With Spain adding to their trophy cabinet at Euro 2024 this summer, we look at the nations who have the most European Championship wins to their name.

Spain – 4 European Championship Wins

Spain overtook Germany to hold the outright most men’s European Championship titles with their four Euros win in the 2024 final against England in Berlin.

Their 2-1 victory over the English thanks to goals from Nico Williams and Mikel Oyarzabal led them to their first major men’s title since Euro 2012.

Spain were just the second ever winners of the tournament when they went all the way in 1964. Back when it was still known as the European Nations’ Cup, La Roja qualified by beating the Republic of Ireland 7-1 over two legs, which was just as well as they were set to host the tournament.

The four games were played at Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu, with Spain’s semi-final against Hungary taking place at the latter. Chus Pereda gave them the lead before Ferenc Bene equalised late on. Amancio won it for Spain in extra-time, though, setting up a final against the Soviet Union. Pereda scored early before the hosts conceded a quick equaliser, but Marcelino hit the crucial winner with just six minutes remaining in Madrid.

Spain had to wait 44 years for their next success, winning the 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland. It had long expanded to 16 teams by then, but Spain eased through their group by beating Russia, Sweden and Greece, before getting past Italy on penalties in the quarter-final and again easing past Russia in the semi-finals. A solitary goal from Fernando Torres was enough to beat Germany 1-0 in the final.

After winning the World Cup in 2010, they became the first team ever to retain the European Championship when they won it again four years later in Poland and Ukraine. They came through a tough group after drawing with Italy and beating Republic of Ireland and Croatia, before a 2-0 win over France in the quarter-finals and a penalty-shootout success over Portugal in the semis.

They eased to a remarkably comfortable 4-0 victory in the final over Italy thanks to goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

Luis de la Fuente was the man to lead them to glory at Euro 2024, with Spain winning all seven games that they played at the tournament. It completed a European Championship hat-trick for the coach, after he won the competition as manager of the Spanish sides at under-19 and under-21 levels in 2015 and 2019 respectively.

Germany – 3

The only other country with a trio of Henri Delaunay Trophies is Germany, with the first two coming as West Germany in 1972 and 1980, before Germany won it again in 1996.

Another four-team tournament in Belgium saw West Germany qualify by beating England 3-1 on aggregate, before defeating the hosts in Antwerp 2-1 in the semi-final thanks to two goals from the legendary Gerd Müller. The final saw Müller score two more as West Germany eased past Soviet Union 3-0 in Brussels, with Herbert Wimmer scoring the other.

Eight years later it was an eight-team tournament in Italy, with West Germany finishing top of Group 1 and advancing to the final by beating Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands before drawing with Greece. Two goals from Horst Hrubesch was enough to beat Belgium 2-1 in the final in Rome.

At Euro 96 they made it a hat-trick in England, becoming the only team to win a four, eight and 16-team version of the tournament. Germany didn’t concede a single goal in the group stage, beating Czech Republic and Russia before drawing with Italy.

They overcame Croatia 2-1 in the quarter-finals thanks to a Jürgen Klinsmann penalty and Matthias Sammer’s winner at Old Trafford, before a dramatic penalty-shootout victory over England in the semis at Wembley. Oliver Bierhoff equalised against Czech Republic in the final before scoring a golden-goal winner for Germany in extra-time.

Italy – 2

There were 53 years between Italy’s two European Championship wins, with the first coming in just the third edition of it back in 1968.

The Azzurri just about qualified for their home tournament after beating Bulgaria 4-3 on aggregate, and then only reached the final after winning a coin toss following a 0-0 draw with Soviet Union. The final was also a close affair, drawing 1-1 with Yugoslavia before beating them 2-0 in the replay thanks to goals from Gigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi.

At Euro 2020 – played across Europe in 2021 following the COVID-19 pandemic – Roberto Mancini’s side breezed through their group stage without conceding a goal, beating Turkey, Switzerland and Wales. They were made to work hard by Austria in the last 16 at Wembley, going to extra-time before Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina scored to seal a 2-1 win, while goals from Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne led to the same score against Belgium in Munich.

Italy needed a penalty-shootout win over Spain in the semi-finals after a 1-1 draw, with the same method of victory also coming into play against England in the final. Leonardo Bonucci equalised after Luke Shaw had given the Three Lions an early lead, but Italy won 3-2 on penalties at Wembley to secure their second Euros trophy.

England v Italy stats

France – 2

As the hosts in 1984 and having not appeared since the inaugural tournament in 1960, the pressure was on France to perform.

And perform they did, beating Denmark 1-0, Belgium 5-0, and Yugoslavia 3-2 to top Group 1 and qualify for the semi-finals. Michel Platini was the star of the show, scoring six goals across those three wins, before hitting a winner in the last minute of extra-time against Portugal in the final four, sealing a 3-2 victory in Marseille.

That set up a final against Spain, with Platini scoring his ninth goal of the tournament to give France the lead before Bruno Bellone secured a 2-0 win in the last minute at the Parc des Princes.

