Euros nostalgia: Houghton heroics and Dutch delight in 1988


Lee Gormley | May 30, 2016

Five memorable Euro 1988 moments

With Euro 2016 just around the corner, Coral are getting all nostalgic, as we look back on some of the best memories from Euro 1988, a tournament which captivated the footballing world with its drama and excitement.

A truly magical moment from the legendary Marco van Basten and Ray Houghton’s heroics for the Irish are just two of the stand-out stories from the competition which was held on German soil. So read on to relive some of those greatest European moments…

Van Basten stars in Dutch delight

Euro 1988 is fondly remembered mainly because of Van Basten’s incredible volley in the final, as his sublime strike helped the Netherlands lift their first and only major honour to date in a 2-0 final victory over the USSR.

The Dutch were magnificent throughout proceedings, with the likes of Ronald Koeman and Ruud Gullit starring within an outstanding Oranje outfit, though it was Van Basten that stole the headlines with his tournament high of five goals, capped off by that unforgettable final thunderbolt.

Danny Blind’s current Dutch crop will not be able to battle for another European success after haplessly failing to qualify for France, where it’s the hosts that are seen as 11/4 favourites with Coral to reign supreme.

Houghton heroics in Irish campaign

The Republic of Ireland took to the 1998 Euros in then West Germany with a talented roster and were guided by the charming Jack Charlton in a tournament which they enjoyed memorable moments in beating rivals England and being held by eventual runners-up the Soviet Union.

Midfielder Houghton was the man who headed in the winner against England, sending the many travelling Irish fans into hysterics, while a spectacular Ronnie Whelan volley against the USSR also added to the ecstasy, before ultimately exiting from a tough group.

Goals galore in Germany

The West Germany tournament saw plenty of remarkable strikes as the Dutch went on to lift the coveted trophy, and the standard of that particular European Championship was proved by the fact there were no goalless draws.

As well as there being an abundance of goals, the 1988 event also failed to produce a single red card, while none of the knockout stage clashes went into extra-time or penalties, a rare instance for any major international competition.

Robson’s solo strike for England

England fans will hold very few fond memories of Euro 1988, with their nation having lost all three group games against Ireland, the Netherlands and Soviet Union, though their skipper and Manchester United icon Bryan Robson produced one stand-out moment.

In the eventual 3-1 loss to a dynamic Dutch side, Robson danced through the Netherlands defence before slotting home to level the game at 1-1. A Van Basten hat-trick was the undoing of Bobby Robson’s Three Lions, as they haplessly crashed out with no points acquired and Robson’s strike just one of two overall.

Roy Hodgson will hope his present England squad will be able to avoid such a disappointing campaign, especially after their underwhelming 2014 World Cup, and the Three Lions will enter Euro 2016 at 17/2 to prevail.

Laudrup struts his stuff versus Spain

The Danes were far from impressive in the 1988 event too, though star man Michael Laudrup enjoyed some personal success as he notched up two goals on German turf, with his best being the solo strike past Spain in a 3-2 loss at the hands of La Roja.

Laudrup’s solo efforts gave Denmark some momentary joy but suffered the same fate as England in losing all three group games. They had plenty to celebrate four years later though when famously triumphing at Euro 1992, though without the help of Laudrup on that occasion after his initial retirement.


Read our extensive Euro 2016 section ahead of the big kick-off.

Have a gander through our other trivia pieces.

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