Which goal was the best of the Euro 2012 group stage?

IAmZlatan (Getty Images)

The Euro 2012 group stage is in the books, and Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, England and France are the eight teams left standing prior to Thursday's opening match of the quarterfinals.

Before looking ahead to the remaining teams, though, there were a number of individual moments that stood out during what was a memorable group stage that deserve another look. Three goals, in particular, commanded more headlines than most.

Danny Welbeck's back-heel flick to cap England's comeback victory against Sweden, Mario Balotelli's overhead volley with his back to the goal to seal Italy's victory over Ireland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic's flying side volley against France all had the wow factor that brought the fans in Poland and Ukraine and those watching around the world to their feet.

Which of the three goals do you think was the best one during the Euro 2012 group stage? Take a look at our three nominees and cast your vote after the jump:







How did you vote? Which goal do you think was the best of the Euro 2012 group stage? Was there any goal that was not one of these three that caught your attention the most?

Share your thoughts below.

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56 Responses to Which goal was the best of the Euro 2012 group stage?

  1. B 16 says:

    Balotelli for sure-wonder strike after shedding a cardable offense by a defender.

  2. RK says:

    Welbeck’s was a bit lucky, but the best I’ve seen so far.

  3. THomas says:

    They’re all phenomenal in their own right. But I vote for Ibra, just watch it. He’s remarkable. Why haven’t Man City grabbed him yet?

  4. KevDC says:

    I really dislike Balotelli…but I gotta give him props for that goal. Amazing.

  5. Tim Crawford says:

    I would have Blaszczykowski over Balotelli for 3 though . . .

  6. wiger toods says:

    OT: Has anyone else noticed a recent increase in pop up ads from this site? Very annoying.

    Ives, please look into this. You run a great site, but hopefully you are not so desperate to irritate all your loyal readers.

  7. hogatroge says:

    Yeah… definite snub. Shot was from a ridiculous angle.

  8. hogatroge says:

    Get a pop up blocker and problem solved.

  9. elgringorico says:

    Ibra’s is a far better strike from further out.

  10. The innocent bystander says:

    Ibra no questions asked. Anyone else votes differently, u guys don’t know about the game.

  11. Stephen says:

    All were amazing, but to me it’s Welbeck. The guy is running, as the ball is played in he spins and hits an accurate shot with his back heel as the ball passes by. Subtle body control and then the ability to actually get his heel on the ball. Crazy good.

  12. THomas says:

    Would you rather pay for a subscription?

  13. THomas says:

    Are you serious? I agree on Ibra’s goal being the best but just because somebody prefers Welbeck’s doesn’t mean they ‘don’t know about the game’

  14. T says:

    Just wait…

  15. David says:

    I’d have to say that the goal Fabregas scored against Ireland was pretty damn special.

  16. uksubs says:


  17. elgringorico says:

    Is your life so hard that you can’t hit an “X” ? Jesus christ.

  18. Brad says:


  19. JayMah says:

    Balotelli’s got my vote – has a defender holding him and his back to goal and he managed to get that much power on that shot.
    Ibra’s for strike beauty.
    Welbeck had some luck to it.

  20. TheFrenchOne says:

    as much as it breaks my heart, ibra …

  21. RNG says:

    Got to be Balotelli. He’s getting mugged as he makes that shot. Ibra’s is a tougher shot, but he’s not being thrown to the ground…

  22. marco says:

    The one that was disallowed was quite good.

  23. Gnarls says:

    Ibra for sure. Welbeck’s was nice, but lucky.

  24. Mike in Missouri says:

    Not Balotelli or Ibra just out of principal.

    Has to be Welbeck.

  25. Mario says:

    You’re pretty damn special.

  26. Josh says:

    My faves in order:
    1. Ibra
    2a. Welbeck
    2b. Balotelli
    3. Blaszczykowski

    Ibra’s is really something else, and the slo-mo replay gives a wonderful sense of the acrobatic poetry of the shot. Phenomenal technique. I suppose that’s why people put up with all the other baggage that comes w/Ibra.

    The other three goals are fantastic, too, but for a 6’5″ man to turn his hips and body and generate that kind of force shows what a special talent Ibra is.

  27. obxfly says:

    would have liked to hear what Balotelli’s team mates where saying to him after his goal. one of them covers up his mouth and two others come over and calm him down.

  28. Thor's Hammer says:

    Ibra had a few shots saved that were absolute cannons. He probably is the purest striker of the ball and hits it with the most power. He had one late in the England game that look like it was going to go right through Joe Hart.

  29. al17 says:

    The goal that got Greece into the Knockout Round is the best Goal of the tourney. None of the others had such a BIG impact for their team.

