Euro 2016: A look back at the greatest XI to have never won the Euros
Euro cup is a very prestigious event in any European soccer player’s life, and winning it makes them the happiest person in the world but what about the legends of the game who came close to winning but still could not manage to lift the beautiful trophy.
Peter Shilton – GoalkeeperLet’s start our list with one of the most important player on the field the goalkeeper. Peter Shilton is regarded as one of the greatest goal keeper of all time, and with number of records to his name like to hold the record for most number of appearances in the English national team with a total of 125 caps this legendry English player was very unfortunate to not have the euro cup in his career.
Philipp Lahm – Right-backThis German is right-footed; but he is able to play on both sides of the pitch and his brilliance can be marked by the fact that the German made UEFA team of the year 5 times in eight years in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The German captained his side when they won the World Cup, however, he has narrowly missed out on the Euros on two occasions, Once in 2008, when they lost the finals to Spain and in 2012 when Germany finished third.
Fernando Hierro – Central DefenderThe Spanish legend Fernando Hierro. His performance can be judged b the fact that he was named in the FIFA XI of the year for three years in a row from 1996-1998.But it is said that if you love something so deeply sometimes it goes far from you, and the same happened with Hierro. Hierro represented Spain in two European championships in 1996 and 2000 where on both occasions, Spain were narrowly eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Franco Baresi – Central DefenderThe Italian legend Franco Baresi although Baresi won the FIFA World Cup in 1982, the Euros somehow always seemed to elude the Italian legend. He was a semi-finalist in both 1980 and 1988, narrowly missing out on the big prize on both these occasions.
Paolo Maldini – Left-Back
Paolo is referred as one of the most complete defenders of the game. Maldini was a symbol of his club and the Italian national football team but the Italian legend came close to winning the Euros on two occasions, once in 1988 where Italy lost out in the semi-finals and once in 2000, where they lost to a very impressive France team.
Andrea Pirlo – Central MidfielderAfter all those big names here we have an Italian who missed to win euro cup after all the talent power, and technique. Pirlo is best remembered in the Euros for his stunning performance in 2012, when he almost guided the Azzurri to victory through his stunning passing and set-piece abilities. However, Pirlo’s Italy was beaten by a very strong Spain squad in the finals. Pirlo definitely deserved to win the euro cup
Johan Neeskens – Central MidfielderThe man who gave birth to total football concept, and without whom this would have been just a dream. Johan Neeskens was Holland’s one-man engine room, and he was the part of the team from 1974 to 1978 which was considered to be one of the greatest teams of all time but Neeskens and this legendary Netherlands team suffered heartbreak throughout in their international career when they finished runner-up in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups and only came third in the 1976 Euros.
Pavel Nedved – Attacking MidfielderHow can we forget to include this man in the list, Pavel Nedved one of the greatest player for the check team. He was a part of the 1996 and 2004 Euros. He played a starring role in bringing his team to the finals of the 1996 euro cup where they lost to the giant Germany in a nail biting encounter. And adding to his sorrows, he played in 2004 euro cup also where they lost to eventual champions Greece.
Luis Figo – Right WingerThis Portuguese man need no introduction when it comes to football, he is the most capped player of Portugal having made 127 appearances for the national team in a long and distinguished career. Figo came closest to winning the Euros in 2004 when it was held in Portugal, but they surprisingly lost the finals to underdogs Greece. Figo was the star of the 2004 tournament, but the greatest wingers of his generation also missed the euro cup in his career.
Johan Cruyff – Left WingerYes even the legendary Dutch player Cruyff could not make to win the euro cup in his life, the man who was the heartbeat of the legendary Netherlands squad from 1974-1976 lead his team in 1996 euro cup but came on the third spot. And he is the man who pioneered a completely new style of football and made football an absolute joy.
Alan Shearer – StrikerOne of the biggest players of his time and the man who was known for his strength, stamina, powerful shot and heading abilities, Alan Shearer was England’s star player in the 1996 Euros. England were the hosts themselves and Shearer played a key role in England’s run to the semi-final where they were eliminated on penalties to eventual champions Germany. Shearer’s impact in the 1996 Euros tournament can be seen from the fact that he finished the tournament as the Golden Boot winner and he was also named in the UEFA team of the tournament.