A feature of every European Championships tournament has been those memorable goals that will be looked back upon in decades to come. Moments like Paul Gascoigne’s stunning solo goal against Scotland at Euro 96 is a staple of every top goals countdown ever made, and you’ve probably all seen Marco Van Basten’s astounding volley in the 1988 final.
But in the same way that insanely talented moment of nostalgia is seen now, it’s akin to moments like Zlatan Ibrahimovich's outrageous scissor kick versus France in 2012, or Cristiano Ronaldo’s audacious back heel flick against Hungary in 2016. Every tournament produces its own magical moments and this year will be no different.
Bringing together Europe's most lethal hitmen for four weeks of do-or-die football guarantees we’ll experience unforgettable moments and witness some stunning strikes. Whilst there is no shortage of top class strikers at this year’s tournament, it feels a little bit like the standout six are set in stone. Each and every one of them have produced a goal tally and level of consistency that cannot be matched by those not on this list
Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
With a list of personal achievements and title wins as long as this article itself, Robert Lewandowski is often the most dangerous striker at any tournament. He’s won 12 league titles, and most of them, especially with Bayern Munich, are largely down to his goals. He’s won the Champions League among countless cup wins and was voted the best FIFA men’s player in 2020 and winner of the Golden Shoe for the 2020-21 season. Lewandowski has netted 294 in 329 games for Bayern Munich, and eclipsed Bayern legend Gerd Muller's long-standing record with 41 Bundesliga goals last term. And he’s equally as important to Poland, scoring 66 goals in 119 games. That in itself is just as impressive because Poland do not have the same level of talent to supply their top man as Bayern do, nor are they likely to dominate games in the same way. If the Poles are to go on a run this summer, Lewandowski will likely need to spearhead a few smash and grabs along the way.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to explain just how good a career Cristiano Ronaldo has had, but you already know that. He’s freakishly fit, extremely hard working, intelligent in his movement and clinical in his finishing. In a career spanning nearly 900 domestic games to date, he’s scored a phenomanal 674 goals. At the absolute peak of his powers, Ronaldo averaged more than a goal per game across eight full seasons for Real Madrid. There’s no doubt he’s adapted his game since moving to Juventus, but Ronaldo at 50% is still better than most at 100%, and he’s still netted a further 101 goals in three seasons in Italy. Regardless of what armchair spectators say, Ronaldo shows up at tournaments and he will be keen to help Portugal defend their 2016 crown.
Harry Kane (England)
The interesting thing about Harry Kane’s rise is that it just felt instant. Whereas players like Ronaldo were given the buildup from a young age, Kane went under the radar in loan spells at Leyton Orient and Millwall, before Tim Sherwood saw his potential and gave him the nod at Tottenham in April 2014. His first full Premier League season at Spurs was under Mauricio Pochettino and saw him score 31 goals in 51 games across all competitions and he hasn’t slowed down since. For the past seven seasons, Kane has single-handedly propelled Tottenham beyond their expectations given the sometimes average supporting cast, scoring between 24 and 35 goals in each of those seasons. His record for England is just as pleasing with 34 goals in 54 appearances, including three in his first year as an international player. Kane was fantastic at the World Cup to win the Golden Boot and he isn’t expected to disappoint this summer.
Karim Benzema (France)
Karim Benzema, like most on this list, is a serial winner with club and country. He’s won more than 25 trophies in his glittering career including Ligue 1, La Liga and the Champions League. Quite famously, Benzema was not a part of the France squad who won the World Cup and finished runners up at Euro 2016. That received some very public coverage and his response was to score 87 goals across the past three seasons for Real Madrid. Despite the criticism he’s received over the years, Benzema has always silenced his critics and given the chance, should be an integral part of France’s challenge to go one better.
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
All the way back in 2014, Lukaku was given recognition as being one of the most promising players in the world of football. It’s safe to say that he hasn’t disappointed since. His perfect combination of speed and strength has allowed him to batter his way through defences, but he isn’t without finesse. The big man scores all sorts of goals and brute force alone doesn’t lead to 251 goals in 508 outings. After standing out at Everton, he was just as clinical for Manchester United, but the past two seasons at Inter have been his best. Lukaku was prolific in the group stages of the last World Cup and has scored 60 international goals in 93 games to date and he’ll be crucial to any chances that Belgium have of success.
Ciro Immobile (Italy)
Having plied his trade almost exclusively in Italy, Ciro Immobile gets less recognition than he should. There’s a lot more to his game than goalscoring- for example, his exceptional movement and often unselfish play, but he is prolific and domestically, Immobile has been scoring for fun for nearly 10 years now. He’s become more consistent in his goalscoring in recent years, netting 150 times across the past five seasons. In that time, he’s assisted a further 37 times, making him directly involved in 187 goals in his last 219 games. The one question mark hanging over him is can he do it at the very highest level. Whilst he has been involved in 17 goals in 46 appearances, he’s still yet to do it at a major tournament. What better time than his final European Championship?.