3 Biggest Ever Upsets at a UEFA Euros Competition

The UEFA European Championship (more commonly known as the Euros) has long been a stage where footballing giants clash in pursuit of continental glory. However, it’s also a tournament where the underdog can sometimes defy the odds and etch their name into footballing folklore.

Today, we will delve into some of these occasions where underdogs pry away a near-guaranteed victory from a more successful side. Here are three of the biggest ever upsets at a UEFA Euros competition.

3 Biggest Ever Upsets at a UEFA Euros Competition

Greece's Miracle in 2004

When Greece arrived at Euro 2004 in Portugal, few gave them a chance of making it past the group stage, let alone winning the entire tournament. Greece's squad was a mix of homegrown talent and less-fancied European league players who were managed by the shrewd German coach Otto Rehhagel. Their journey began with a shock 2-1 victory over the host nation Portugal, immediately putting the footballing world on notice.

They managed to scrape through the group stages, but their true test came in the knockout rounds. Against the likes of defending champions France and the formidable Czech Republic, Greece’s organisation and resilience shone through.

Angelos Charisteas’ headed goal in the final against Portugal sealed a 1-0 victory, completing what is arguably the most improbable triumph in European Championship history.

Denmark’s Fairytale Win in 1992

Denmark’s triumph at Euro 1992 in Sweden is a story often recounted with amazement. Denmark didn’t even originally make it into the tournament, placing second in their group just behind Yugoslavia. However, with the latter disqualified due to political turmoil, Denmark was called up just ten days before the tournament started. They entered the competition with little preparation and seemingly low expectations.

The Danish side, led by the charismatic Richard Møller Nielsen, began their campaign with a draw against England and a narrow loss to Sweden. But a crucial win over France saw them advance to the knockout stages. In the semi-finals, they faced the defending champions, the Netherlands, and emerged victorious in a dramatic penalty shootout.

The final pitted them against the reigning world champions, Germany. Against all odds, Denmark produced a stunning performance, winning 2-0 with goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort. Denmark’s unexpected victory remains one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of the Euros, a true underdog story that continues to inspire.

Iceland’s Heroics in 2016

Euro 2016 in France saw the rise of another underdog story, this time featuring the small nation of Iceland. With a population of just over 330,000, Iceland was the smallest country to ever qualify for a major international tournament.

Iceland’s group stage performance was solid, drawing with Portugal and Hungary, and securing a historic win over Austria. This earned them a spot in the knockout rounds, where they faced England in the Round of 16. The English team, filled with Premier League stars, was expected to easily dispatch the Icelanders.

However, what unfolded was one of the biggest shocks in Euros history. After falling behind to an early Wayne Rooney penalty, Iceland responded with two quick goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. Despite relentless pressure from England, Iceland held on for a famous 2-1 victory.

Though their journey ended in the quarter-finals against France, Iceland’s performance at Euro 2016 was nothing short of extraordinary. It demonstrated the power of teamwork, determination, and the belief that even the smallest nations can achieve great things on the international stage.


The UEFA European Championship has provided football fans with some of the most unforgettable moments in the sport’s history. These upsets remind us that the underdog always has a chance in football, and sometimes, dreams do come true. It’s what keeps the game exciting - anything can happen, and chaos is the norm. See you next time.

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Date published: 06-07-2024 | Date updated: 06-07-2024 | Author: Patrick de Graaf

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The UEFA European Championship (more commonly known as the Euros) has long been a stage where footballing giants clash in pursuit of continental glory.

About the author of '3 Biggest Ever Upsets at a UEFA Euros Competition'

Patrick (author and webmaster)

Author of this content is Patrick. I have been playing soccer for more than 25 years and follow the daily news closely. My hobbies include playing football, running and maintaining various websites, in addition to my job as a financial professional.

I do not work for any related company or institution, so the information is reliable and independent. The information has been collected accurately from reliable sources and is regularly updated.