Top Goalscorers at Every EURO: Lineage of European Sharpshooters

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 26.6.2024.


The Old Continent reverts to its forgotten state of a hunting ground every four years, but only for a select few and about a month. The race for the best marksmen at the Euro tournament is always the second storyline of the summer, right behind who will win the whole tournament. What better way to raise the nostalgia levels up but by taking a look at the top goalscorer at every Euro since its start in 1960?

Of course, in the 64 years of the tournament, its format and number of participants has changed over time.

Euro 1960 - 5 players with 2 goals

The inaugural tournament consisted of the hosts France, then Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. All but the Czechoslovakians had players sharing the top goalscorer award at the first-ever Euro. Mostly due to the high-scoring opening game which saw Yugoslavia beat France 5:4 with the help of two goals by Dražen Jerković. Milan Galić scored a goal in that high-scoring affair, but also the first goal in the final against the Soviet Union. France's Francois Heutte scored a brace in the nine-goal thriller against Yugoslavia.

The eventual winners, the Soviet Union, had two representatives with two goals as well. Valentin Ivanov scored twice in a semi against Czechoslovakia, while Viktor Ponedelnik scored once in the semis and then in extra time of the final, bringing his country the lone international trophy.

Euro 1964 - 3 players with 3 goals

The second-ever Euro tournament saw three names added to the top goalscorers at every EURO list. Two Hungarian players, Ferenc Bene and Deszo Novak. The former scored once in the opening loss to Spain, then once in the third-place match versus Denmark. The latter scored a brace in extra time to win the bronze medal. The third winner was Spain's Chus Pereda who had more reasons to celebrate, as he scored in the first game as well as in the final, helping Spain win it on home soil against the Soviet Union.

Euro 1968 - Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia) - 2 goals

Dragan Džajić (cropped).jpg
Autor Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 923-9077 - Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Poveznica

The tournament in Italy was played with a two-game final. Yugoslavia went past England with Bobby Charlton due to a Dragan Dzajic lone goal. Dzajic scored in the first match of the finals as well, with the game ending in a 1:1 draw. In the second match two days later, the hosts celebrated a 2:0 win and Yugoslav/Serbian football had a small consolation prize in Dzajic's exploits.

Euro 1972 - Gerd Muller (West Germany) - 4 goals

Autor, CC BY-SA 3.0, Poveznica

A two-game tournament still saw the legendary German Gerd Muller put the ball in the net four times. He scored a brace in the first game against the hosts Belgium, then another two in the 3:0 final against the Soviet Union. Muller had an outstanding career that cannot be given justice in a paragraph or two, with 68 goals in 62 games for his country. As well as a place in the top 10 of all-time goalscorers.

Euro 1976 - Dieter Muller (West Germany) - 4 goals

The Euro in 1976 held in Yugoslavia had only the four teams playing two games total and West Germany's Dieter Muller still managed to score four goals! Firstly, after scoring once in regular time, Muller knocked out the hosts with two goals in extra time. In the final, he opened the scoring but the game went to penalties. There, a different player took the fame off of him by scoring the final goal of the tournament with a move that has carried his name since.

Euro 1980 - Klaus Allofs (West Germany) - 3 goals

Klaus Allofs - SV Werder Bremen (2) (cropped).jpg
By Steindy (talk) 14:41, 21 July 2009 (UTC) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The Euro in Italy had just eight teams and the winners of two four-nation groups would meet in the final directly. So Klaus Allofs had a total of possible four games to make his mark, although he made his tally in just one of the group stages when he scored a hat-trick against the Dutch. West Germany ended up winning the tournament and the 24-year-old at the time got the top goalscorer award.

Euro 1984 - Michel Platini (France) - 9 goals

Michel Platini

A Euro goalscoring record that will most likely never be matched! Even with the increased size of the tournament, more weaker sides getting to the tournament, and less defensive-minded football as the top three sides go through the knockout stage. Michel Platini scored nine goals in five matches! Once against Denmark, then a hat-trick versus Belgium, then also against Yugoslavia. In the semis against Portugal, he scored in the 119th minute, and he opened the scoring in the final against Spain to win the whole thing in front of the home crowd!

Euro 1988 - Marco van Basten (The Netherlands) - 5 goals

Marco van Basten

A legend marked the 1988 Euro in West Germany, as Marko Van Basten scored five times, including a goal in the final. Of course, the tournament had only eight teams, but that even makes Van Basten's exploits all that impressive. As he played only in two games of the knockout stage. The Dutch legend scored a hat-trick in the group stages against England, and then a goal each in the semis and the final, leading his national team to a triumph.

