Euro 2024 own goals ranked from McTominay ‘bottle job’ to Rudiger calamity

Dave Tickner
Euro 2024 has seen some great own goals.
Euro 2024 has seen some great own goals.

Enjoying Euro 2024, yeah? Course you are. It’s been absolutely brilliant. There are loads of reasons, but one of the main ones is how this is a tournament not only with plenty of goals but with an absurdly high proportion of those goals being either glorious thunderbastards or calamitous own goals – i.e. the two best kinds of goal.

There have already been six own goals at Euro 2024 – three times the total number from all 64 games of the Qatar World Cup. We hit an absurd ratio of one own goal every four games early in the tournament and have, somehow, maintained it. Best tournament ever? It might just be.

Any fool can rank the great goals, but it takes a special kind of idiot to rank the own goals. And here we are.

 

7) Scott McTominay/Fabian Schar, Scotland v Switzerland
For a brief but glorious moment in time, Scotland v Switzerland was the most perfect encapsulation of this tournament. Two goals – one an own goal, one a thunderbastard from the thinking man’s thunderbastarder himself Xherdan Shaqiri. Unimprovable.

But then those craven cowards at UEFA caved into the all-powerful Scots lobby and took the opening goal away from Fabian Schar and awarded it instead to Scott McTominay.

Now even we can see why they did it. We are all familiar with the standard ‘if it’s on target before the deflection, the attacker gets the credit’ protocol, but this also sits undeniably at the absurd end of that particular spectrum.

McTominay’s shot was struck well enough, but it was heading absolutely nowhere other than the grateful hands of the ever-reliable Yann Sommer until Schar’s baffling intervention sent the ball screaming into the roof of the net at twice its original velocity.

It may not actually have gone down as an own goal and on that technicality can only rank last here, but there’s no denying it had own goal rhythms. It fully deserves its place on the list.

MORE ON EURO 2024 FROM F365:
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6) Robin Hranac, Portugal v Czechia
The defender was largely blameless here, a victim of Czechia goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek’s perplexing decision to just palm a gentle header across goal from Rafael Leao straight back into play rather than catching it like a normal person.

He didn’t even try to push it away from goal, but instead shoved it directly into the approaching shins of Hranac from where it ricocheted apologetically, forlornly and inevitably into the goal.

Loses points in two key areas, this one. It’s forced us into some ‘WHY DON’T WOKE MODERN KEEPERS JUST BLOODY CATCH THE THING LIKE GORDON BANKS WOULD HAVE DONE?’ PFM discourse, and also it made Cristiano Ronaldo happy.

 

5) Max Wober, France v Austria
Scores highly for significance, being as it was the only goal of the game, and also there was quite a bit of genuine good football from Kylian Mbappe in its creation. Fine, if you’re into that kind of thing.

What we liked most about this one is that it’s not really entirely clear what Wober’s trying to do, or where he’s actually trying to get the ball, or how. Because no matter how many times you watch it, he just looks for all the world like a man trying and succeeding in glancing that menacing cross inside the far post.

We know he wasn’t, like. But it really does look like it.

 

4) Riccardo Calafiori, Spain v Italy
Scores heavily in a lot of the same categories as Wober’s effort. Again it’s the only goal of a big game, and again there’s some magic in the build-up. For Kylian Mbappe against Austria, read Nico Williams against Italy.

But what gets Calafiori ahead of Wober and onto the podium is really quite simple. He ends up prostrate on the turf, and there is no more correct place for a player to end up having scored an own goal than prostrate on the turf.

 

3) Klaus Gjasula, Croatia v Albania
This one’s all about wider context. The own goal itself is a desperately unlucky double ricochet but cannot be viewed in isolation. It has to be viewed as part of Gjasula’s full 20-minute cameo off the bench. His was a story arc worthy of generating Oscars buzz come awards season.

Brought off the bench on 72 minutes to try and shore up Albania’s increasingly dicey defence of a 1-0 lead, Gjasula almost immediately watched Croatia equalise and then almost immediately after that pinballed the ball into his own net to give Croatia the lead.

Then he popped up in injury-time to sweep home and mean that today we spell redemption K-L-A-U-S. And even then he wasn’t done, picking up one of the best yellow cards you’ll ever see for chopping down Luka Modric in full flight and halting what really did have the potential to be an absolute 97th-minute sickener of a three-on-two counter-attack as both teams deliriously chased a winner with wild-eyed abandon in a game gone mad. Magnificent stuff.

 

2) Samet Akaydin, Turkey v Portugal
A truly beautiful example of own goal art. Akaydin breaks two of the golden back pass rules: playing it both on target and without bothering to look up and check his goalkeeper hadn’t done anything inexplicable or mad like running towards him for no reason despite there not being a Portugal player in sight. Altay Bayindir had, alas, done just that.

So little pressure was the Turkey defence under at this point that the goal was almost missed completely live, the director having already cut to Cristiano Ronaldo having one of his tantrums at the repeated unacceptable failure of his useless countrymen to successfully pass the ball to him at all times. Ronaldo’s slightly sheepish transition from huff to celebration adds to this one’s appeal, as does the fact that not one but two Turkey players end up in the back of the net having desperately yet forlornly attempted to rescue the situation.

 

1) Antonio Rudiger, Germany v Scotland
One of the many reasons it’s a shame that McTominay eventually got credit for the goal against Switzerland is that it would be quite funny if all Scotland’s goals at the tournament were in fact own goals.

This one loses some points for being wildly immaterial, reducing Scotland’s deficit as it did to a mere 4-1 and with Germany restoring their four-goal cushion soon after, but it scores very highly indeed for aesthetics.

There are two main selling points for this one.

First, Rudiger’s effort is an inadvertent and strikingly powerful looping header from really quite a long way out by own goal standards and, generally speaking, the longer range an own goal is the more appealing and funny it becomes.

The other thing that really elevates this particular own goal is that there is also an ‘own pre-assist’ in there – which is rare – thanks to Niclas Fullkrug’s little eyebrows on Andy Robertson’s free-kick causing all the confusion and panic among the defenders in the first place, with Jonathan Tah’s subsequent swing and a miss another pleasing element.

Germany are nailing this tournament so thoroughly right now that even their calamities are top tier.