UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Five great Women's EURO knockout games

A look back at some of the classic knockout matches that have defined the history of the Women's EURO and the female game.

Germany celebrate after their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 semi-final against Sweden
Germany celebrate after their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 semi-final against Sweden SPORTSFILE

After the slow-building story arc of a group stage comes the instant jeopardy of a knockout phase.

We look back at five classic UEFA Women's EURO quarter-finals and semi-finals that live in the memory, and even shaped competition history itself.

30/07/2017: Germany 1-2 Denmark (quarter-final, Rotterdam)

Watch highlights
2017 highlights: Germany 1-2 Denmark

After losing on penalties to Italy in the 1993 semi-finals and then succumbing 3-1 to Denmark in the match for third place, Germany went into overdrive. By the time of this rematch with their northern neighbours, their record in Women's EURO knockout games read WWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, only one of those contests even needing extra time as they won six titles in a row. Having also claimed Olympic gold in 2016, Germany were not tipped to stumble against a Denmark side that had not convinced in the group stage

Signs that something extraordinary was afoot came on the day of the game, when a torrential downpour forced postponement to the following afternoon. Isabel Kerschowski then gave Germany a third-minute lead following a mistake by keeper Stina Lykke Petersen, but Denmark eventually found their feet, with Nadia Nadim heading them level just after the break and later setting up Theresa Nielsen to clinch victory and end their opponents' 22-year reign.

Denmark went on to reach their first final, while Germany are yet to recapture the aura of invincibility which faded that day in Rotterdam.

24/07/2013: Sweden 0-1 Germany (semi-final, Gothenburg)

Watch highlights
Highlights: Sweden 0-1 Germany, UEFA Women's EURO 2013 semi-finals

There had of course been threats to Germany's long supremacy before 2017. Four years and six days earlier, they took on Sweden at their opponents' familiar Gamla Ullevi home, the hosts on a high after scoring 13 goals in their four games so far – nine more than Germany. And a packed crowd of more than 16,000 was full of optimism: ticket sales for the Friends Arena final a few days later had already surged past expectations, partly in the sincere hope that Sweden would be there.

First, however, they had to beat Germany, and one of the most intense fixtures in competition history ensured. Germany won thanks to a tidy 33rd-minute finish by Dzsenifer Marozsán but they, and their goalframe, had to withstand a Swedish barrage. Nevertheless, it was Germany who went on to lift the trophy in Solna, while Sweden's team had to make do with a half-time pitch walk to receive the applause of the 41,301-strong final crowd.

03/09/2009: Finland 2-3 England (quarter-final, Turku)

Watch highlights
Highlights: Finland 2-3 England, UEFA Women's EURO 2009

Some classic games don't need the context of a long-standing rivalry or the prospect of a major upset: knockout matches can often serve up epic stand-alone dramas. And there are few better examples than this thriller in Turku, where Finland hoped home advantage would help them avenge a 3-2 loss to England at the start of the 2005 finals, the hosts having prevailed thanks to a last-gasp winner.

Finland eventually reached the 2005 semi-finals at England's expense, but fast-forward to 2009 and Hope Powell's side looked good to end a 14-year absence from the last four when Eli Aluko struck on 14 minutes. And although England lost captain Faye White to a broken cheekbone late in the first half, Fara Williams put them two up just after the break.

However, the home crowd were roused in the 66th minute as substitute Annica Sjölund bundled a corner home. England seemed in trouble, their recent past haunted by squandered leads in key games and their character sure to be tested. Instead, Aluko embarked on a solo run virtually from the kick-off to make it 3-1, and although Linda Sällström reduced arrears on 79 minutes, England found the resolve to resist.

16/06/2005: Norway 3-2aet Sweden (semi-final, Warrington)

Watch highlights
Highlights: Norway 3-2 Sweden, UEFA Women's EURO 2005

Norway picked up four major titles between 1987 and 2000 – including two Women's EUROs – but by the time these neighbours met in northwest England, Sweden were the firm favourites. The Blågult had reached the finals of both Women's EURO 2001 and the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, each time losing only to a German golden goal. On top of that, the core of their side came from the Umeå team that had won the UEFA Women's Cup in 2002/03 and 2003/04, as well as 2004/05 runners-up Djurgården/Älvsjö.

Sweden piled on the pressure from the off, but goalkeeper Bente Nordby stood tall and Solveig Gulbrandsen chipped Norway in front as half-time approached. Hanna Ljungberg then quickly equalised, only for Isabell Herlovsen to restore Norway's lead midway through the second period – days after becoming the youngest Women's EURO scorer in the group stage.

Still there were twists to come, with Ljungberg pouncing again late on to force extra time. But it was Norway who roused themselves once more to have the final say, Gulbrandsen volleying a winner to thrill the crowd in Warrington, where Bjarne Berntsen's side had played already played twice and picked up fervent local backing. Norway eventually lost the Blackburn final to Germany, but four years on they again upset the odds with a 3-1 defeat of Sweden in the last eight.

28/06/1989: West Germany 1-1aet, 4-3pens Italy (semi-final, Siegen)

Watch highlights
West Germany's 1989 semi-final hero Marion Isbert
West Germany's 1989 semi-final hero Marion IsbertBongarts/Getty Images

If the central narrative of Women's EURO history has been German hegemony, this is where it all began. In the early years, the final tournament was a four-team knockout affair hosted by one of the contenders, and in 1989 it was West Germany who were given the honour after they reached the semis for the first time.

Around 8,000 fans showed up in Siegen for their last-four showdown with Italy, and more were watching at home as the game became the first women's match shown live on West German television. Indeed, so unfamiliar was that for the players, they accidentally stood with their backs to the camera for the anthems.

Once the action got under way, Silvia Neid struck for the hosts on 57 minutes, before Elisabetta Vignotto equalised for the 1987 runners-up in a game that went to penalties... and kept going, three different West Germany players missing kicks to seal victory. However, they were immediately handed another chance after Marion Isbert made her third save of the shoot-out, and the goalkeeper herself then stepped up to convert.

The audience on ARD was thrilled and the Osnabrück decider was a 21,000-strong sell-out, well over double the previous finals record. West Germany beat Norway 4-1 and only failed to win one of the next eight editions, not to mention claiming two World Cups and 2016 Olympic gold.

Selected for you