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1988 Under-21 EURO: France sweep to final glory

France were crowned Under-21 EURO champions for the first time in 1988.

After helping France to success, Eric Cantona went on to enjoy a superb career
After helping France to success, Eric Cantona went on to enjoy a superb career ©Getty Images

Greece 0-0 France
France 3-0 Greece

(Sauzée 8 55, Sylvestre 67)
(agg: 3-0 to France)

A France team including the likes of Eric Cantona, Franck Sauzée and Laurent Blanc swept aside Greece 3-0 in the UEFA Under-21 European Championship final to claim the trophy for the first time. Les Bleus overcame USSR, East Germany, Italy and England en route to the final and after a goalless draw in Athens, they eased to victory on home soil.

France on form
France finished one point clear of East Germany to top their qualifying group. They had lost in the quarter-finals in the previous three tournaments and faced a tough test again after being drawn against 1986 losing finalists Italy. This time, however, they would break that run of defeats, squeezing through an absorbing tie 4-3 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals. There they met an England side who had reached to the final four with victory against Scotland, but proved no match for France who advanced 6-4 on aggregate after a convincing 4-2 first-leg victory in Besancon.

GOLDEN PLAYER: LAURENT BLANC


Sauzée opener

Greece had never previously progressed beyond the group stage and that looked unlikely again when they lost the opening match of the qualifying campaign against Poland. Four consecutive wins took them through to the quarter-finals where an away-goals victory against Czechoslovakia booked Greece a last-four tie with the Netherlands. They did not look back after a stunning 5-0 victory in the first encounter in the Greek capital. They were unable to make the most of home advantage in the final, however. After a goalless first leg, Olympique de Marseille's Sauzée gave France the lead after just eight minutes. The 22-year-old added a second ten minutes after the restart before Franck Sylvestre sealed the win midway through the second period.