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England’s Best Performances at the European Championships

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England’s Best Performances at the European Championships

The European Championship trophy is the missing crown jewel in England’s international football history, with the Three Lions coming so agonisingly close to winning this competition back in 2021 at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

Ahead of Euro 2024, we have assessed England's chances of winning the competition this summer while taking a look at England’s best finishes at the European Championships since they first entered the finals of the tournament in 1968, having initially not taken part in Euro 1960, while also failing to qualify for Euro 1964.

Header logoEuro 2024 Qualifying - Group C

Team logoEngland
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Last updated 23/05/2024

Euro 2020 (2021): Runners-up

Euro 2020 was an unforgettable tournament for England, with this being the Three Lions' best performance in a major competition since their World Cup win in 1966.

Gareth Southgate’s men emerged as serious contenders to win the tournament following their impressive displays at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia which saw them finish fourth-place.

England were drawn in Group D alongside Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic, of which they managed seven points, beating both Croatia and the Czech Republic 1-0 while drawing 0-0 with Scotland at Wembley - the only game that England failed to score in during the whole competition.

However, as the tournament went on England grew stronger and stronger, as they memorably beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley Stadium thanks to goals by Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in the Round of 16, before thrashing Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter-finals and scraping past Denmark 2-1 in extra-time in the semi-finals.

Only Italy stood in England’s way and for a large part of the final, it looked as though the Three Lions were destined to achieve greatness prior to Leonardo Bonucci’s 67th-minute equaliser cancelling out Luke Shaw’s second-minute opener. But, penalties would once again be England’s undoing on the biggest of stages, leaving Three Lions’ fans dejected while thinking what could have been.

3rd Place: Euro 1968

England’s first-ever European Championship appearance back in 1968 was their previous best finish prior to Euro 2020 due to the fact that places below the winners and runners-up were decided.

This competition was held in Italy and only had four teams compete, with the other three sides being Italy, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

Despite entering this tournament as world champions following their 1966 World Cup triumph, England were beaten 1-0 by Yugoslavia in the semi-finals after Dragan Drajic scored the winning goal with just four minutes to go.

However, Sir Alf Ramsay’s side ended their tournament in style with a 2-0 victory over the Soviet Union thanks to goals by Sir Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt to confirm a third-place finish.

Semi-finals: Euro 1996

Heading into Euro 1996, England's national team were going through a rough patch, as they had failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the U.S, however, this added fuel to the fire for Terry Venables’ team as they were the host nation while being driven on by a famous footballing anthem in ‘Three Lions’ by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds.

England would face the likes of Switzerland, Scotland and the Netherlands in Group A and would pass the test with flying colours. The Three Lions only managed a 1-1 draw with Switzerland on matchday one, but, earned crucial 2-0 and 4-1 victories over Scotland and Holland with the most iconic moment being Paul Gascoigne’s sensational volley and ‘Dentist Chair’ celebration past the former.

Spain would be England’s opposition in the quarter-finals, but, the Spanish were beaten on penalties following a 0-0 draw, with Alan Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pierce and Gascoigne all converting from the spot.

But, just like Italia 1990, England suffered a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Germany in the semi-finals, as despite initially taking an early lead through Shearer’s header after just three minutes, Stefan Kuntz quickly equalised just 13 minutes later to tie what was an intense game that would be decided via spot kicks.

With the shootout score being 6-5 to Germany and in sudden death, Southgate simply had to score otherwise England were out. The then Aston Villa defender saw his penalty saved by Andreas Kopke, ending England’s Euro 1996 dream.

How Will England Fare at Euro 2024?

Bookmakers such as SkyBet have England priced at 10/3 to win Euro 2024, making the Three Lions slight favourites ahead of France who are 7/2 odds to win the competition.

England will be determined to go one better than they did at the last European Championships and have been drawn to face the likes of Slovenia, Denmark and Serbia in Group C of Euro 2024 and have been projected to face the likes of Austria, Romania or Turkey in the Round of 16, as well as Italy in the quarter-finals, France in the semi-finals and Spain in the final should all of the favourites win their groups and knockout ties.

Euro 2024 Outright Winners Odds

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England to win Euro 2024 @ 10/3

England's Euro 2024 Group Stage Dates

England's games in Group C will be played on the following dates:

Sunday 16th June, 8 pm: Serbia vs England

Thursday 20th June, 5 pm: Denmark vs England

Tuesday 25th June, 8 pm: England vs Slovenia

England's first game of Euro 2024 against Serbia takes place at the VELTINS Arena, which is home of 2. Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 and memorably held the 2004 Champions League final between AS Monaco and FC Porto.

Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt will host Denmark versus England on Thursday 20th June. The Three Lions played at the home of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2006 FIFA World Cup as they beat Paraguay 1-0 via a Carlos Gamarra own goal.

Gareth Southgate's men will travel to Cologne for their final group stage game where they'll take on Slovenia at the RheinEnergieStadion on the 25th of June. This venue hosted the 2020 Europa League final between Sevilla and Inter Milan.

England's Finishes at the European Championships

Euro 1960: Did Not Enter

Euro 1964: Did Not Qualify

Euro 1968: Third-Place

Euro 1972: Did Not Qualify

Euro 1976: Did Not Qualify

Euro 1980: Group Stage (6th)

Euro 1984: Did Not Qualify

Euro 1988: Group Stage (7th)

Euro 1992: Group Stage (7th)

Euro 1996: Semi-Finals

Euro 2000: Group Stage (11th)

Euro 2004: Quarter-Finals

Euro 2008: Did Not Qualify

Euro 2012: Quarter-Finals

Euro 2016: Round of 16

Euro 2020: Runners-Up