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Balotelli celebration and Xavier tantrum… Sportsmail’s A-Z of the greatest moments in Euro history

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The latest edition of the European Championships are once again upon us with all 24 teams striving for glory this summer.

Portugal are the holders after beating France in Paris five years ago, but it is not only the finals over the years that have brought some memorable moments.

Here, Sportsmail runs you through an A-Z of some of the most iconic moments including spectacular goals, tantrums and so much more in Euro history. 

Portugal are the holders after beating France in Paris five years ago thanks to a goal from Eder

Portugal are the holders after beating France in Paris five years ago thanks to a goal from Eder

A – Manuel Amoros

In the opening match of the 1984 Euros, the France captain snapped in one iconic moment. 

Jesper Olsen of Denmark had been at his heels and Amoros responded with a textbook headbutt. A trailblazer for future wearers of the armband.

B – Mario Balotelli

He was never as good as Roberto Mancini thought he was, but he was possibly never better than in Italy’s semi-final win against Germany in Euro 2012. 

He scored two, ripped his shirt off and created an image that helped to support a myth.

Mario Balotelli ripped his shirt off after scoring twice against Germany at Euro 2012

Mario Balotelli ripped his shirt off after scoring twice against Germany at Euro 2012

C – Coin toss

At the 1968 championships, a coin toss was used to settle Italy and the Soviet Union’s goalless draw in the semi-final. Italy won it and then the final.

D – Henri Delaunay

He was the secretary-general of the French Football Federation and had the idea for the championships back in 1927. He died five years before the first edition in 1960 and the trophy is named in his honour.

E – Expansion

The Euros started with four teams in 1960, grew to eight from 1980 and it became 16 for Euro 96. That was possibly the optimum number in terms of quality fixtures, before UEFA opened it up and made it a bloated 24 in 2016.

The Euros trophy is named in honour of former FFF secretary-general Henri Delaunay

The Euros trophy is named in honour of former FFF secretary-general Henri Delaunay

F – Football’s Coming Home

Three Lions. That one. It was a song. 

A self-deprecating song. A song mocking England’s shortcomings and tides of optimism. It has never been a brag. Let’s not go in that circle again this summer.

G – Gazza

Wembley 1996. He looped the ball over Colin Hendry and leathered it past Andy Goram. Then the celebration. Not much in the past 55 years of English football has matched it.

H – Hal Robson-Kanu

He’s had a good career — they’ve liked him at Reading and West Brom and he’s also flogged a bit of turmeric. 

But there was one day in 2016 when Robson-Kanu became a bit more. When he Cruyffed half of the Belgium team and Wales reached the semi-finals. 

I – Iceland

They had never qualified for anything of note and then they rocked up at Euro 2016 in France, did their Thunderclap (copied from Motherwell fans, apparently) and dumped England out in the last 16.

It was considered England’s most humiliating tournament moment — in a congested market.

Not much in the past 55 years of English football has matched Paul Gascoigne's goal against Scotland at Euro 96

Not much in the past 55 years of English football has matched Paul Gascoigne’s goal against Scotland at Euro 96

J – Junior

The youngest player to appear at the Euros was Holland’s Jetro Willems, aged 18 years and 71 days in 2012.

K – Gabor Kiraly

He of the grey joggers. The Hungary keeper became the oldest against Belgium in 2016, aged 40 years and 86 days.

L – Lothar Matthaus

Unmatched in longevity. A few players have managed four championships, but none across a span of 20 years. He first rocked up with West Germany in 1980 and was there for a united nation in 2000.

M – Michel Platini

Before he became so utterly appalling in a suit, he was so wonderfully good in a kit. The 1984 Championships was his peak, with him scoring nine of France’s 14 goals as they won the tournament.

Iceland did the Thunderclap with their fans after dumping England out at the last 16 in 2016

Iceland did the Thunderclap with their fans after dumping England out at the last 16 in 2016

N – Phil Neville

He gave away a penalty against Romania in 2000 and, with that group-stage exit, became a figure of derision for a while. An unpleasant ritual in these parts, sadly.

O – Oliver Bierhoff

The Golden Goal rule came in for Euro 96 and Bierhoff got the first of its kind in the final with the extra-time winner for Germany against Czech Republic at Wembley. Memorable. Sort of.

P – Antonin Panenka

He reached single-name status in 1976 when the Czechs faced West Germany in the semi-finals. 

It went to a shootout and Panenka had the kick to win it for the Czechs. In converting with that little chip down the middle, he invented football’s greatest act of trolling.

Q  

The quickest goal scored at a Euros came from Russia’s Dmitri Kirichenko, after just 67 seconds against Greece in 2004.

Spain's domination between 2008 and 2012 puts them as one of the greatest ever teams

Spain’s domination between 2008 and 2012 puts them as one of the greatest ever teams

R – Record breakers

Spain and Germany have dominated the Euros with three wins each. England have the most finishes in the top eight without ever being champions, having made that stage seven times.

S – Spain

Their concerted domination of football between 2008 and 2012 (two European Championships, one World Cup) puts them front and centre in the conversation about the greatest-ever teams.

T – Tantrum

Portugal’s Abel Xavier went so berserk at the referee after conceding a penalty in the Euro 2000 semi-final that he was banned for nine months.

U – Upset

Greece were ghastly to watch at Euro 2004, but what a win and what a story. They came in as 150-1 outsiders. Extraordinary.

V – Marco van Basten

The 1988 final. The volley. The angle. One of the greatest goals in the history of football.

Portugal's Abel Xavier was banned for nine months after going berserk at a referee at Euro 2000

Portugal’s Abel Xavier was banned for nine months after going berserk at a referee at Euro 2000

W – Worst winners

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team in 2016. They won one game in seven within 90 minutes and survived the group with zero wins from three. Their sole win within 90 minutes came against Wales in the semi-finals.

X – Xhakas

At Euro 2016, Taulant Xhaka of Albania and Granit Xhaka of Switzerland became the first siblings in the tournament’s history to play against each other.

Y – Yugoslavia

They were booted out of Euro 92 because of the Yugoslav Wars and that opened a back door for Denmark. What followed was quite spectacular as the Danes defeated world champions Germany in the final.

Z – Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

He scored with a backheel volley in Sweden’s 1-1 draw with Italy in 2004. It’s worth looking up. And then repeating.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored with a backheel volley in Sweden's 1-1 draw with Italy in 2004

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored with a backheel volley in Sweden’s 1-1 draw with Italy in 2004

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