European Championships: England's Best Euros Results

Betting on England to win Euro 2024 is not an easy decision. After all, the Three Lions really don’t have a good record in this competition. Millions of fans remember the incredible summer of 1996 when England lost in the semi-finals to Germany. A new generation watched on in 2021 as Gareth Southgate’s side were five penalties away from glory in the final.

However, many of us will also remember the decades of misery at successive European Championships, including the 12-year spell in the 1970s and ‘80s where they missed out on three of four tournaments.

Saying that, there have been some bright moments down the years too. Below are six of the best England European Championships results, which even includes a draw.

Scotland 0-2 England | Euro '96 group stage

The country didn’t really seem bothered about England staging the 1996 Euros until Paul Gascoigne ran riot against Scotland. Alan Shearer scored the opener at Wembley before Gazza lit up the stadium with his dazzling flick and finish past Andy Goram.

Suddenly everyone was talking about football. “Three Lions” played on the radio hourly and supporters, remembering the hurt of the 1990 World Cup, began to believe again.

The win over Scotland was a watermark moment for England in European Championships action that summer. It was arguably their best-ever Euros result up to that point and changed how the country viewed the team.

Netherlands 1-4 England | Euro '96 group stage

England finished the Euro ‘96 group stage top of Group A and suddenly the bookies’ favourites for the tournament after they thumped Netherlands 4-1. England led at the break through a Shearer penalty but it was a three-goal flurry in 11 second-half minutes that truly got the fans dancing in the stands.

Teddy Sheringham’s bullet header from a corner gave England a two-goal cushion. He then set up Shearer for a thumping third, before scrambling to convert a Darren Anderton rebound for 4-0. The Dutch clawed a goal back but it was all over by that point.

England celebrated hard after the victory and then edged Spain 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals to set up another semi-final clash with Germany. That’s as far as the road went for Terry Venables’ side.

Croatia 2-4 England | Euro 2004 group stage

England's dramatic loss to France in their opening match of Euro 2004 meant they needed to beat both Switzerland and Croatia to guarantee safe passage from Group B. They thrashed the Swiss 3-0 but knew a defeat to Croatia would dump them out of the tournament.

Sven-Goran Eriksson fielded what many believe was the start of England's 'Golden Generation'. It featured a midfield of Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham, a forward duo of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, and a back-four of Gary Neville, John Terry, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole.

Naturally, with so much hype around this team, they conceded after just five minutes. Cue a hard slog in the first half which resulted in England turning the game thanks to Scholes and Rooney efforts. Rooney bagged another after the break and Lampard made it four just minutes after Igor Tudor had given Croatia hope.

What was impressive about the display was England appeared unshaken by the early goal. They stuck to their task and got the three points. Unfortunately that mettle didn't last long, as they crashed out to Portugal on penalties in the quarter-finals.

France 1-1 England | Euro 2012 group stage

One of England’s best European Championships results wasn’t even a win. Roy Hodgson took over from Fabio Capello as England manager on 14 May 2012. Less than a month later he was in charge of a team facing France in Donetsk.

France should have wiped the floor with England but laboured against a well-drilled unit. John Terry commanded the defence with Ashley Cole adding experience, while Steven Gerrard sought to control the midfield. Ashley Young played in the No.10 role off Danny Welbeck.

France, meanwhile, had the likes of Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri and Patrice Vera in their XI. They were sure to win.

But England dug deep. Joleon Lescott scored on the half-hour mark to spark hope of a remarkable victory. Nasri found the leveller but England withstood 14 shots on target to force a draw. It was a heroic effort from a lacklustre team that were exposed in the quarter-finals when they limped out to Italy on penalties.

England 2-0 Germany | Euro 2020 last-16

England had only twice landed significant blows on Germany before these sides met in the Euro 2020 last-16 at Wembley. One of those blows was the 4-2 World Cup final win back in 1966, the other a 5-1 friendly victory in 2001 that most Germans have forgotten about.

England were underdogs heading into this contest. Germany had ground through a group involving France, Portugal and Hungary, and looked primed to grow into the tournament.

It was a tense opening half but England – contrary to recent experience against other top nations – held their own. They rode their luck on occasion. Had Thomas Muller converted after Raheem Sterling's misplaced pass then England may have crashed out. As it was, Sterling and Harry Kane came up with the goals to end England’s hoodoo with the Germans.

Cue celebrations long into the night.

England 2-1 Denmark (a.e.t) | Euro 2020 semi-final

England beat Sweden 4-0 after seeing off Germany in the summer of 2021 to return to a European Championships semi-final for the first time in 25 years. Denmark – champions in 1992 – were not an easy proposition.

Kasper Hjulmand’s side had enjoyed an exceptional tournament. They thumped Wales 4-0 and beat Czech Republic 2-1 to make the semis. It was no surprise when the Danes led through Mikkel Damsgaard’s wicked free kick.

Past England teams would have crumbled here, but not Southgate’s men. They forced a leveller before half time via Simon Kjær’s own goal and besieged the Danish third after that.

The semi-final eventually went to extra time, where captain Kane converted a winning penalty after Sterling was felled in the box. It wasn’t a pretty game that night but England showed the grit and desire that had for so long been missing from this team.

They deserved to beat Denmark and took the lead against Italy in the final at Wembley. However, it wasn’t to be as the Italians forced a shoot-out and, of course, broke the hearts of a nation.

There we have it, despite many golden generations, England's European Championships record has left a lot to be desired but we'll never forget the feelings of Sterling's goal to break the deadlock against Germany or the despair turned jubilation as Harry Kane converted after missing his penalty against Denmark. Will England add to this list at Euro 2024? We certainly hope so.

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