Best moments of Euro 2016: Robson-Kanu’s wow factor for Wales
Excitement is building for the start of the delayed European Championship and to get us in the mood we’re taking a look at some of the best moments of Euro 2016.
Portugal made up for their 2004 loss to Greece in the final by winning the tournament for the first time and they are 9/1 to make a successful defence of their title.
There were mixed fortunes for the home nations and the Republic of Ireland, so let’s take a look at some of the highlights from France five years ago.
Wales beating Belgium
England had high hopes of going deep into the tournament but it was Wales who captured hearts far and wide with a superb run to the semi-finals in their first major tournament in 58 years.
Despite losing to England, Chris Coleman’s men topped Group B and a Gareth McAuley own goal secured a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland in the round of 16.
That was supposed to be the end of the road for the Welsh and it looked that way when Radja Nainggolan’s blistering strike gave Belgium, one of the tournament favourites, a 13th-minute lead only for Ashley Williams to level with a header from a corner.
Hal Robson-Kanu then turned on a sixpence in the second half to score THAT goal and Sam Vokes wrapped up the most famous win in Welsh history which even a 2-0 semi-final defeat to Portugal could not sour.
The ‘Viking Clap’ would have been enough to earn a place in our best moments of Euro 2016 but Iceland’s run to the quarter-finals was simply sensational for a country with a population of around 350,000 and competing in their first finals.
Iceland were runners-up in a group which saw Portugal finish in third place having drawn all their games, but they were expected to be on the next flight home with England awaiting in the round of 16.
All was going well for Roy Hodgson’s side when Wayne Roone converted a fourth-minute penalty but they failed to deal with a throw-in moments later and Joe Hart’s failure to keep out a Kolbeinn Sigthorsson shot set up Iceland’s greatest moment.
Hodgson resigned in the aftermath of England’s humiliating defeat and although Iceland were crushed by France in the quarter-finals they left the tournament with their heads held high.
The Republic had it all to do going into the last group game against Italy having taken just a point from their first two games against Sweden and Belgium.
Martin O’Neill’s men needed to repeat their stunning win against the Azzurri at the 1994 World Cup to reach the knockout stage and that was looking unlikely entering the closing stages, only for Brady to get on the end of a searching cross from Wes Hoolahan five minutes from time to spark mass celebrations from players and supporters alike.
Brady gave the Irish a second-minute lead against France from the penalty spot in the round of 16 but a quickfire second-half double from Antoine Griezmann sent the hosts into the last eight.
Zoltan Gera officially scored the best goal of the tournament with his low, long range drive to put Hungary 1-0 up against Portugal, but Dimitri Payet’s brilliant goal against Romania was surely better.
The hosts were heading for a disappointing 1-1 draw in the opening game of the tournament but the West Ham star capped a superb performance with a curling left-footed strike into the top corner a minute from time to give France a winning start.
France had beaten Germany in the last four and were favourites to win the tournament in front of their own fans and that looked even likelier when Portugal skipper Cristano Ronaldo was carried off in tears in the 25th minute of the final.
Andre-Pierre Gignac almost won it for France in normal time when he hit the inside of the post, although Raphael Guerreiro hit the bar for Portugal in extra time.
Moments later, a low, 25-yard drive from substitute Eder beat Hugo Lloris to secure the trophy for Portugal in a chaotic end to the game which saw Ronaldo barking out more instructions than head coach Fernando Santos.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication