European Championship History - 2000 Belgium and Netherlands
The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship was the 11th UEFA European Football Championship. Euro 2000 was co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands and was the first time a European Championship had been co-hosted
The competition spanned between 10th June and 2nd July 2000; and featured 16 European nations. Qualifying had begun two years before the tournament, with 14 teams achieving qualification while the two host countries were automatically entered.
Group A provided one of the shocks of the tournament after Portugal picked up three wins from their group stage fixtures. This included a 3-0 win over Germany, with Sergio Conceicao scoring a hat-trick, and a dramatic 3-2 victory over England, after being 2-0 down. Romania also made their way through to the next stage after beating England with a late penalty in their final group game. England and Germany crashed out at the first hurdle despite being tipped among the tournament favourites.
Belgium also suffered a surprise exit in the group stage, after beating Sweden in the tournaments opening game they lost to Turkey and Italy. As a result they finished in third place behind Italy and Turkey, while Sweden finished in fourth place with just one point. The Italians were earning rave reviews having successfully defeated all three teams in the group.
Group C featured one of the most memorable matches of the tournament, between Yugoslavia and Spain. Yugoslavia appeared to be heading for a 3-2 victory that would have seen them finish top of the group, but 94th and 96th minute goals from Gaizka Mendieta and Alfonso Perez turned the game on its head and the Spaniards finished as group winners. Yugoslavia did still manage to finish in second place having already defeated Norway and drawn with Slovenia who finished in third and fourth place.
The other co-host and tournament favourites, the Netherlands, progressed from Group D alongside reigning World Cup holders France. The final game of the group pitted the Dutch and French opposite each other. The Netherlands came out on top despite going behind twice, thanks to goals from Patrick Kluivert, Frank de Boer and Bolo Zenden. Czech Republic finished in third place, while Denmark were left at the bottom. The Danes uncharacteristically failed to pick up a single point and finished with a minus 8 goal difference.
Both Italy and Portugal carried their perfect records through to the quarter-final stage. Portugal were 2-0 victors over Turkey following a brace from Nuno Gomes. Meanwhile the Italians beat Romania by the same scoreline. Francesco Totti and Filippo Inzaghi scored a goal apiece in the first half as Italy progressed to the semi-finals.
The Netherlands thrashed Yugoslavia 6-1 in the third quarter-final match. A hat-trick from Patrick Kluivert and a Dejan Govedarica own goal had put the Dutch 4-0 up, a late double from Marc Overmars made it six and Savo Milosevic pulled one back in injury-time.
The last quarter-final game was a closely contested fixture between Spain and France. The French went 1-0 up thanks to Zinedine Zidane before Gaizka Mendieta equalised from the penalty spot. The winning goal came from Youri Djorkaeff on the stroke of half-time to ensure France made it through to the next stage.
France progressed to the final with an extra-time win over Portugal. Nuno Gomes gave Portugal the lead in the 19th minute, the lead lasted until just after half-time, when Thierry Henry equalised for the French. As the game appeared to be heading for a penalty shoot-out, Zidane struck the golden goal from the spot in the 117th minute.
Meanwhile in the other semi-final fixture, Italy drew 0-0 in normal time with the Netherlands and it remained goalless throughout extra-time. Italy went on to win the game via the penalty shoot-out, with the Dutch crumbling under the pressure. Only Kluivert managed to convert for the Netherlands, while Di Biagio, Pessotto and Totti scored for Italy.
Italy could have been forgiven for thinking they had secured the trophy when it came to the 90th minute of the final. In front of 50,000 people at the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam. Italy had taken a 55th minute lead through Marco Delvecchio and were on course to lift the trophy.
The French remarkably scored in the 94th minute as Sylvain Wiltord crashed in a low drive past Francesco Toldo and took the game to extra-time.
Having snatched a last gasp equaliser, the French would then go on to win the game just before the half-way point of extra-time. Robert Pires' cross was diverted into the back of the net in spectacular style by David Trezeguet. Under golden goal rules the French were crowned Champions of Europe, on the back of their World Cup win two years earlier.