2008 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2008, is the 13th UEFA European Football Championship, a quadrennial football tournament for European nations. The tournament, which is being hosted by Austria and Switzerland, began on 7 June 2008 and is scheduled to conclude with the final at Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna on 29 June 2008. It is the second successful joint bid in the competition’s history. Greece were the defending champions, having won the previous tournament.
Sixteen teams are participating in the tournament. Austria and Switzerland automatically qualified as hosts; the remaining 14 teams were determined through qualifying matches, which began in August 2006. The winner of Euro 2008 will qualify for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.
TEN BEST GOALS
The goals have been flying in at just over two-and-a-half per game at UEFA EURO 2008™. There have been 76 already in 30 games, the same number as at this stage four years ago, with the quality matching the quantity. euro2008.com takes its pick of ten of the best so far. Do you agree with our selection? Have you say below.
Germany 3-2 Turkey, Semi-final, 25 June
Semih Şentürk’s 86th-minute equaliser might have floored a lesser side, but not Germany. They quickly regrouped and within four minutes had won with a goal that will live long in the memory. Thomas Hitzlsperger’s pass split the Turkey defence and Lahm smashed the ball over the advancing Rüştü Reçber to send Germany to their sixth final.
Netherlands 1-3 Russia, Quarter-final, 21 June
Everything Andrei Arshavin touched was turning to gold and no more so than when he crossed for Pavlyuchenko eleven minutes into the second half in Basel. The FC Spartak Moskva striker had made the most of the chance afforded to him by Pavel Pogrebnyak’s injury and he made no mistake here, thumping a first-time volley beyond Edwin van der Sar.
Portugal 2-3 Germany, Quarter-final, 19 June
Schweinsteiger had been told by his coach Joachim Löw that he had a “debt” to his team-mates after being sent off against Croatia. The midfielder went a long way to repaying it at St. Jakob-Park when he slid in at the near post to touch in Lukas Podolski’s low cross to round off a blistering break down the left.
Austria 0-1 Germany, Group B, 16 June
After losing to Croatia the pressure was on Germany and though they never totally convinced against the co-hosts one moment of magic from their inspirational captain was all they needed. It came four minutes after the break, Ballack drilling a rising shot from a free-kick high past Jürgen Macho in the Austrian goal.
Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic, Group A, 15 June
Turkey scored a succession of stunning late goals but this was the pick of the bunch. Released by Hamit Altıntop’s precise pass Nihat looked up before sending a curling shot around Petr Čech and in off the underside of the crossbar, completing a remarkable recovery and sending Turkey through to the quarter-finals.
Netherlands 4-1 France, Group C, 13 June
Robben’s third goal for the Netherlands deserves special mention but better still was their fourth. Sneijder picked up the ball on the edge of the area, waltzed round Jérémy Toulalan then shot high over Grégory Coupet and in off the crossbar.
Robin van Persie
Netherlands 4-1 France, Group C, 13 June
Another great Dutch counterattacking masterpiece started with a superb piece of skill from Ruud van Nistelrooy on the halfway line which sent Robben haring down the left. He crossed for Van Persie who volleyed in first time. Coupet got a hand to the ball but it was just too powerful.
Greece 0-2 Spain, Group D, 10 June
The game looked to heading for a goalless draw until a moment of brilliance from Ibrahimović. After exchanging passes with Henrik Larsson on the edge of the area the FC Internazionale striker fired a thumping drive into the top right corner of Antonis Nikopolidis’s net.
Spain 4-1 Russia, Group D, 10 June
David Silva retrieved a loose ball on the edge of his own area and set in motion a lightning-quick counter that saw Joan Capdevila and Andrés Iniesta combine brilliantly before the latter released Villa who sprinted into the box then shot low beyond Igor Akinfeev.
Netherlands 3-0 Italy, Group A, 9 June
Giovanni van Bronkhorst started the move by clearing off his own goalline from an Italy corner. He then raced upfield before hitting a crossfield pass to Dirk Kuyt who cushioned the ball perfectly for Sneijder to hook past Gianluigi Buffon.