When Michel Platini scored nine goals in five games as France won Euro 84 | Euro 2020
When Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty against Hungary in Portugal’s Euro 2020 opener – which he celebrated in his typical, low-key way – he broke a record held by Michel Platini, a man who played a Euro 2020. The less said about Platini’s time as a football administrator the better, but he was a great player.
Ronaldo’s goals were split over the last five euros, but Platini only played one final. The France team that won Euro 84 was not just Platini – he was a quarterback of their formidable Magic square midfielder alongside Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Luis Fernández – but he was the star of this tournament, scoring in all five of France’s matches en route to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy in Paris.
Platini was chained by Danish defender Klaus Berggreen in France’s opener at Parc des Princes. As the authors of the brilliant book Danish dynamite Said it: “No matter where Platini went, Berggreen stuck to his heels like a greedy puppy.” But he had the opportunity to escape Berggreen’s shadow in the 78th minute.
Berggreen had possession of the ball in midfield and attempted to push forward. As soon as he is dispossessed by Tigana, the Danes are in trouble. When the ball fell on Platini at the edge of the box, his shot deflected from the head of prostrate defender Soren Busk and left Danish goalkeeper Ole Qvist helpless. It was his 27th goal for France, tying Just Fontaine’s record. Platini’s first tournament goal had a touch of fortune, but he would continue to show the full extent of his genius in the next two group matches.
Objectives two, three and four: France vs. Belgium, June 16
Platini marked his 50th international cap in style, scoring a hat-trick to establish himself as France’s top scorer, while also tying the record of four goals in the European Championship final which had been shared by Dieter Müller and Gerd Müller. Platini opened the scoring with a left foot strike from the edge of the box, after Patrick Battiston hit the bar with a free kick.
Giresse and Fernández made it 3-0 before half-time and there was more pain to come for the beleaguered Belgian side. Platini scored a penalty with his right foot and one superb head at 12 meters to achieve a perfect hat-trick. “At the start of the season I set myself three goals,” Platini said after the game. “The Italian Championship and the European Cup Winners’ Cup with Juventus, and the European Championship. It is the hardest and also the closest to my heart. Platini liked to do things three-way in 1984.
Another day, another perfect hat-trick. Yugoslavia had the temerity to take the advantage in the first half against hosts Saint-Etienne, but that did not last long. Platini equalized with an effort of the left foot after a pass from Jean-Marc Ferrari before giving the advance to France with a diving header from the penalty spot after a magnificent crossing of Battiston.
Platini got his second consecutive hat trick with a sublime free kick just outside the box. With none of the Home Nations present at Euro 84, British TV channels largely ignored the tournament, but most of us had already attended a similar goal four months earlier, when England also succumbed to the French captain.
This match in Marseille deserves a blog in its own right – in fact someone kindly prepared one for you earlier. France’s spectacular overtime victory over Portugal in the semi-finals has become part of European Championship folklore. The winner of Platini’s Last Breath left John Motson orgasmic and the rest of us speechless in wonder at the whole experience.
Left-back Jean-François Domergue did his best to steal the show from Platini, opening the scoring and equalizing as extra time slipped away from France. But he is the winning goal in the 119th minute it is the lasting memory of this match. Tigana’s push stroke, Platini’s cool touch and hit, French fun and Portuguese heartache. It’s staggering to think UK viewers could only enjoy it through late night highlights. At least the final would be live, as Platini drew closer to the end of the dream tournament for him and his country.
It ended as it started for Platini: a strike from outside the box on the lawn of the Parc des Princes it was a bit fortuitous. Platini’s 57th-minute free-kick goal gave France the advantage in the final against Spain, ensuring he had scored in every game. Luis Arconada provided a helping hand, the ball squirming under his body and limping apologetically across the line.
Yvon Le Roux was sent off towards the end of the final but France doubled their lead at the last minute, Tigana setting up Bruno Bellone. It was the only time a striker has scored for France in the tournament. With Platini in midfield, attackers weren’t needed for goals.
Even with the bloated Euros format we see today, it’s hard to envision Platini’s nine-goal tally in a tournament being beaten. His later years have soured some memories, but you can’t deny his majesty as he led France to their first major title at Euro 84.