Ahead of Euro 2024 this summer, brush up on all the major European Championship records.

The 2024 UEFA European Championship is almost upon us. Three years on from Italy winning the delayed Euro 2020, the best national teams in Europe will converge on Germany with hopes of winning a competition arguably second only to the World Cup in international football.

Euro 2024 will be the 17th edition of the tournament and the second to be hosted in Germany after the 1988 competition was played in West Germany.

As such, the European Championship has a long and illustrious history, having been graced by many of the greatest players and national teams to ever play the game.

Opta Analyst will be providing in-depth coverage throughout the tournament, staying abreast of the key records, stats and figures that emerge across June and July – and mark our words, records will be broken.

Here, we provide the lowdown on the European Championship’s major team and player records.

European Championship Records: Contents

Team Records
••• Past Winners ••• Host Nation Performances ••• Highest Scoring Games ••• Biggest Wins ••• Penalty Shootouts •••

Player Records
••• Top Scorers ••• Most Goals at One Tournament ••• Most Appearances ••• Oldest Scorers ••• Oldest Players ••• Youngest Scorers ••• Youngest Players ••• Hat-Tricks ••• Fastest Goals •••

Team Records

Which Teams Have Won the European Championships?

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2020 final to become just one of four nations to have won the European Championship more than once. Those nations are Spain and Germany (3 each) and Italy and France (2 each).

In total, 10 countries have won Europe’s biggest international prize – Russia (as the Soviet Union) were the inaugural champions in 1960, beating Yugoslavia 2-1 after extra-time in the final, though several major countries didn’t enter that competition, which wasn’t a ‘tournament proper’ until the semi-final stage.

It wasn’t until 1980 that the European Championship introduced a group stage to the tournament proper and West Germany went on to win it, that being their second title after 1972. They’ve added one other title since, in 1996 – they are one of just two countries to win the competition three times.

The others are Spain, whose 1964 success was belatedly followed by the glory of their Golden Generation in 2008 and 2012, either side of also winning the 2010 World Cup. La Roja’s success in 2012 saw them become the first team to win consecutive European Championships and three major international tournaments in a row.

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Spain at Euro 2012

Host Nation Performances at the European Championships

Only three European Championship host nations have gone on to win the trophy, with the most recent being France way back in 1984. Italy (1968) and Spain (1964) enjoyed glory on home territory in successive tournaments.

Otherwise, however, being the host nation hasn’t necessarily brought success – though the notion of success is relative. Sweden reached the semi-finals as hosts in 1992, their first participation in the tournament, and have never gone as far since, only getting to the last eight in 2004.

Germany last hosted the Euros in 1988 as West Germany and enjoyed a run to the semi-finals but ultimately lost 2-1 to Rinus Michels’ Netherlands, even though Lothar Matthäus had given them the lead from the spot. A Ronald Koeman penalty levelled matters and Marco van Basten’s effort on the stretch sealed a late win for the Oranje en route to what remains their only major international success.

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Lothar Matthaus of Germany at Euro 1988

Highest Scoring European Championship Games

Incredibly, the highest-scoring European Championship game in history was also the opening match of the inaugural 1960 tournament as Yugoslavia beat hosts France 5-4. No Euros game since has seen as many as nine goals scored by the two teams.

What made that scoreline even more astonishing was the fact it was 1-1 at half-time. Seven goals were scored in the second period; only one other game in Euros history has ever had more than seven in a whole match.

Of the top five highest-scoring matches, Yugoslavia feature three times, though this instance was the only one of the three in which they came out victorious.

The only other game to feature more than seven goals occurred at Euro 2020, when Spain beat Croatia 5-3 in a thriller at Parken in Copenhagen.

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Biggest European Championship Win

As joint hosts of Euro 2000, the Netherlands gave the home crowd in Rotterdam a performance to savour in a 6-1 thrashing of Yugoslavia, which remains the only time in European Championship history that a side has scored six or more goals.

Four other teams have won 5-0, including Spain at Euro 2020.

Netherlands vs Yugoslavia at Euro 2000

A quarter-final tie, Netherlands-Yugoslavia was as one-sided as the scoreline suggested, with Patrick Kluivert giving the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break, having been supplied by assists from Dennis Bergkamp and Edgar Davids. An own goal effectively put the game to bed, but Kluivert completed his hat-trick before Marc Overmars added two of his own. Savo Milošević got the consolation.

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European Championship Penalty Shootouts

There have been 22 penalty shootouts in European Championship history ahead of Euro 2024.

The first ever, in the 1976 final, included one of the most iconic penalties ever scored as Antonín Panenka disguised a delicate chipped effort into the goal to secure Czechoslovakia the title.

The only other shootout to occur in the final was also the most recent instance of penalties at the Euros; Italy defeated England 3-2 on penalties at Wembley Stadium to win Euro 2020.

England vs Italy at Euro 2020

But those two examples only scratch the surface of the history of penalty shootouts at the European Championship.

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Player Records

European Championship Top Scorers

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the most goals in Euros history with his haul of 14 – it’s a record he’ll be hoping to extend in Germany, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner at least five goals clear of anyone else.

Ronaldo has scored at five European Championships in total. He got a couple when Portugal hosted the competition in 2004 before also netting in 2008 (1), 2012 (3), 2016 (3) and 2020 (5), finishing as joint-top scorer with Czech Republic’s Patrick Schick in the latter.

Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020

Curiously, the player closest to Ronaldo is former France star Michel Platini, who scored all nine of his European Championship goals in a single edition, and that remains the most anyone has ever scored in a single Euros tournament. Those were all scored as France won the tournament as hosts in 1984.

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Most Goals at a Single European Championship (Player)

Michel Platini holds the record for the most goals scored at a single edition of the Euros after netting nine times as France won Euro 1984 as the hosts.

In fact, that’s the only European Championship tournament Platini ever scored in and this feat is made even more impressive considering only eight teams contested the Euros in 1984.

Six of his nine strikes at Euro 84 consisted of back-to-back hat-tricks in the group stage, inspiring the 5-0 thrashing of Belgium and a 3-2 win over Yugoslavia after also getting the only goal of the game in Les Bleus’ opener. Platini was then decisive in the semi-final against Portugal, netting a 119th-minute extra-time winner; he also scored in the final win over Spain, meaning he found the net in all five matches.

No one else has ever scored more than six at a single European Championship tournament.

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Michel Platini at Euro 1984

Most European Championship Appearances

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most appearances by a player at the Euros with 25 ahead of Euro 2024, and he’s likely to extend his lead this summer.

He first appeared in the European Championship during the 2004 edition when Portugal were hosts, reaching the final before losing to surprise champions Greece.

Ronaldo did go on to enjoy Euros success eventually, however, helping Portugal to the title in 2016. If he does feature this summer, Euro 2024 will be his sixth Euros tournament.

However, if Ronaldo is left out of the team by Roberto Martínez, his record might come under threat from teammate Pepe.

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Ronaldo and Pepe at Euro 2016

Oldest Scorers at a European Championship

Ivica Vastic stepped up to take a stoppage-time penalty for co-hosts Austria at Euro 2008, rescuing a 1-1 draw against Poland. That made Vastic, aged 38 years and 257 days old, the oldest goalscorer in Euros history and the record remains his ahead of Euro 2024.

Ivica Vastic scores at Euro 2008

The closest anyone’s come to taking the record from Vastic was Goran Pandev (37y, 321d) during Euro 2020 in 2021. He scored against the Austrians for North Macedonia, their first ever goal at the Euros, though Austria still ran out 3-1 winners.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player to be among the 10 youngest and the 10 oldest scorers at the European Championship. His goal against France at the delayed Euro 2020 on 23 June 2021 was scored when he was 36y, 194 days old and makes him the fifth oldest player to score at the tournament.

Now 39, however, he would appear to be the biggest threat to Vastic’s record. Ronaldo just needs to score once at Euro 2024 to take it for his own – assuming no one else beats him to the punch.

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Oldest Players at a European Championship

This is a record that’s likely to change hands at Euro 2024, though until then, former Hungary goalkeeper Gábor Király is the oldest player to have ever played at a European Championship (40 years, 86 days).

He set the benchmark at Euro 2016 in Hungary’s first group game, before going on to make another three appearances, thus extending his record each time.

Lothar Matthäus had previously held the record for 16 years; it’s unlikely Király will still hold it after Euro 2024, with potentially a few challengers set to feature.

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Gabor Kiraly at Euro 2016

Youngest Scorers at a European Championship

Every European Championship has its breakout talents, some even leave indelible marks in the record books. It’s been a while since the record for youngest scorer changed hands, though.

Johan Vonlanthen holds the record for the youngest goalscorer in European Championship history; he was 18 years and 141 days old when he netted for Switzerland against France at Euro 2004.

Bixente Lizarazu and Johan Vonlanthen at Euro 2004

That came just a few days after Wayne Rooney (18y, 237d) had broken the record for England, coincidentally against Vonlanthen’s Switzerland.

Rooney was the first 18-year-old to score at the Euros. Before him, the record had stood for two days shy of 20 years.

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Youngest Players at a European Championship

Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal took the record at Euro 2024, featuring against Croatia aged 16 years and 338 days. The Barcelona youngster was given a start by Spain boss Luis de la Fuente after a productive 2023-24 campaign for the La Liga giants.

Lamine Yamal v Croatia

He overtook Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski, who was the second player to break the record at Euro 2020 that tournament back in 2021 after it had stood for nine years since June 2012. In fact, three of the five youngest players in Euros history made their bows at Euro 2020.

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European Championship Hat-Tricks

This will almost certainly come as a surprise, but in 674 European Championship matches (pre-Euro 2024) since its inception in 1960, there have only been eight hat-tricks scored at the finals, and just one of those has come since Euro 2000.

Michel Platini vs Belgium at Euro 1984

Michel Platini is the one player to score more than a single hat-trick at the Euros, netting trebles in successive matches at Euro 84 as his record haul of nine goals led France to the trophy on home territory.

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Fastest Goals in European Championship History

Dmitri Kirichenko only played one match at the UEFA European Championship but he made it count, entering the record books with his strike against Greece at Euro 2004. His goal for Russia came just 65 seconds (01:05) into the game, and remains the fastest strike in Euros history.

But there are plenty more fastest-goal records at the European Championships. How about the quickest goal in a final? Or the fastest penalty to be awarded? Check them all out here.

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European Championship Records - Fastest Goal

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