The Euro 2016 ended just yesterday after captivating the world for a month.
From last minute winners to dedicated fans, heartbreaking losses and moving celebrations, here are the 20 most iconic moments of the Euro 2016.
1. A Magical Opening Ceremony
The French spared no expense to kick off the Euros on June 10. Themed “Welcome to Paris,” the soccer tournament welcomed guests to oversized, colorful characters, can-can dancers, a carousel, and David Guetta music.
Related Content: All The Action From The Euro 2016 Opening Ceremony In France
2. Dimitri Payet Redeems France On Opening Night
Dimitri Payet celebrates his stunning winner on his Instagram. Caption reads: “A nice victory for the opening game of #euro2016. Together, all united, only one objective”
Host France played Romania in the opening game of Euro 2016. Romania boasted the best defensive record in qualifying phase by conceding just two goals. Dimitri Payet dramatically scored in the 89th minute to secure France a late 2-1 victory over Romania.
3. Brother Faceoff: Xhaka vs. Xhaka
Albania: Xhaka (kakak) vs Swiss: Xhaka (adik) Btw. Emak' nya sampe mesen kaos satuan? 😀 pic.twitter.com/OYUBaaO08P
— ⚒ Pria Humoris 😀 (@D_Jackicau) June 26, 2016
For the first time in history, two brothers played opposite teams in the Euro 2016. Granit Xhaka, Arsenal’s latest signing, decided to play for his adopted nation, Switzerland, while his brother Taulant played for his mother country, Albania.
The world was watching as the two brothers competed in a glorious match that led to Switzerland’s victory.
4. Gareth Bale Brings Wales First Ever Euro 2016 Victory
The Welsh Dragon netted a fantastic free-kick from 30 yards to give the Dragons a first-half lead against Slovakia, warning England to watch out. This was only the beginning for Wales, which was able to reach semi-finals. Unfortunately, the Welsh team lost against Portugal.
The Euro 2016 was Wales’ first tournament of international football since 1958.
5. Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos Coming Together For Spain
— The Official Agent™ (@_OfficialAgent_) June 14, 2016
The rivalry between Piqué (Real Madrid) and Ramos (Barcelona) is no secret. Yet, the pair decided to set their differences aside for the Euro 2016 to support their national team, Spain.
When Piqué scored for Spain against the Czech Republic, Ramos was the first to go running to celebrate with Piqué.
6. Fans Clash in Marseille After England vs. Russia
— Nigeria Newsdesk (@NigeriaNewsdesk) June 20, 2016
Despite strong security measures for the occasion, violence erupted between English and Russian fans just one day after the opening of the games in Marseille.
20 Russian fans were evacuated as a result, which also caused the Russian team to be disqualified and fined for the trouble.
7. Irish Fans Were Awarded the “City of Paris Medal” For their Sportsmanship
Anne Hidalgo, the Paris Mayor, awarded Irish fans with the “City of Paris” Medal for their “exemplary behavior and sportsmanship.” The Mayor said: “We’ve seen love songs in the streets! We’ve seen baby songs in the metro! We’ve seen policemen singing with the Green Army!.. In the disturbing times we live in, the acts of kindness and positivity shown by the Irish fans serve as a model and a sign of hope to all”.
Irish fans truly spread the joy in Parisian streets, as you can see in the video below:
8. Northern Ireland beat Ukraine Amidst Tragedy
— Fanatics of Football (@footynews129) June 17, 2016
This historic win ended a 34-year wait as Northern Ireland beat Ukraine 2-0 in Lyon.
Despite rainy conditions, the Green and White Army came together as a team to score a memorable win as one of their supporters, Robert Rainey, died of a heart attack while watching the game in the Stadium.
9. Thibaut Courtois’ Impressive Save Against Wales
Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois stunned when he intercepted a goal by Welsh player Ashley Williams in quarterfinals on July 1st.
That didn’t prevent Wales to win 3-1.
10. Xherdan Shakiri Scores the Best Goal of The Euro
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Xherdan Shakiri stunned the world as he scored the most impressive goal of the tournament in Switzerland vs. Poland.
Fans were in awe as Shakiri lifted himself into the air to throw a perfect bicycle kick into the corner from 18 yards.
11. The Viking Thunderclap Chills The Stadium
The final player-fan Thunderclap. Thanks, Iceland. You were great. pic.twitter.com/YPLNflmPgb
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) July 3, 2016
Iceland fans were fabulous during the Euros. After defeating England 2-1 in Nice, the country of 300,000 came together to bravely support their team.
12. German Coach Joachim Lowe Goes Viral for All the Wrong Reasons
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13. Italian Coach Antonio Conte Went Insane After His Team’s Victory over Spain
14. Wales Fans Went Wild After Wales Classified To Semifinals
It was the first time in history that Wales reached semifinals.
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15. Joe Allen and Hal Robson-Kanu Stun Clubs
Welsh superstars Joe Allen and Hal Robson are in high demand after their staggering performances in the Euro tournament.
After their team’s semifinal exit, the pair had a string of clubs from the Premier League and abroad lined up hoping to sign them on, including Sevilla and Southampton for Allen and Hull City for Robson-Kanu.
16. Simone Zaza’s Penalty Miss Unleashes Internet Furor
So that's where Zaza got the inspiration for his penalty from: https://t.co/UfN4yVdT1S
— Coral (@Coral) July 2, 2016
Italy vs Germany was one of the most expected games of the tournament. However, it turned sour for Italy when Simone Zaza missed a penalty that would have led his team to victory.
17. Antoine Griezmann’s Dance Victory Inspires Trolls
Every time I get sad today, I think about how stupidfun Antoine Griezmann's hotline bling goal celebration is. pic.twitter.com/q36gAzJZM0
— Marc P (@FatGuynaLtlCoat) July 8, 2016
Antoine Griezmann may be the Euro 2016’s top scorer, but the world will remember him as the guy who did “that dance”.
Weird memes popped up (including one of his own creation) wondering what triggered such moves, prompting the Bleu to share that Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ served as inspiration for the celebration dance.
18. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Knee Injury In the Finals
The moment Ronaldo's Euro final came to an end. The man doesn't deserve this. pic.twitter.com/6Xz5v7iPGP
— Futbol Agent (@Futbol_Agent_) July 10, 2016
Fans took to Twitter to voice their sympathy at Ronaldo’s injury.
The Portuguese star suffered a knee injury early in the final game against host France, the result of being involved in a clash of knees with Dimitri Payet. Fans were crushed that Payet didn’t receive a card or a foul for his challenge.
Ronaldo attempted to play after treatment but was removed from the game in the first half.
19. Portugal’s Stunning Win
Rather than be defeated by their captain’s injury, Portugal used it as motivation to bring back the Cup. This marks Portugal’s very first victory at the Euros. Pepe said of the victory:
“We put blood, sweat and tears on the pitch. I said on the eve of this game that we’d leave it all on the pitch for our people, for our nation, and that’s what we did. That’s what the Portuguese are about: humility, work, and overcoming hardship. We represented our country as best we could. Regardless of those who doubted us, and the criticism we’ve had here in France for our performances, we had our goals set out for us and this was the goal.”
20. The Most Touching Moment of the Euro 2016
The most touching moment happened after Portugal obtained the Championship. A Portuguese boy consoled one of the many French fans crying after Le Bleus‘ defeat. See what happens..
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