The top knockout goalscorers in European Championship history: Cristiano Ronaldo surprisingly absent…

Cristiano Ronaldo is miles ahead as the all-time top goalscorer in the history of the European Championships, having scored 14 Euros goals, but he’s surprisingly absent from the list of top knockout goalscorers with the vast majority of his total tally coming in the group stage.

The Portugal icon has famously never scored a World Cup knockout goal, so just three of his total 14 goals were scored in knockout matches – one in the semis against the Netherlands in 2004, one in the quarters against the Czech Republic in 2012 and one in the semis against Wales in 2016.

That relatively fallow return on the international stage stands in stark contrast to his status as the king of the Champions League knockout stages with an unbelievable 67 goals – only six fewer than he scored in the group stages.

Ronaldo only needs one knockout goal at Euro 2024 to make this list, however, while just three could see him move outright as the top knockout goalscorer in Euros history.

We could potentially see things inverted this year, given he failed to score in the group stage, while at Euro 2020 he won the Golden Boot after five group-stage goals before going home at the Round of 16 stage.

Michel Platini, who has the second-most goals in Euros history with nine, is also surprisingly absent from the knockout scorers list. All nine were scored at Euro 1984 en route to France winning it on home soil, including one apiece in the semi-finals and final.

So who makes the list? Here are the six players in European Championships history to have scored four or more knockout goals.

=2. Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia) – 4 

Kicking things off with a frankly sensational name. You want your national hero goalscorers to have alliterative names that sound like Bond villains. But ask your grandad and he’ll regale you with tales of one of the best players of his era.

The legendary Red Star Belgrade winger, who is currently president of the Serbian FA, is considered one of the all-time greats of the former Yugoslavia.

He featured for his country in the 1968 and 1976 tournaments, reaching the final in the former as they finished runners-up to hosts Italy.

Dzajic won the Golden Boot in ’68, reaching the Ballon d’Or podium that year, having scored the match-winner against World Cup holders England in the semi-final before opening the scoring in the final against Italy, with a 1-1 draw taking things to a replay defeat.

He was once again named in the Team of the Tournament eight years later, having scored against both West Germany and the Netherlands as Yugoslavia finished fourth of four teams on their own patch.

We’d question whether a third-fourth play-off counts as a proper knockout game, but who are we to argue with UEFA?

=2. Harry Kane (England) – 4 

Now England’s all-time top goalscorer, Kane failed to score when he made his major tournament debut at Euro 2016 in France – when he was infamously stuck taking corners as Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions suffered a shock defeat to Iceland at the Round of 16 stage.

Things picked up considerably since that Nadir, with Kane growing into his role as captain as England have enjoyed their best run of tournament performance since 1966.

He actually failed to score in the group stage at Euro 2020, with Raheem Sterling the only scorer in a set of stodgy, unconvincing games (sound familiar?).

The Tottenham great came alive come the knockouts, scoring against Germany, Ukraine (twice) and Denmark en route to the Wembley final, where England succumbed to penalty shootout heartbreak against Italy.

A good omen for a repeat in 2024? Could England even go one better?

Top International Goalscorers in European Football history including Robbie Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerd Muller

READ: The top 10 international goalscorers in European football history: Cristiano Ronaldo streets ahead…

=2. Gerd Muller (West Germany) – 4 

The Golden Boot winner and the only player to score more than once when West Germany won the four-team Euro 1972 in Belgium. He scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over the hosts in the semis and bagged another brace in a 3-0 victory over the Soviet Union in the final.

The only man in history to score in a World Cup final, a European Championship final and a European Cup final.

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=2. Dieter Muller (West Germany) – 4 

West Germany failed to retain the Euros in ’76, losing the final on penalties, but they did once again have a Muller up top that claimed the Golden Boot with four goals.

FC Koln legend Dieter Muller scored a hat-trick in the semi-finals against hosts Yugoslavia after the aforementioned Dzajic opened the scoring, notching late on to equalise before adding a couple more in extra-time.

Surprisingly enough that’s the only knockout hat-trick in the entire history of the European Championships.

He then scored in the final, a 2-2 draw with Czechoslovakia, but didn’t step up in the penalty shootout – the first in Euros history – in which Czech midfielder Antonin Panenka wrote his name into footballing folklore.

=2. Nuno Gomes (Portugal) – 4 

Former Boavista, Benfica, Braga and Blackburn (unfortunately he ruined the alliteration with a stint at Fiorentina) striker Nuno Gomes doesn’t quite have the same standing in football as Ronaldo but he does have more European Championship knockout goals for Portugal.

In just his fourth international start, Gomes scored Portugal’s match-winner as they came from two goals down to beat England 3-2 in their opening match at Euro 2000, setting the tone for a great tournament.

At Euro 2000, he went on to score both goals in the 2-0 quarter-final victory over Turkey and put Portugal ahead early doors against France in the semis, before they eventually succumbed to a 2-1 extra-time golden goal defeat to the eventual winners.

Gomes failed to score a knockout goal when Portugal reached the final as hosts in 2004, although he did grab the vital match-winner against Spain in the final group stage match, which was a must-win match and effectively a knockout.

In Euro 2008, he got his fourth Euros knockout goal with a consolation in a 3-2 quarter-final defeat to Germany.

1. Antoine Griezmann (France) – 5

Ronaldo won the fourth of his five Ballon d’Or in 2016, but we might be talking about Griezmann as a worthy golden ball holder were it not for very fine margins in that year’s two European finals.

It was Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Portugal that beat Griezmann’s Atletico Madrid and France, but things might have gone so differently.

Atleti lost the Champions League in a gut-wrenching penalty shootout while hosts France lost the Euros final following Ronaldo’s early injury, in which Eder – of all people – cropped up with the winner in extra-time.

Griezmann was outrageously good that year. He finished as Atleti’s top scorer with 32 goals and took that form into the Euros, proving himself Les Bleus’ talisman in the pre-Mbappe era by winning the Golden Boot.

He scored five of six goals in the knockout stages – a brace in a 2-1 comeback victory over the Republic of Ireland, the fifth in a 5-2 mauling of Iceland and both goals in the 2-0 semi win over Germany.

No player in history has scored more Euros knockout goals than Griezmann, and they all came in the same tournament; he was withdrawn before Switzerland completed their famous Round of 16 comeback at Euro 2020.

Will he add to this tally in 2024? Watch this space.