Euro 2016: Thunderclap and other noteworthy moments in France

Apart from their disciplined style of play and odds-defying run to the quarter-finals, Iceland will also be remembered for introducing their thunderclap cheer to a global audience.
Apart from their disciplined style of play and odds-defying run to the quarter-finals, Iceland will also be remembered for introducing their thunderclap cheer to a global audience. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Hal Robson-Kanu (in red), whose contract with English second- tier side Reading has expired, bamboozling the Belgium defence to put Wales 2-1 up, setting them on their way to a memorable last-eight victory.
Hal Robson-Kanu (in red), whose contract with English second- tier side Reading has expired, bamboozling the Belgium defence to put Wales 2-1 up, setting them on their way to a memorable last-eight victory.
Simone Zaza blasting over from 12 yards against Germany. The Italy forward has since been widely ridiculed for his unorthodox run-up that seemed to put him off more than the German goalkeeper.
Simone Zaza blasting over from 12 yards against Germany. The Italy forward has since been widely ridiculed for his unorthodox run-up that seemed to put him off more than the German goalkeeper.

Euro 2016 has had its fair share of shocks, excitement and outrage after four weeks of intense football competition all over France. Here are 10 of the more memorable moments that have lit up the tournament since it began on June 10.

THUNDERCLAP HEARD WORLDWIDE

No matter which nation wins the tournament, Iceland's "thunderclap" cheer - a loud clap and a roar, followed by dead silence - deserves huge applause.

Its origins may be ambiguous - Polish handball and Scottish football fans have reportedly performed it before - but it has become a symbol of the country's remarkable, giant-killing run. Even the French themselves could not resist giving it a go.

SHADES OF CRUYFF


Italian elder statesman Gianluigi Buffon showing his child-like side, only to fall on his behind. He repeated his celebration more successfully against Sweden.

He started the tournament without a job but it would be safe to say that the mobile phone of Hal Robson-Kanu's agent has received a few rings ever since the Welsh striker's brilliant piece of skill in the semi-final against Belgium.

With his back to goal, he outwitted three Belgian defenders with a deft turn the late Dutch wizard Johann Cruyff would have been proud of, and scored the second goal in his country's shock 3-1 win.

GRIEZMANN'S THE MAN

The 2014 World Cup Finals ended in tears for the French forward, who also missed a penalty as his club Atletico Madrid lost in May's Champions League final.

Yet Antoine Griezmann has found redemption with a string of match-winning performances for Les Bleus at the Euros. He has been decisive in the latter stages with five goals and two assists in the knock-out rounds to steer the hosts to the final.

SAME OLD ENGLAND

Dark horses Austria will probably make a few lists but no one disappoints quite like the English. They struggled in the group stage and departed with a whimper at the first hurdle in the knock-out phase.

At least England's footballers kept their promise to leave the EU.

BOATENG THE OCTOPUS

Despite the presence of several world-class goalkeepers in the tournament, none pulled off a more eye-catching save than the German centre-back.

He was back-pedalling and the ball was bouncing at an awkward height, but Jerome Boateng managed to re-arrange his feet and prevent Yevhen Konoplyanka's shot from crossing the line.

ZERO FOR ZAZA

Simone Zaza was given one job - and botched it in spectacular fashion. The Italy striker, who had a good scoring record from 12 yards, was brought on just before the final whistle as their quarter-final tie against Germany was heading towards a penalty shoot-out.

Zaza's attempt - made after an elaborate run-up - was last seen flying past Row Z, as Italy duly lost the shoot-out.

SCRATCH AND SNIFF

During a routine 2-0 group win over Ukraine, it was the performance of Germany coach Joachim Low which got everyone talking. While watching the game, he shoved his hand into the front of his trousers and then smelled it. He did the same with the back.

Suffice to say, no opposing official or player was inclined to shake his hand afterwards.

BUFFON THE BUFFOON

After Italy beat Belgium in their opening group tie, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon sprinted the entire length of the pitch to celebrate with the Azzurri fans.

The veteran stopper might be one of the most respected figures in the game but he looked rather foolish as his attempt at swinging on the crossbar ended with him slipping and falling hard.

RONALDO THE ARROGANT

Cristiano Ronaldo's petulance and ego went up several notches in France. First, he accused Iceland of having a small mentality after their shock opening 1-1 draw. Then he over-reacted when approached by a television reporter, throwing his microphone into a lake. At least his aim was good, for once.

QUIP ON DODGY JERSEYS

It might be a physical game but no one expected to see four of Switzerland's jerseys - made by Puma - being torn like paper during their group match against France.

It prompted this classic one-liner from Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri: "I hope Puma does not produce condoms."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'Thunderclap and other noteworthy moments in France'. Print Edition | Subscribe