Top 10 best goals scored at Euro 2020
142 goals were scored at this summer’s European Championships, an average of 2.78 per match.
That is the highest average at any Euros ever and the last time a World Cup witnessed this many goal per game was Spain ’82 (2.81) which was also won by Italy.
So, we’ve looked back at all the goals and complied a list of the ten best scored at Euro 2020.
10: Karim Benzema vs Portugal – group stages
Number ten on the list, similar to others to come, is less about the goal itself and more an appreciation of the assist.
In this group stage match, European Champions Portugal were taking on World Champions France at a bulging Puskás Aréna in Budapest.
Les Bleus had already secured a place in the round of 16 and a Seleção needed just a point to guarantee joining them.
So, this lack of jeopardy resulted in a high-quality, entertaining affair.
The goal in question came just seconds after halftime to put France 2-1 ahead.
Paul Pogba, from out-wide and near-enough on the halfway line, plays a sumptuous through-ball, around the Portuguese defence, and straight to Karim Benzema who slots it in off the post.
The finish from Benzema alone probably doesn’t warrant a place on this list but Pogba’s majestic pass deserves the recognition.
The Manchester United man was the star of the show that night, apart from referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz who wanted some limelight for himself, awarding three penalties.
9: Andriy Yarmolenko vs Netherlands – group stages
This goal is just a classic bit of individual brilliance from the scorer.
In this group stage clash in Amsterdam, two quick-fire goals after halftime had Netherlands 2-0 up and seemingly cruising to victory.
Andriy Yarmolenko was having none of that though.
With 15 to play, the West Ham wide-man plays a neat one-two with Roman Yaremchuk and then curls a dipping shot into the top corner.
Maarten Stekelenburg had no chance.
78% of all the goals Yarmolenko has scored in his senior career have been with his left foot and it’s easy to see why.
Ukraine did actually get this one back to 2-2 not long after, Yaremchuk scoring a header, but Holland went on to win it four minutes from the end.
8: Andreas Christensen vs Russia – group stages
This goal scored by Andreas Christensen was a special strike on a special night.
Denmark were bidding to become the first side in European Championships history to advance past the group stages having lost their opening two games.
They had to beat Russia in København and hope Finland lost to Belgium to achieve this after the start to their campaign had been derailed by the awful incident involving Christian Eriksen.
It was all going well for them – they were 2-0 up after an hour – before Russia got back into it through Artem Dzyuba’s 70th-minute penalty.
At that point, for the first time all evening, Parken was stunned silent.
However, this wouldn’t last long and, just minutes later, all 23,644 spectators were on their feet again.
A cross from the left sparked a scramble in the Russia box, Vyacheslav Karavayev half clearing but only as far as Christensen.
The Chelsea man galloped onto the ball and, from 25 yards, lashed it into the top corner.
That was his first goal for anyone since March 2017 (1,558 days earlier) but what a time and what a way to find the net.
Denmark would go onto win 4-1 and qualify from Group B in second place.
7: Stefan Lainer vs North Macedonia – group stages
If the award was for best goal you probably don’t remember, this would be the winner.
A group stage match between Austria and North Macedonia was never going to attract the biggest audience.
But, those who did tune in at 5 o’clock (UK) were treated to a sensational opening goal.
18 minutes in, Marcel Sabitzer plays an astonishing, arrowed through-ball and, at the back post, Stefan Lainer volleys it into the far corner despite having both feet off the ground.
Arguably, if this goal had been scored by a more high-profile player in a more high-profile match, it would rank much higher on this list.
Austria went onto win 3-1 at Arena Națională, claiming their first-ever Euros win and first victory at a major tournament since defeating the U.S. at Italia ’90.
North Macedonia, making their debut at a major tournament, lost all three matches but still enjoyed themselves.
6: Kasper Dolberg vs Czech Republic – quarter-finals
This is the first goal on this list scored in the knockout phase and what a goal it was.
Unexpected quarter-finalists Denmark and Czech Republic met in the obvious place to hold such a huge knockout tie: the Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu.
However, the 16,306 who made the trek to this enormous arena on the outskirts of the Azerbaijani capital were treated to an amazing second goal.
Joakim Mæhle, charging down the left-wing, played an astonishing cross with the outside of his right foot which was duly finished by Kasper Dolberg on the volley.
Right-footed left-backs was an unexpected theme of Euro 2020 and Mæhle proved here that you don’t need a left foot to play on the left.
Denmark won this tie 2-1 to set up a semi-final showdown with England at Wembley.
5: Karim Benzema vs Switzerland – round of 16
This is a second goal by Karim Benzema on this list and a first of two goals from this game.
This one from Benzema came in the middle of the most entertaining three minutes of the tournament.
With Switzerland 1-0 up against France at Arena Națională, the underdogs are then awarded a penalty just after halftime.
However, Ricardo Rodríguez squanders the chance to put the Swiss in an unusable position as his effort is saved by Hugo Lloris.