Sixteen years later they headed to the Euro 2000 tournament in Belgium and Netherlands having won their home World Cup two years prior. They started well enough, beating Denmark 3-0 and Czech Republic 2-1 in their first two group games, but Les Bleus were beaten 3-2 by Netherlands in their final game, meaning they finished second in Group D.

A 2-1 win over Spain in the quarter-finals set up a tense semi-final against Portugal, but Zinedine Zidane’s extra-time penalty won it via the golden goal rule after Thierry Henry had equalised Nuno Gomes’ opener in normal time.

France were rescued in the final by a stoppage-time leveller from Sylvain Wiltord after Marco Delvecchio had put Italy ahead, and it was another golden goal, this time from David Trezeguet, that earned them the trophy.

Portugal – 1

The 2016 tournament in France was the first to involve 24 teams, which meant those who finished third in their group still had a chance to qualify for the knockout stage. That was just as well for Portugal, who didn’t win a single game in Group F, but did eventually go on to win the whole thing.

After drawing with each of Iceland, Austria and Hungary, Portugal edged past Croatia in the last 16 after Ricardo Quaresma’s extra-time winner in Lens. A penalty-shootout victory followed against Poland in the quarter-finals, before Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani scored against Wales to seal a 2-0 win and a place in the final against hosts France.

A tense game in Saint-Denis was decided in extra-time as Eder’s shot from range found the corner of the net and gave A Seleção das Quinas their first ever major trophy.

France v Portugal xG race

Greece – 1

Portugal will wonder how it took them that long to win a European Championship after their own home tournament in 2004 seemed perfectly set up for them to succeed. Unfortunately for them, there was quite the underdog story cooking.

The opening game was a sign of things to come as Portugal were beaten 2-1 by Greece, though Otto Rehhagel’s side only picked up one more point in their next two games as they drew 1-1 with Spain and lost 2-1 to Russia. They still went through in second place behind the hosts, though, and shocked the world when they knocked out reigning champions France in the quarter-finals 1-0 thanks to a goal from Angelos Charisteas.

Traianos Dellas scored an extra-time silver-goal winner against Czech Republic in the semi-finals, causing Euro 2004 to go full circle, with the final a repeat of the opener as Greece faced Portugal. Surely it would be different this time?

Well, no; Charisteas headed home a 57th-minute winner as a resolute Greece defended brilliantly to win their first major trophy against all odds.

Denmark – 1

Another shock victory came in 1992 when Denmark won the last of the eight-team iterations of the European Championship. Just to make their success unlikelier still, they didn’t initially even qualify for the tournament in Sweden, finishing behind Yugoslavia in Group 4, only for the breakup of the country of Yugoslavia to allow the Danes to take the final place.

They also came second in their group at the tournament, taking just one point from their first two games after drawing 0-0 with England and losing 1-0 to hosts Sweden. A 2-1 victory over France in their final group game took them through, though, where they faced Netherlands. After a 2-2 draw, Denmark beat the Dutch on penalties, setting up a clash with Germany in the final.

Against all odds, they beat the Germans 2-0 thanks to goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort.

Denmark Euro 92 trophy celebration

Czechoslovakia – 1

After qualifying for the 1976 European Football Championship by beating the Soviet Union 4-2, Czechoslovakia came out on top of the four-team tournament in which every game went to extra-time.

Czechoslovakia and Netherlands were deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes in their semi-final, before Zdeněk Nehoda and František Veselý scored to send their country to the final, where they would face West Germany.

Ján Švehlík and Karol Dobiaš put Czechoslovakia 2-0 up, before Dieter Müller pulled one back and Bernd Hölzenbein scored a last-minute equaliser to send the final to extra-time, and eventually penalties.

Czechoslovakia’s penalty-shootout victory included the famous spot-kick from Antonín Panenka, after whom the technique of fooling a goalkeeper by chipping a penalty down the middle of the goal was named.

Soviet Union – 1

Winners of the inaugural competition in 1960, the Soviet Union went all the way in what was then called the European Nations’ Cup in France.

After Spain refused to travel to the Soviet Union for political reasons, the latter were awarded a bye to the tournament semi-finals, where they played Czechoslovakia, winning 3-0 in Marseille thanks to two goals from Valentin Ivanov and another from Viktor Ponedelnik.

That set up a final with Yugoslavia, which went to extra-time after a 1-1 score in normal time in Paris. Ponedelnik hit the winner with seven minutes left of extra-time to secure the trophy for the Soviets.

List of European Championship Winners by Tournament:

  • 1960 – Soviet Union (4 teams participated)
  • 1964 – Spain (4 teams)
  • 1968 – Italy (4 teams)
  • 1972 – West Germany (4 teams)
  • 1976 – Czechoslovakia (4 teams)
  • 1980 – West Germany (8 teams)
  • 1984 – France (8 teams)
  • 1988 – Netherlands (8 teams)
  • 1992 – Denmark (8 teams)
  • 1996 – Germany (16 teams)
  • 2000 – France (16 teams)
  • 2004 – Greece (16 teams)
  • 2008 – Spain (16 teams)
  • 2012 – Spain (16 teams)
  • 2016 – Portugal (24 teams)
  • 2020 – Italy (24 teams)
  • 2024 – Spain (24 teams)

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