FW Flashback: How Euro 1984 Platini performance set French standards

As far as great individual displays at a major international tournament go, there is little that compares to a Euro 1984 Platini vintage.

The French maestro was at his dazzling best, completely dominating the competition in a way that no player has before or since, netting goals in every match as Les Bleus lifted the trophy for the first time.

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Platini lifts the trophy on 27th June 1984 – Photo by Icon Sport

Euro 1984 Platini performance sets the bar for France

Exactly four decades ago, Michel Platini scored nine goals across a wild 16 days, becoming not just the highest scoring player at an individual Euros, but the all-time highest scorer in the competition's history too.

Granted, it was still in the era of just eight teams, which would last up to and including the 1992 edition. But lifting trophies can be addictive once the first one arrives, and in the years since, France have gone on to conquer the world twice and Europe once more, with some of the biggest stars of the modern game.

Platini Euro 2024
Michel Platini of France and Enzo Scifo of Belgium in the group stage – Photo by Icon Sport

Hat trick hero in successive group games

In 1984, France were the host nation and fancied to go far. They barely put a foot wrong in the group stage, with a single goal from Platini seeing off Denmark in their opening game. But that was just a warm-up act for Platini, who was about to demonstrate just why he was considered the best footballer in the world at that time.

The Ballon d'Or winner from the previous year, Platini was unplayable in the final two group games. He took just four minutes to break the deadlock against Belgium, before adding two late goals to round off a 5-0 victory. 

Les Bleus fell behind in their next game against Yugoslavia in Saint-Etienne, but Platini was the saviour with three goals in the space of 18 second-half minutes to end the group stage with seven goals.

No other player would score more than three in the entire competition.

Platini scores in Euro 1984
Platini scored from a free-kick in the final against Spain – Photo by Icon Sport

Platini scores in every match as France triumph at home

At the very peak of his powers, Platini was in full swing by this point, and he settled a tense semi-final against Portugal that appeared to be heading for penalties. With just a couple of minutes left in extra time and the score tied at 2-2, a jinking run and cutback from Jean Tigana teed up France’s number 10, who netted his eighth of the tournament as an incredible scoring streak continued.

It was beginning to feel like France were an unstoppable force, and they proved too strong for Spain in the final, with Platini completing as close to a perfect tournament as you will ever see. It was far from the perfect goal though, with his right footed free-kick somehow slipping through the grasp of Spanish keeper Luis Arconada, as the French skipper broke the deadlock in a game they’d win 2-0.

It was the only European Championship that Platini played in, but his nine-goal haul was only surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020. The fact that the Portuguese legend needed five tournaments to get past Platini tells you just how special his feat was.

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.