Les Blues then go straight up the end and equaliser through Benzema.
Kylian Mbappé plays it towards the Real Madrid forward who, with an absolutely outrageous piece of skill, flicks it through to himself before poking it past Yann Sommer.
That flick would win skill of the tournament, if that was the contest in question.
Two minutes later, Benzema then puts France in front with a far more straightforward back-post header.
Of course, this tie did fall apart shortly after for the world champions but this goal was unbelievable and deserves to be recognised.
4: Luka Modrić vs Scotland – group stages
This won’t be news to anyone but Luka Modrić is a majestic player.
In 2018, he was presented with the Ballon d’Or award and remains the only player since Kaká in 2007 not called Messi or Ronaldo to do so.
Now 35 years old, he remains the talisman for his national team having accumulated 142 caps.
In this game, Croatia were taking on Scotland in Glasgow in a winner takes all encounter.
Whoever came out on top would be through to the round of 16 with the losers eliminated; a draw would see both exit the competition.
The score was tied at 1-1 after an hour until this moment of magic from the away side’s captain.
Joško Gvardiol crosses the ball from the left with it finding its way to Mateo Kovačić who lays it off and Modrić does the rest.
With the outside of his right boot, he curls the ball around Stuart Armstrong and into the far corner, beating David Marshall.
The last camera angle, from behind the goal, shows this strike in all its glory.
Croatia go onto win 3-1, Modrić getting the assist for an Ivan Perišić header late on, which saw them jump up to second in Group C.
3: Mikkel Damsgaard vs England – semi-finals
There is just something spectacular about goals direct from a free-kick.
This is particularly the case at Euro 2020 where we saw just one during the entire competition.
Going into this semi-final, Denmark were big underdogs, especially given that England had home advantage.
The Three Lions hadn’t even conceded a goal at this tournament and Jordan Pickford had just set a new record for the most minute an England goalkeeper had ever gone without conceding (720).
But, after half an hour of this game, Mikkel Damsgaard put Denmark 1-0 up at Wembley; his dipping, side-footed effort looping into the top of the net.
Aside from being a superb strike, the little nerdy nuance to this goal is what makes it so spectacular.
Denmark formed a three-man wall featuring their three centre-backs, Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjær and Jannik Vestergaard, who are between 187 cms and 199 cms tall.
Then, as Damsgaard begins his run-up, all three then shift across, thereby blocking Pickford’s vision and giving him even less time to react.
Master Set Piece Theatre alert!
Danish wall slides over and completely blocks Pickford’s view just as Damsgaard starts his approach. -T pic.twitter.com/ybPXUgHdKD
— Total Soccer Show (@TotalSoccerShow) July 7, 2021
Denmark were beaten 2-1 in extra time by England but gave a strong account of themselves and this goal capped off a fantastic tournament the 21-year-old Damsgaard enjoyed.
2: Paul Pogba vs Switzerland – round of 16
Earlier, this article gave a lot of love to Paul Pogba for his assist provided to Karim Benzema against Portugal.
In that same game, the Manchester United man tried to score a sublime curling shot which was tipped onto the post by Rui Patrício.
Five days later, Pogba tried the same manoeuvre but this time it came off.
With France having just gone 2-1 up, Karim Bezema looks to complete his hat-trick but his effort is blocked by Granit Xhaka.
The ball then rebounds to Paul Pogba who bends the ball, inch perfectly, into the top corner; Yann Sommer didn’t have a prayer.
Now 3-1 ahead, the 22,642 supporters inside Arena Națională, and the millions watching on TV, though it was game over.
However, Switzerland came back and forced a penalty shootout which they eventually won.
Even if it was a disastrous tournament for France, Paul Pogba shone individually and the confidence that was oozing out of him was typified by this strike.
1: Patrik Schick vs Scotland – group stages
There could only be one winner couldn’t there?
This goal was only scored on day four of the tournament but was nailed on to win from the moment the ball flew past David Marshall.
In this match, Scotland were returning to a major tournament for the first time in 23 years so the nearly 10,000 supporters inside Hampden Park were excited to say the least.
However, their bubble was burst when Patrik Schick opened the scoring for Czech Republic with a fantastic header three minutes before halftime.
But it’s the centre-forward’s second goal that’ll be replayed for all of time.
Jack Hendry tries a speculative long-range effort which is blocked by Tomáš Souček on the edge of his own area.
The ball then ricochets to Patrick Schick who, from all of 49.7 yards, curls the ball around the flailing David Marshall and into the net.
This secured a 2-0 victory for Czech Republic as they would go onto reach the quarter-finals with their main strikers scoring five of their six goals.
This is a worthy winner of goal of the tournament, scored at the same end as Zinedine Zidane’s stunning volley in the 2002 Champions League Final.
Hampden may not be the best or most beloved stadium in Europe but it appears to guarantee spectacular goals.
This article was edited by Ben Gray.