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Euro 2012 -  Best Games

Euro 2012 Best Games

 

A look at the most exciting matches played at Euro 2012 this summer

Euro 2012 was the last renewal of the championship in its current 16 team format, a factor which has definitely contributed to the quality and intensity of the tournament in recent years with many top nations finding themselves immediately up against each other in the group stages.

Ukraine/Poland was no exception with a number of champagne ties taking place in the opening phase and Germany vs. Holland was one of the most highly anticipated leading up to the competition this summer.

Although the contest failed to materialise into an absolute classic, it was nonetheless a fascinating encounter which added another chapter to the two countries on-going footballing rivalry.

Germany have had slightly the better of things in head to head meetings since all hell broke loose at Italia 90 between Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Voller and they continued their superiority courtesy of a fine double strike from hitman Mario Gomez.

The Bayern Munich striker’s first goal was the real highlight of the game as he spun through a bewildered Dutch defence before slotting home past keeper Martin Stekelenburg.

Holland galvanised themselves for second half riposte but Robin Van Persie’s goal proved nothing more than a consolation as Germany sealed the three points in Kharkiv en route to a perfect nine out of nine in Group B.

Sweden and England have toughed out a number of battles since the 1960’s with the Scandinavians proving more than troublesome for the Three Lions who had won just once head to head in the past 40 years prior to Euro 2012.

The pair met at a major tournament for the third time in the past decade and it looked for all money at one stage as if Sweden were to get the upper hand again leading 2-1 with 30 minutes to play.

But a marvellous come back from England nailed a vital 3-2 success which ultimately sent the Swedes packing put Roy Hodgson’s men in pole position for the quarter-finals.

England were to meet Italy in the last eight, a clash which proved to be one of the most intriguing at the championship despite the 0-0 score line after extra time.

The Azzurri prevailed in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, the first piece of knockout drama at the finals and a familiar denouement to England’s campaign after similar exits in the past.

Italy were involved in other games of extreme interest, beginning with their entertaining opening group match with Spain which ended 1-1.

After beating Germany 2-1 in the semis, many believed the Italians would be buoyed facing Spain in the final due to their strong showing against the Iberians just three weeks earlier.

But in arguably the most memorable match of the tournament, form went completely out of the window and a somewhat jaded and ragged Italy were crushed 4-0 by Vicente Del Bosque’s charges who were imperious in retaining their crown – subsequently becoming the first nation in history to triumph in three consecutive major tournaments.