The most popular tournament after the FIFA World Cup is of course the European championship (the Euro)! The best European teams compete every 4 years to become Europe’s best football nation. The tournament is organised by the most known confederation the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). Euro 2016, the 15th edition of the Euro, will kick off on June 10 2016 and the Final will be played on July 10 2016.
The first European championship was hosted in 1960 in France. It was then officially called the European Nations’ Cup. The named changed to European Championship in the 1968 tournament. It was a very small tournament back then, only 4 teams played in the 1960 championship which are: Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, France and Yugoslavia. All the countries except for France don’t exist anymore. Soviet Union won Euro 1960 by defeating Yugoslavia with 2-1.
Since the beginning of the Euro tournament it always takes 4 years before the next edition is hosted. There were no exceptions as was often the case with other continental tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and the OFC Nations Cup.
|Russia||1960-1972, 1988-1996, 2004-2012||10|
|Spain||1964, 1980-1988, 1996-2012||9|
|Netherlands||1976, 1980, 1988-2012||9|
|Czech Republic||1960, 1976, 1980, 1996-2012||8|
|France||1960, 1984, 1992-2012||8|
|Denmark||1964, 1984-2004, 2012||8|
|England||1968, 1980, 1988-2004, 2012||8|
|Italy||1968, 1980, 1988, 1996-2012||8|
|Serbia||1960, 1968, 1976, 1984, 2000||5|
|Belgium||1972, 1980, 1984, 2000||4|
|Greece||1980, 2004, 2008, 2012||4|
|Romania||1984, 1996, 2000, 2008||4|
|Croatia||1996, 2004, 2008, 2012||4|
|Turkey||1996, 2000, 2008||3|
|Switzerland||1996, 2004, 2008||3|
|Republic of Ireland||1988, 2012||2|
- Germany participated as West Germany from Euro 1972 till Euro 1988
- Czech Republic participated as Czechoslovakia till Euro 1980
- Russia participated as Soviet Union till Euro 1988 and participated as CIS in Euro 1992
- Serbia participated as Yugoslavia in all 5 Euro Championships
An interesting aspect of the early European Championships is that the first round and quarter-finals were part of the qualification stage. The 4 teams that entered the tournament, started with the Semi-Final round. The group stage made its introduction in Euro 1968, but this was part of the qualification stage. The quarter-finals round was still part of the qualification process as well. In 1980 when the participants increased from 4 to 8, the group stage was used in the official tournament. The 1980 qualification stage was the first to contain only the group stage, the quarter-finals were not included anymore. The qualification stage didn’t change much after Euro 1980. Only the amount of teams per group that qualified increased.
Spain is the current Euro champion. The most succesful European teams are Germany and Spain, both won the Euro 3 times. Germany won in 1972, 1980, 1996 and Spain won in 1964, 2008 and 2012. Spain is the only country so far to have won 2 consecutive Euro tournaments. The current all-time top scorer is former French player Michel Platini with 9 goals.
In the early editions of the Euro there were only 4 participants. This lasted for quite a while and the last Euro with such a low amount was Euro 1976. For Euro 1980 they doubled the amount to 8 participants which only changed in Euro 1996. This tournament contained 16 participants which is the same amount as the last Euro participants in 2012. For Euro 2016 they will increase the number of entries once more! 8 more teams will have a chance to qualify, which means a total amount of 24 participants will play the tournament!
For the third time in history the Euro championship will be hosted in France. The country hosted the first Euro in 1960 and in 1984. Italy and Turkey placed a hosting bid as well for Euro 2016, but France was announced the winner on May 28 2010. The qualification stage is well under way. All 54 UEFA members are in the race and are divided in 9 groups. The group winners, runners-up, and the best third-placed team among all groups qualify directly for the tournament. The remaining 8 third-placed teams advance to the play-offs. It’s interesting to notice that countries that haven’t played the 2014 World Cup, are doing better than the countries that played in Brazil.
The winner of the UEFA Euro 2016 will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. If the winner ends up being Russia or Germany, the runners-up will participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup. Russia and Germany already qualified automatically since Russia are the hosts and Germany the 2014 World Cup champions.
The European Championship in 2020 is going to be a very special one! The UEFA will celebrate the 60th “birthday” of the European Championship competition. This special tournament will be held in 13 cities in 13 different European countries during the middle of 2020:
- Azerbaijan – Baku – Baku National Stadium
- Belgium – Brussels – Eurostadium
- Denmark – Copenhagen – Telia Parken
- England – London – Wembley Stadium
- Germany – Munich – Allianz Arena
- Hungary – Budapest – New Puskás Ferenc Stadium
- Ireland – Dublin -Aviva Stadium
- Italy – Rome – Stadio Olimpico
- Netherlands – Amsterdam – Amsterdam Arena
- Romania – Bucharest – Arena Națională
- Russia – Saint Petersburg – New Zenit Stadium
- Scotland – Glasgow – Hampden Park
- Spain – Bilbao – San Mamés Stadium
The Final and Semi-Finals will be played in London.
Learn more about the UEFA Euro!
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