Euro 1988 - West Germany

Euro 1988 - West Germany

Hosts: West Germany

Final: The Netherlands 2 The Soviet Union 0

Top Scorer: Marco van Basten (The Netherlands) 5 goals
Teams/Matches: 8/15
Facts and Figures:

* West Germany won the right to host Euro 1988 with five votes ahead of a joint bid from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, who gained 1 vote, and a bid from England.

* The fastest goal of the tournament was scored by Sergei Aleinikov for USSR against England after just three minutes.

* 34 goals were scored at Euro 1988 at an average of 2.27 per match.

* Euro 1984 winners, France, failed to qualify to defend their title.

* The Republic of Ireland made their first appearance in the Euro Championship history at Euro 1988, narrowly missing out on a semi-final place in Group B.

Final

Marco van Basten shook off injury worries to inspire the Netherlands to their first major title in a competition that will forever be associated with his incredible volleyed goal in the final.

The Netherlands had some worrying moments before they could be crowned Euro 1988 winners. A 1-0 defeat against the Soviet Union in their first Group A fixture put them under pressure to qualify for the semi-finals before a Van Basten hat-trick gave them a 3-1 victory over England. They were widely expected to overcome the Republic of Ireland in their final group game but had to wait until the 82nd minute before Wim Kieft grabbed the winning goal. The goal put the Dutch into second in the group ahead of the luckless Irish.

That set up a semi-final clash against the Germans and they trailed to a Matthäus penalty with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining. A penalty by Ronald Koeman and an 88th minute winner by Van Basten put them safely through to the final of Euro 1988. It was the first victory for the Netherlands over West Germany for 32 years.

The Soviet Union qualified as winners of Group A and overcame Italy 2-0 in their semi-final to set up a return clash with the Dutch. The dreadlocked Ruud Gullit headed in the Netherlands into the lead before one of the classic goals of all time sealed the result. Meeting Arnold Mühren's looped crossfield ball in an almost impossible position on the right, Van Basten crashed an acrobatic volley over goalkeeper Rinat Dasaev and just inside the far post. Hans van Breukelen later saved a penalty to keep the Dutch on top but Van Basten’s goal was worthy of winning any tournament.

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