Youri Djorkaeff and Patrick Vieira celebrate winning the Euro 2000 final in Rotterdam
Youri Djorkaeff and Patrick Vieira celebrate winning the Euro 2000 final in Rotterdam

Throughout Euro 2020, we have been looking back at classic games from previous tournaments. Today's featured clash is France’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Italy in the Euro 2000 final.

Euros to remember

Euro 2000 was everything a football fan could want from an international tournament.

There were spectacular goals, breathtaking performances and ties that will long live in the memory, making for a truly sensational summer across Belgium and the Netherlands.

Both finalists reached the tournament’s showpiece the hard way after having to endure extra-time in their respective semi-finals.

Italy defeated the Netherlands on penalties, while France were victorious over Portugal thanks to a late Zinedine Zidane goal.

Italy take the lead

The final got off to a frantic start, with both nations nearly getting the opening goal within the first 15 minutes.

Thierry Henry saw an effort strike the post and Demetrio Albertini curled a free-kick just inches over the bar.

The game settled down for the remainder of the first half but did not take long to come back to life in the second.

In the 55th minute, Gianluca Pessotto broke down the right and picked out Marco Delvecchio, who calmly fired home to give Italy the lead.

Luigi Di Biagio and Francesco Totti congratulate Marco Delvecchio after his opening goal
Luigi Di Biagio and Francesco Totti congratulate Marco Delvecchio after his opening goal

Injury-time despair

Dino Zoff’s side very nearly doubled their advantage as Alessandro Del Piero broke through on goal but the striker dragged his shot wide.

France, meanwhile, continued to search for the equaliser but were finding it a struggle to break down the Azzurri, with Henry going close once again.

The Italians seemed to have one hand on the trophy as the game entered added time but Sylvain Wiltord had other ideas — finding space in the penalty area and drilling a shot past Francesco Toldo to force the tie into extra-time.

Terrific Trezeguet

France lift the European Championship trophy after David Trezeguet's golden goal
France lift the European Championship trophy after David Trezeguet's golden goal

France, full of confidence after their late equaliser, began extra-time on the front foot. Wave after wave of attacks flooded Toldo’s area as the team in blue probed for the golden goal.

And Roger Lemerre’s side soon got their reward. 

Robert Pires weaved his way down the left before pulling the ball back to David Trezeguet. The substitute then proceeded to slam the ball into the roof of the net, triggering wild celebrations for Les Bleus.

The only way is down

History was made in Rotterdam. France had become the first nation to win the European Championship as world champions.

For most, there was belief that this result was the start of an international football dynasty. All but one person, that is — France captain Didier Deschamps, who now manages the national side. 

He said: "It’s never going to get better than this."

And he was right. Les Bleus crashed out of the 2002 World Cup at the group stage, losing to both Senegal and Denmark en route to an early exit. 

Remarkably, it would be 2018 before they would reach football's pinnacle once again.

Tags

FranceItalyEuropean Championship

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