Top 5 teams that haven't won the UEFA European Championship
The UEFA European Championship is all set for its 15th edition which will be held in France next summer. The European Championship has always had its ...
The UEFA European Championship is all set for its 15th edition which will be held in France next summer. The European Championship has always had its fair share of shocks and upsets since its inaugural edition. However, over the years, the Euros have also seen some of the greatest teams of their generation failing to lift the coveted Henri-Delaunay Trophy.Here are the top 5 nations who have not won the UEFA European Championship despite fielding some of the greatest players in the world:
#1 Czech Republic, 2004
The Czech Republic team produced one of the upsets of Euro 96 by making it to the finals after defeating the likes of Italy, Portugal and France. However the Czechs couldn’t repeat that same form in Euro 2000 and were eliminated in the first round after losses to France and the Netherlands.
A new era of Czech football dawned in after their failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. This new era consisted of settled star players in top european clubs such with the likes of Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky, Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros, Vladimir Smicer, Jan Koller and Tomas Galasek along with a talented young goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The team had a good run of form in 2002 and 2003 with captain Pavel Nedved winning the European Footballer of the Year. The team qualified easily for Euro 2004 but were put in a tough group comprising of Germany and Netherlands. The Czechs began their campaign with a 2-1 win over underdogs Latvia. In their next match against the Netherlands, the Czechs were 2-0 down in the first 20 minutes. The Czechs staged a remarkable comeback with goals from Koller, Baros and Smicer to win 3-2 and it ensured their ticket to the quarter-finals.
In their final group game, the Czechs beat Germany 2-1 to win their group. In the quarter-finals, the Czechs comfortably defeated Denmark 3-0 to make it to their second Euro semi-final where they faced another surprise package Greece. At this stage, the Czechs were favoured to win the Championship. The semi final began with Tomas Rosicky hitting the post early and their talismanic midfielder Nedved leaving the pitch injured at the end of halftime. Later on Jan Koller had his shots saved by Greek goalie Antonio Nikopolidis.
The match finished goalless in the first 90 minutes and Greece won the match 1-0 in extra time with what remains to be the only silver goal in history scored by defender Traianos Dellas. Greece would go on to win the tournament. The Czechs had a great tournament with Milan Baros winning the Golden Boot for being the top goalscorer and Nedved, Baros and Cech were included in the all-star team.
Despite these achievements, the members of that squad would always remember that year as the best chance Czech Republic had to win the Euro after 1996.