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France celebrate their Golden Goal triumph

The first co-hosted tournament had a number of logistical problems off the pitch but produced some of the best tournament football on it. 

With UEFA’s membership rising to 51, the qualifiers featured a record number of entrants, 49, and group winners qualified automatically for the tournament along with the best runners-up. The remaining runners-up took part in two-legged play-offs.

At the finals, Group A produced an upset, with traditional power Germany finishing bottom, behind England, with Portugal and Romania progressing to the quarter-finals.

Portugal, with Luis Figo in fine form, made their mark early on, coming from 2-0 down to beat England 3-2 in their opening game.

There was trouble from some fans in their next game, in Charleroi, but on the pitch Alan Shearer gave England their first tournament win over the Germans since 1966.

Portugal stormed through the group, beating Romania 1-0 and then thrashing Germany 3-0 with a reserve side in their final game.

England went out, after leading Romania 2-1 at half-time, when the Romanians snatched an 89th-minute winner through an Ioan Ganea penalty.

Co-hosts Belgium had opened the tournament with an impressive 2-1 victory over Sweden at the rebuilt Heysel stadium in Brussels, but they lost their following two games, both 2-0, to Italy and Turkey.

Italy topped the group, having begun with a fortunate 2-1 victory over Turkey, Filippo Inzaghi scoring the winner from a controversial penalty.

A solid win over Belgium, thanks
to goals from Francesco Totti and Stefano Fiore, followed while their reserves beat Sweden with a late strike from Alessandro Del Piero.

Turkey joined Italy in the quarter-finals after beating Belgium in their final game, which saw Belgian keeper Filip De Wilde sent off.

Spain and Yugoslavia qualified from Group D, as expected, but the group threw up some remarkable results. Spain lost their opening game 1-0 to Norway, while 10-man Yugoslavia staged an astonishing recovery after going 3-0 down to Slovenia to draw 3-3.

Norway lost their next game, 1-0 to Yugoslavia, but after drawing 0-0 with Slovenia in their final game, they believed they had done enough to reach the last eight, as Spain were losing 3-2 to Yugoslavia. However, during four minutes of injury time, Spain equalised through Gaizka Mendieta, then took the lead through Alfonso Perez.

Group of death

Group D was dubbed the group of death, because it featured co-hosts Holland, world champions France, 1992 champions Denmark and 1996 runners-up Czech Republic. But results on the opening day set the tone for the rest of the group.

France, inspired by Zinedine
Zidane and Thierry Henry, outclassed Denmark 3-0, while Holland edged past the Czechs 1-0

With both teams already through, Holland beat France 3-2 in their final game to top the group.

The quarter-finals all went to form, with all four of the matches settled in 90 minutes.

Striker Nuno Gomes was the star for Portugal as they overcame Turkey 2-0, while Italy beat Romania by
the same scoreline – although the Romanians were angry at Gheorghe Hagi’s second-half expulsion, a sad end to a glittering international career.

Holland thrashed Yugoslavia side 6-1 and France edged past Spain in an exciting encounter. Raul missed a last-minute penalty that would have made it 2-2.

In the semi-finals, France beat Portugal with a golden goal from Zidane, who scored a penalty in the 117th minute. The Portugal players were furious at the decision and surrounded referee’s assistant Igor Sramka, who had spotted – correctly – a handball from Abel Xavier. Lengthy bans followed for Abel Xavier, Nuno Gomes and Paulo Bento.

In Amsterdam, Italy ground their way past Holland, winning on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Frank De Boer and Patrick Kluivert both missed spot-kicks in normal time and Italy had Gianluca Zambrotta sent off.

In the Final, Italy took the lead with a goal from Marco Delvecchio, but France equalised in the dying minutes through Sylvain Wiltord. Then, in extra time, substitute David Trezeguet struck the golden goal.

Finals tournament
(played in Belgium and Holland)

Group A
Germany – Romania
Portugal – England 3-2
Romania – Portugal 0-1
England – Germany 1-0
England – Romania 2-3
Portugal – Germany 3-0

P W D L F A Pts
Portugal 3 3 0 0 7 2 9
Romania 3 1 1 1 4 4 4
England 3 1 0 2 5 6 3
Germany 3 0 1 2 1 5 1

Group B
Belgium – Sweden 2-1
Turkey – Italy 1-2
Italy – Belgium 2-0
Sweden – Turkey 0-0
Turkey – Belgium 2-0
Italy – Sweden 2-1

P W D L F A Pts
Italy 3 3 0 0 6 2 9
Turkey 3 1 1 1 3 2 4
Belgium 3 1 0 2 2 5 3
Sweden 3 0 1 2 2 4 1

Group C
Spain – Norway 0-1
Yugoslavia – Slovenia 3-3
Slovenia – Spain 1-2
Norway – Yugoslavia 0-1
Yugoslavia – Spain 3-4
Slovenia – Norway 0-0

P W D L F A Pts
Spain 3 2 0 1 6 5 6
Yugoslavia 3 1 1 1 7 7 4
Norway 3 1 1 1 1 1 4
Slovenia3 0 2 1 4 5 2

Group D
France – Denmark 3-0
Holland – Czech Republic 1-0
Czech Republic – France 1-2
Denmark – Holland 0-3
France – Holland 2-3
Denmark – Czech Republic 0-2

P W D L F A Pts
Holland 3 3 0 0 7 2 9
France 3 2 0 1 7 4 6
Czech Republic 3 1 0 2 3 3 3
Denmark 3 0 0 3 0 8 0

Quarter-finals
Portugal – Turkey 2-0
Italy – Romania 2-0
Holland – Yugoslavia 6-1
France – Spain 2-1

Semi-finals
Portugal – France 1-2 aet
Italy – Holland 0-0 aet
Italy won 3-1 on pens

Final

July 2 – Rotterdam

France 2 (Wiltord 90, Trezeguet 103) Italy 1 (Delvecchio 55)

aet. Ref: Frisk (Swe)

Att: 48,200

France (blue)

4-2-3-1

Barthez; Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu (Pires 85); Vieira, Deschamps; Djorkaeff (Trezeguet 76), Zidane, Dugarry (Wiltord 58); Henry

Italy (white)

3-4-1-2

Toldo; Cannavaro, Nesta, Iuliano; Pessotto, Albertini, Di Biagio (Ambrosini 66), Maldini; Fiore (Del Piero 53); Totti, Delvecchio (Montella 86)

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