The Cologne striker team were headed for a 2-1 defeat in Belgrade and elimination when the 22-year-old knocked off the bench for his first game for West Germany 11 minutes before the end of the match. Three minutes later, he turned his head over to surrender Rainer Bonhoff to make it 2-2, then hit twice in extra time to complete a headline-grabbing hat-trick and lead his team to the final.
Klaus Alofs: 1980 group stage, West Germany 3-2 Netherlands Hattrick Time: 45 minutes (20 feet right, 60 feet right, 65 feet right)
Fortuna Düsseldorf’s man finished the 1980 European Nations Cup as winner and top scorer in the tournament thanks to his three goals at Napoli, although Bernd Schuster also took credit for the role he played in creating the two of them. The win gave West Germany their second successive group win and they went on to win the championship, having lost the final on penalties four years earlier.
Michel Platini: 1984 Group Stage, France 5-0 Belgium Hattrick Time: 85 minutes (4 left feet, 74 feet right, 89 head)
The 1984 hosts initially started with a 1-0 win over Denmark, but here in Nantes they managed with their spell easing. A predatory rebound in the fourth minute, a penalty kick and a header, marked the first perfect hat-trick in European Nations Cup history, although it was the 28-year-old’s overall impact that bodes particularly well for Le Blue.
Michel Platini: 1984 Group Stage, France 3-2 Yugoslavia Hattrick Time: 18 minutes (59 feet left, 62 head, 77 feet right)
Just three days later, in the next France match, the captain was playing again, becoming the first and still the only man to score more than one hat-trick in one European Nations Cup match. Adopting a free-spell that fits his style perfectly, the Juventus star turned from 1-0 down in 18 minutes after the break, and with a free kick from a free kick to make it 3-1 at Saint-Etienne.
Marco Van Basten: 1988 Group Stage, England 1-3 Netherlands Hattrick Time: 31 minutes (44 feet left, 71 feet left, 75 feet right)
A mere substitute in the Netherlands’ 1-0 defeat to the Soviet Union in the opening match of the tournament, Van Basten justified his start with a Düsseldorf hat-trick, scoring all three goals by his Milan team-mate Ruud Gullit. Rinus Michels’ men reached the final as Van Basten shined again, scoring perhaps the greatest goal in European Nations Cup history.
Sergio Conceicao: Group Stage 2000, Portugal 3-0 Germany Hattrick Time: 36 minutes (35 heads, 54 feet left, 71 feet right)
Portugal had already confirmed their place in the quarter-finals, and had nothing to play in Rotterdam, in what would be Lothar Matthews’ 150 and final match with Germany, but Sergio Conceicao seized the opportunity to impress him with three goals in favor of a team that changed a lot. The 25-year-old was a substitute in the first two matches for Portugal, and made his way to the starting position as his team reached the semi-finals.
Kluivert quickly deceptively showed all his predatory instincts to the co-hosts in Rotterdam, helping Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids, and Bowdoin Zenden ensure he could get hits on the match ball by the time he went out in the clock. He may have completed a hat-trick before then, in the 51st minute, but his “effort” fell as a goal by Dejan Juvedarica.
David Villa: Group Stage 2008, Spain 4-1 Russia Hattrick Time: 55 minutes (20 feet right, 44 feet right, 75 feet right)
Villa showed his speed, tenacity and his eye for goal in this amazing show in Innsbruck. From a simple touch – Fernando Torres did the hard work – to open the scoring, to the tumultuous jogging and meticulous finishing to finish a hat-trick, the then Valencia player was the perfect pinnacle of a Spanish team full of artists and creatives.