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Dublin: 4°C Friday 14 May 2021

49 days to Euro 2012: Van Basten volleys the Netherlands to glory

Dutch legend Marco van Basten conjured a moment of magic in the 1988 final. Has a better goal ever decided a major international tournament?

THERE’S A REASON the name of Marco van Basten is synonymous with technical flair.

Well, there are a few (three European Player of the Year awards, bundles of goals for Ajax and AC Milan…), but one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

With the 1988 European Championship final between the Netherlands and former group stage opponents the USSR deadlocked at one-all and lumbering towards extra-time, the striker maneouvred himself under a speculative cross from Arnold Mühren and, without as much as a preliminary touch, drove home a volley from the right edge of the box.

Struck from the point at which reflex and intelligence intersect, the ball cleared Rinat “The Iron Curtain” Dasayev at the near post and dipped dramatically before slamming into the left side netting.

The Oranje were European champions; Van Basten was elevated to the pantheon of footballing greats.

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