When it comes to football, goals are what fills the seats on stadiums. Secondary to that are only the stars that score them. It is because of these stars who are paid massive contracts to put the ball behind the back of the goalkeeper that makes this game so crazy and what compels us to watch it. It is what we are most excited to see at the forthcoming 2020 Euro Cup.
The European Championship is no different. Competing nations prepare their best and most popular stars to go on the pitch and score as many goals as they can in order to reach the finals and achieve the best football score.
But the Euro Cup is a small tournament and it doesn’t give you a lot of room to show how much you are actually worth. The top scorers in Europe sometimes struggle to show their best. Early favorites don’t always win while players that you least expect give stellar performances.
The upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 is expected to be no different. Already there are many contenders and the Euro top scorer odds are tipped in favor of the major stars. But what about the underdogs? What about those players that you least expect to score? How will they fare?
History has shown that there are a lot of smaller stars that shine the brightest when it matters the most and show their goal-scoring prowess at the UEFA Euro competition.
Here are the top Europe scorers from the past Euro Cups that nobody expected to see.
Henrik Larsen wasn’t among any top Europe goal scorers in any league that year but managed to be crowned as one of the top scorers of Euro 92. He scored three goals in the competition and split the award with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands), Thomas Brolin (Sweden) and Karl-Heinze Riedle (Germany). But his effort was the most astonishing one, particularly because he played for Denmark.
Denmark was the surprise team of the competition and only qualified for the European championship as a substitute for Yugoslavia. Nobody actually expected that they would win the whole tournament and stage one of the unlikeliest football results at the Euros.
In the absence of Michael Laudrup, Denmark’s best player and scorer at the time, it was Henrik Larsen who stepped through. He scored a total of three goals and even scored a double in the semi-finals in the decisive game against the Netherlands.
Savo Milosevic has never been the Premier League top goal scorer while his time at Aston Villa. But he will always remember Euro 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium where he was the joint top goal scorer of the competition alongside Patrick Kluivert.
The Yugoslav team had high ambitions at this particular tournament but were had some highly controversial football scores during it. The Yugoslav team was conceding goals left and right and didn’t finish a game without at least one player being sent off. But thanks to Savo Milosevic, they managed to score many goals back.
Yugoslavia was involved in some of the highest scoring games in the Euro competition history as they drew with Slovenia 3-3, lost to Spain 3-4 and eventually got eliminated by Holland 6-1. Luckily for them, at the very heart of their forward line was Savo Milosevic who bagged the tournament’s highest 5 goals in total and was voted as the top goal scorer of the Euro Cup.
Euro 2004 was the stage of the most surprising victory of Euro championships, but it also had a surprising top goal scorer. Milan Baros and Jan Koller have formed the dream matchup in front for the Czech Republic and almost managed to get their team to the finals. If it weren’t for the faithful loss in the semi-finals against Greece, we would probably be reading a completely different story now.
Nevertheless, the Czech Republic had to console themselves by having the top Europe goal scorer. Being at the height of his form, Milan Baros managed to score five goals in five games. Unfortunately, the only game he failed to score was in the most important one, the semi-finals against Greece where they lost by 1-0.
Interestingly, Baros would play in two more Euro cups (2008 and 2012) but never scored another goal except those five at Euro 2004. But football today will always remember him for his heroics and stellar performances in this competition.
Euro 2012 doesn’t have a lot of memorable moments as other UEFA Euro competitions. Spain was the clear favorite and they simply waltzed to the finals and won it without any turmoil. The Euro competition of 2012 also didn’t have a clear goal scorer as the title was divided between six players who all scored 3 goals. Mandzukic (Croatia), Gomez (Germany), Balotelli (Italy), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), and Torres (Spain) all scored three goals each, but none entry was more surprising than that of Alan Dzagoev from Russia.
Russia actually finished their campaign late in the first round as they fell behind the Czech Republic and Greece. Dzagoev bagged two in an impressive victory over the Czechs (4-1) and scored once in a draw against Poland (1-1). If Russia had managed to qualify for the next round, Dzagoev would have probably scored more goals.
This was probably the best time for Dzagoev to burst onto the scene as he was the star player of the Russian football league and transferred his form brilliantly to the European championship. Unfortunately for him, like most Russian players, he didn’t use this fine form and stayed in his home country for the entirety of his career.