Euro 1992 - four players with three goals

Having their neighbours, the Danes, win a tournament in their country wasn't the easiest for Swedes. Especially as Denmark was called to the tournament because Yugoslavia was kicked out of it. But the Swedes did have one of the top goalscorers of the tournament, Tomas Brolin. However, Henrik Larsen of Denmark also stopped at the three-goal mark. As did the Dutch star Dennis Bergkamp and the German striker Karl-Heinz Riedle.

Euro 1996 - Alan Shearer (England) - 5 goals

Alan Shearer

For a country that considers itself a football powerhouse, England hasn't much to show for it in the Euro department. Never winning the competition and only having one player to win a top goalscorer award. Their best striker ever, fittingly, yet it's a weak consolation prize for the English. Same at it was at the 1996 tournament played in their home.

Shearer scored in each of the group games, twice in the last match, the quarter-finals were won after a goalless draw and a shootout versus Spain. The semis saw the English face eventual-winners Germany and Shearer opened the game with an early goal. Yet in the penalties, as the saying goes, football showed its true nature, always favouring the Germans.

Euro 2000 - Savo Milošević (Yugoslavia) & Patrick Kluivert (The Netherlands) - 5 goals

Savo Milosevic (cropped).jpg
Autor Medija centar Beograd -, CC BY-SA 3.0, Poveznica

The tournament in Belgium and Netherlands went to France, but one of the hosts at least had the pride of one of their representatives sharing the top goalscorer award. In Serbia, which was still with Montenegro at the time and playing under the name Yugoslavia, the tournament is not remembered by Savo Milosevic's exploits. But by the 6:1 defeat to the Netherlands, when Kluivert scored a hat-trick and Milosevic the consolation goal. Prior to the knockout game, he scored in each of the group games, recording a brace in the first match.

Euro 2004 - Milan Baros (Czech Republic) - 5 goals

Milan Baroš3, FCB-SLAVIA 30092018.jpg
Autor Tadeáš Bednarz - Vlastito djelo postavljača, CC BY-SA 4.0, Poveznica

Arguably the weirdest Euro, due to the unexpected Greece triumph against the favoured hosts Portugal. Individually, Milan Baros was the star of the tournament, scoring once in each of the three group games, against Netherlands, Latvia, and Germany. His country topped the hard group, eliminating Germany in the process. Baros scored a brace in a win over Denmark in the quarter-finals, but Greece defeated the Czechs in the semis.

Euro 2008 - David Villa (Spain) - 4 goals

David Villa

One of the best goalscorers of the 21st century had to have one of these Euro top goalscorers awards in his cabinet. David Villa led Spain to a triumph in the tournament with four goals, although the glory was shared with Fernando Torres who scored the lone goal in the final. Villa scored all of his goals in the group stage, with a hat-trick in the game against Russia. The tournament played in Austria and Switzerland was the coming out party of the golden Spanish generation.

Euro 2012 - 6 players with 3 goals each

Mario Mandzukic

Played in Poland and Ukraine, the 2012 Euro was the final show of the memorable Spanish generation which won the two previous major tournaments it was involved in. However, the top goalscorer list was more competitive than international sport was in those years with six players at the three-goal mark.

Three Marios, Mandzukic, Gomez, and Balloteli, of Croatia, Germany, and Italy respectfully. Then Cristiano Ronaldo, the most surprising inclusion Alan Dzagoev of Russia, and then the double winner Fernando Torres. As the Spaniard had one assist too, same as Mario Gomez, yet won the Golden Boot for the 2012 Euro as he spent less time on the pitch than the German.

Euro 2016 - Antoine Griezmann (France) - 6 goals

Antoine Griezmann

A player who will not be cherished enough until he is gone as the Euro 2016 top goalscorer trophy is just one of his caveats. A versatile player as they come, Griezmann assists and creates more for France now, but in 2016 he put on his scoring shoes. So much so that he scored twice than any other player in the tournament played in his home country! It was a weak consolation, even for him, as France was defeated in the final.

Euro 2020* - Patrick Schick (Czech Republic) & Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - 5 goals

Cristiano Ronaldo

Infamously played a year later, in 2021, due to the global situation, but the 2020 Euro was also memorable because it was the first tournament played across the continent! In that traffic jam of a competition, two names stood above the rest with five goals - Patrick Schick and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The latter became the top goalscorer in the history of the tournament, reaching a total of 14 goals! While Schick finally forego the label of a transfer flop, by giving his resume two golden lines: Euro top scorer and the winner of the best goal of the tournament for his halfway line goal against Scotland. CR7 got the Golden Boot however, as he had one assist while Schick had none.



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