  30. fenel1 says:

    Welbeck hands down! Balotelli and Ibrahimovic had more time to watch the ball it comes from outside the box.

  31. Brain Guy says:

    I voted for Welbeck, but Ibra’s was a stunner, especially in a tournament where it seemed like 95% of all shots from any distance were getting skied over the bar.

  32. Raymon says:

    What about Gerrard-Carroll vs. Sweden? Textbook service from the MF, textbook finishing with power and direction.

  33. it's easier than whining says:


  34. PD says:

    actually wiger may have no limbs… we just don’t know.

  35. KenC says:

    Ibra’s was from over twice the distance as Balotelli’s. No contest.

  36. abc says:

    You admitted that every aspect of it was “textbook” so how can it possibly be considred the best goal?

  37. abc says:

    So by that logic every goal that wins the game in the next round will be ahead of that Greece goal? And the round after that, until the finals? Iniesta’s was the best goal from the World Cup?

    It’s “best goal” not “most important goal.”

  38. abc says:

    Just another know-it-all internet tough guy…

  39. abc says:

    You might as well say “I cannot objectively asses the quality of these goals”…

  40. RB says:

    Shame for him that Ibra then outdid him the next day.

  41. Alex says:

    Its kind of like saying “the most impressive goal” than saying the “most improtant” goal. To add to what abc is trying to say

  42. Raymon says:

    the degree of difficulty, combined with the perfect execution

    Ibra’s goal was a textbook volley, and so was Ballotelli’s overhead kick, but they are fantastic because they were executed perfectly.

    There’s not textbook for Wellbeck’s creative heel flick.

    I’m not hating on anyone, just pointing out that Gerrard and Carroll delivered a stunning goal, when expectations were low.

  43. HoboMike says:

    Ibra is 17 yards away and is HORIZONTAL when he hits it. All other arguments are invalid.

  44. Kyle says:

    None of those… did you see Gomez’s roulette against the Dutch?

  45. The Second Gunman on the Grassy Knoll says:

    Personally, I’m going with Zlatan on this one. Each are special in their own right, but the sheer joy I get from watching Ibra’s strike tells me everything I need to know. For those few seconds, it’s like watching everything that’s good and pure about this game.

  46. HoboMike says:

    He brought up his hand and started to point to his wrist. It sure looked like he was about to tell off Prandelli for waiting so long to bring him in. What a mental case.

    Great job by his teammates to quiet him, though. Italy needs him, and he may have been banned from the team if he went overboard to the manager (and when does he not go overboard?).

  47. With the form of the teams, added to the number of extra days the big teams have to rest before the next match, divided by the nature of football, could mean we may well see a Czech v France and England v Greece semi rather then the Spain v Portugal and Germany v Italy that logically should come out of this round of matches, and it’s in this impossible maths that makes football the beautiful game noeasyfootballblogsatthislevel.blogspot.co.uk/

  48. still workin it says:

    Who may have no limbs…

  49. pd says:

    I get the feeling everyone voting Ibra is doing so out of fear he will come and find them if they vote otherwise…

  50. PD says:

    Plus the slo-mo makes it look like a beer commercial… If Carroll were in a bikini. And a girl. And climbing out of a pool.

  51. Stephen says:

    I’m confused why “Welbeck had some luck to it”? They all had some luck to them.

  52. PD says:

    Semis = Spain v Portugal and Germany v whoever is gonna lose to Germany. I could see this surprisingly cohesive Portugal side stealing it from Spain, but France is too unsteady in the back and cannot out-possess Spain. It would be exciting to see Portugal make it to the final, but either way Germany wins. This coming from a guy who’s bracket it already shot to h€ll.

  53. Raymon says:

    I noticed you didnt say “and had a beer”, which is an afterthought in those ads.

    Am I the only one who thinks his sweaty mane is disgusting?

  54. Rick says:

    Voted Zlatan on aesthetic/acrobatic grounds, without taking into account the goal’s effect on the scorer’s team’s fortunes. If you add clutch value into the equation, that puts Welbeck over the top.

  55. GW says:

    “Which of the three goals do you think was the best one during the Euro 2012 group stage? Take a look at our three nominees and cast your vote after the jump:”

    First of all the greek goal is not one of the three nominees so al17 is out of order.

    Second of all “best” is vague and covers a lot of ground.Ives is not specific as to what he means by “best”. It could be degree of difficulty, it could be the most important one, it could be the most entertaining.

    In terms of degree of difficulty it would be Ibra’s just keeping the ball on target.

    Balotelli’s was the most entertaining because of O’Shea’s attempts at undressing him.

    Wellbeck’s was the most important since his game was still in doubt.

    Sweden was already out and Italy were leading 1-0 when Balotelli scored at the last second.

  56. gotim says: