Euro 96 mascot: Name, inspiration & history of England's European Championship symbol

Alan Shearer Oliver Bierhoff Stuart Pearce England Germany Euro 96
Getty/Goal composite
There is no European Championship in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Three Lions faithful have been reminiscing about 1996

When England hosted the European Championship in 1996, a new mascot was born, following a line of iconic football tournament mascots.

Italy had Pinocchio, Germany had Berni and England made sure to create a symbol that would evoke the successes of previous teams and one that would be memorable itself.

So who was the mascot for Euro 96 and what was the inspiration? Goal takes a look.

Who was the mascot for Euro 96?

The mascot for Euro 96 was Goaliath.

Drawing upon England's association with Three Lions on their national team badge, Goaliath was a lion who wore an England shirt and was usually equipped with a ball under his arm.

A play on the name of the biblical character Goliath, who was a fearsome giant, Goaliath was the cartoon embodiment of the tournament hosts, England.

The character of Goaliath was largely inspired by World Cup Willie - the mascot for the 1966 World Cup, which was also held in England.

Like Goaliath, Willie was a lion, but he wore a jersey with a union flag emblazoned across it rather than a plain England jersey.

European Championship mascots

There have been a number of mascots for the European Championship over the years and they have taken various forms.

In the 1980s and 1990s, European Championship mascots tended to be animals, but the trend has shifted since the turn of the millennium towards more human forms.

You can see the full list of mascots from 1980 to 2020 below.

Tournament Mascot
Euro 80 - Italy Pinocchio
Euro 84 - France Peno
Euro 88 - West Germany Berni
Euro 92 - Sweden  Rabbit
Euro 96 - England Goaliath
Euro 2000 - Netherlands & Belgium Benelucky
Euro 2004 - Portugal Kinas
Euro 2008 - Austria & Switzerland Trix and Flix
Euro 2012 - Poland & Ukraine Slavek and Slavko
Euro 2016 - France Super Victor
Euro 2020 - Pan European Skillzy

The first European Championship mascot was unveiled ahead of the 1980 tournament in Italy. It was called Pinocchio and based on the classic fairy-tale character, with a long nose.

France 1984 saw the first time an animal character served as European Championship mascot with a cockerel called Peno evoking the national team badge of Les Bleus. West Germany followed in 1988, opting for a rabbit called Berni - a nod to the city of Berne, where Germany won their first World Cup.

In 1992, Sweden hosted the European Championship and, instead of taking the opportunity to make their own unique mascot, they persisted with a rabbit. The rabbit was a different colour and named Rabbit.

Goaliath followed in Euro 96, with the lion theme continuing in Euro 2000, which was held across Belgium and the Netherlands, with Benelucky. The Belgo-Dutch mascot was part devil and part lion, incorporating both countries' national team symbols.

Portugal hosted Euro 2004 and their mascot was Kinas - a boy in a Portugal kit named in honour of the national flag, the Bandeira das Quinas (flag of the five shields).

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When Austria and Switzerland hosted Euro 2008, they went for red-and-white-clad twin mascots Trix and Flix. A similar mascot style followed when Poland and Ukraine hosted Euro 2012, with each mascot sporting the hair colour of their respective national flags.

France continued the human style of mascot in 2016, dispensing with the cockerels that had served them in 1984 and the World Cup in 1998 (Footix) in favour of Super Victor, a child hero footballer.

The mascot for Euro 2020 - which will now take place in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic - is Skillzy, who is a freestyle football cartoon character.