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Top 5 Most Shocking Controversies in UEFA Euro History

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Football is a game that has all the emotions of the fans and the players attached to it sometimes bring out aggression, passion, and fights among the players. Over the years, there have been so many crazy moments in football history that got people really fired up. From bad referee calls to controversial decisions off the field, these incidents sparked major debates among players, fans, and officials. Such incidents have got a major boost in the EURO Cup where the players have got intense battles and this is what makes this sport even more beautiful and amazing to watch. As we move to the 17th edition of the EURO Cup, let’s first look at some of the most controversial moments of the game that have sparked debates among the fans.

1. Andres Iniesta’s Offside Goal Against Croatia

Read details of Andres Iniesta’s offside goal against Croatia.

If you are an avid football fan and have been following the sport for a long time, then you know that the most controversial moment of the EURO Cup came in 2012 during the match between Spain and Croatia. During the Group Stage match Ah yes, who could forget that crazy moment back in 2012 between Spain and Croatia? It was a real nail-biter of a match that had everyone losing their minds over a single play. With just minutes left on the clock, Spain was leading and looking to kill off the game. That’s when Cesc Fabregas slid a cheeky little pass through to his teammate Andres Iniesta. But the real question that came up was whether Iniesta was offside or not.  


The Croatian players absolutely lost it, screaming at the referee that Iniesta was way offside when the ball was played. Their coach Slaven Bilic was going berserk on the sidelines, flailing his arms all over the place. You could tell they were convinced it should have been ruled out. So everyone’s eyes went straight to the replay to try and settle it once and for all. But even after watching it a million times from every angle, people still couldn’t agree! Some thought Iniesta was level, others reckoned he was a step too far. With no fancy video review system back in those days, the official original decision stood. And Spain was awarded the goal, eventually winning the contest against Croatia.

2. Spain Was not Allowed to Play Against the Soviet Union

Spain did not participate in the Euro Cup in 1960.

It has always been said that Politics and Sports should not be mixed but it wasn’t the case in the 1960 EURO Cup. It all went down because of the intense rivalry between the West and the Communist East during the Cold War times. Spain was supposed to play the Soviet Union in the quarter-finals, but the country’s leader Francisco Franco didn’t make it. Franco was a hardcore anti-communist guy who flat-out refused to even recognize the Soviet Union as a real place. 

His government banned the match from happening on Spanish soil because they didn’t want to associate with those Communist fellas in any way. So what did this mean? Well, Spain got kicked out of the whole tournament on orders from Franco’s administration. Just like that, the Soviet team advanced to the semis without even playing that quarter-final game against Spain. In the end, the Soviet squad made it all the way to the final in Paris where they beat Yugoslavia 2-1 to become the first-ever European champions.

3. England Fans Booing Denmark’s National Anthem

Disrespectful behavior by England fans towards the Danish team.

England fans have always been under the radar because of their over-confidence, arrogance, and disrespect for the opponents on the field. One such incident came up during the match between England and Denmark as both teams were playing at the Wembley Stadium during the EURO 2020 Semi-Finals. When the Danish national anthem was playing, instead of staying quiet and respectful as they should’ve, a bunch of English fans decided to boo and jeer at their opponents. Yep, they straight-up disrespected the Danes right from the get-go. Needless to say, this did not go over well at all. 

People inside the stadium, media folks, and fans watching from home were absolutely appalled by this unsportsmanlike behaviour. They slammed the booers, calling their actions “disgraceful” and totally against what sports is all about. You see, at big international events like this, sports are meant to bring people together and celebrate the athletes’ hard work in a respectful, unified way. Booing an opponent’s national anthem is basically giving a big middle finger to all that.

4. When the EURO Cup Got Match-Fixing Allegations

Learn more information about the allegations of match-fixing at Euro Cup.

Accusations of match-fixing can severely damage the integrity and reputation of any sport and it was a moment during the 2004 EURO tournament in a match between Sweden and Denmark. It was a match where Italy needed a result to qualify for the knockout stage while on the other hand, Sweden and Denmark needed a 202 draw in the match to qualify for the next stage. As soon as the 2-2 scoreline happened in the match, with Sweden coming from behind twice to equalise against Denmark, the Italian fans and media lost their minds. They were dead certain those two teams had cooked up this “perfect” draw beforehand behind closed doors. 

Especially that late Swedish goal to make it 2-2 right at the end – that one had people really raise their eyes in suspicion. The Italians were absolutely fuming, crying foul play and accusing the game of being completely rigged from start to finish. But of course, the players, coaches, and even referees from both sides swore up and down it was a legitimate, hard-fought match. UEFA looked into the whole thing but found zero evidence of any match-fixing nonsense going on. Still, the stench of that controversial 2-2 draw never really went away for the sour Italian fans.

5. Disqualification of Yugoslavia from the EURO Cup

Details of Yugoslavia's disqualification from the Euro tournament in 1992.

Imagine, your favourite team goes into the Qualifiers and plays well to make it to the EURO Cup 1992 but somehow the politics affect the spot of your team. Yugoslavia had a very talented football team. They were expected to do well in the upcoming European football tournament. However, there was growing violence inside Yugoslavia. This violence attracted criticism from other countries. The United Nations placed economic sanctions on Yugoslavia because of the violence. The tournament was set to begin in May 1992. Less than a month before it started, the organization in charge of European Football (UEFA) faced pressure to take action against Yugoslavia. 

There were worries about safety and security at the tournament because of the situation in Yugoslavia. There were also political concerns about having Yugoslavia compete. UEFA made the historic decision to ban the Yugoslavian team from the tournament. This was a direct result of the United Nations sanctions against Yugoslavia. UEFA’s decision was part of the broader international efforts to isolate Yugoslavia due to the conflict and human rights violations happening there. Denmark, who came second in the same qualifying group as Yugoslavia, was invited to take Yugoslavia’s place in the tournament at the last minute.


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