Euro 2016: 5 memorable counter-attacking teams from the past

Trevor Murray

The European Championships are well underway as the continent's best international teams vie to get their hands on the Henri Delaunay trophy.

We have already had plenty of excitement and drama on display in the early stages of the competition and Euro 2016 is really shaping up to be quite an enthralling spectacle as throngs of fans continue to party in France.

Ahead of the tournament, new Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti stated his belief that the next few weeks could be the perfect stage for some smashing counter-attacking football, and it’s difficult to argue with him. If the domestic season is any sort of a reliable measuring stick, we should see plenty of breakaway football on display.

We have witnessed some tremendous believers in that game-plan in the past, so to get us in the mood for the rest of the tournament, join us in looking back at some other teams who have taken a similar approach.

#1 Denmark (1992)


In Sweden at Euro 1992, there were just eight teams competing to win the Championship outright which is a far cry from the inflated 24-nation contest we are seeing today. A lot has changed since that competition, not least the ability of Denmark to win a major tournament, but that’s precisely what they managed nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Oddly enough, Denmark had not actually qualified for the tournament and were only admitted after war-stricken Yugoslavia were thrown out by UEFA after a culmination of criticism from various voices in the wider community. Viewed as mighty underdogs, the Danes were not expected to do much of note but wound up overcoming France, a much fancied Netherlands outfit as well as then world champions Germany in the showpiece final.

Key to their success was the talents of Peter Schmeichel, Brian Laudrup, John Jensen and Henrik Larsen but it was undoubtedly their counter-attacking ploys which saw them enjoy such dramatic success as they often broke with pace after their stubborn defence had broken down the waves of attacks which came their way. Employing a system which got almost everyone behind the ball whenever Jurgen Klinsmann and company drove forward, they frustrated in their approach.

A very defensive unit, manager Richard Moller Nielsen’s charges were not the prettiest exponents of football anyone has ever seen but they were extremely effective at what they did and it would be hard to convincingly argue that they didn’t deserve their triumph all those years ago.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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