "We were warriors on that pitch," said the centre-back. Ever-present at the heart of the Portuguese defence, Pepe's two tackles on André-Pierre Gignac were enough to force the forward to scuff a decent French opportunity onto the post.

"We've written a brilliant page in the story of Portuguese football," said the man of the match. "In my opinion Pepe was the best player at the EURO," Cristiano Ronaldo stated.

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