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The UEFA European Football Championship, less formally the European Championship and informally the Euros, is the primary
association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...
tournament organized by the Union of European Football Associations (
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
). The competition is contested by UEFA members’ senior men's national teams, determining the continental champion of Europe. The competition has been held every four years since
1960 It is also known as the "Year of Africa is referred to as the Year of Africa because of a series of events that took place during the year—mainly the independence of seventeen African nations—that highlighted the growing Pan-Africanism, ...
, except for
2020 2020 was heavily defined by the COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for insta ...
, when it was postponed until 2021 due to the
COVID-19 pandemic in Europe Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwid ...
, but kept the name Euro 2020. Scheduled to be in the even-numbered year between
FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between two teams of 11 . It is played by ...
tournaments, it was originally called the European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in
1968 The year was highlighted by protests and other unrests that occurred worldwide. Events January * January 5 Events Pre-1600 *1477 – Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is defeated and killed in a conflict with René II, Duke of L ...
. Since 1996, the individual events have been branded as "UEFA Euro
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ear
''". Before entering the tournament, all teams other than the host nations (which qualify automatically) compete in a qualifying process. Until 2016 the championship winners could compete in the following
FIFA Confederations Cup The FIFA Confederations Cup was an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Com ...
, but were not obliged to do so. The sixteen European Championship tournaments have been won by ten national teams:
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
have each won three titles,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...
and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
have won two titles, and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
,
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
, the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
have won one title each. To date, Spain is the only team in history to have won consecutive titles, doing so in 2008 and 2012. It is the second-most watched football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. The Euro 2012 final was watched by a global audience of around 300 million. The most recent championship, held across Europe in 2021 (postponed from 2020 due to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...
), was won by
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...
, who lifted their second title after beating
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
in the
final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
at
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley Wembley (/ˈwɛmbli/) is a largely suburban town in north-west London London is the capital city, capital and List ...

Wembley Stadium
in
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London
on
penalties Penalty or The Penalty may refer to: Sports * Penalty (golf) * Penalty (gridiron football) * Penalty (ice hockey) * Penalty (rugby) * Penalty (rugby union) * Penalty kick (association football) * Penalty shoot-out (association football) Entertain ...
.


History


Beginnings

The idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the
French Football Federation The French Football Federation (FFF) (french: Fédération Française de Football) is the governing body of football Football is a family of team sport A team is a roup_(disambiguation),_group_of_individuals_(human_or_non-human)_worki_...
's_secretary-general_Henri_Delaunay_in_1927,_but_it_was_not_until_1958_that_the_tournament_was_started,_three_years_after_Delaunay's_death._In_honour_of_Delaunay,_the_trophy_awarded_to_the_champions_is_named_after_him._The_1960_European_Nations'_Cup.html" ;"title="Henri_Delaunay.html" ;"title="roup (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) worki ...
's secretary-general
roup_(disambiguation),_group_of_individuals_(human_or_non-human)_worki_...
's_secretary-general_Henri_Delaunay_in_1927,_but_it_was_not_until_1958_that_the_tournament_was_started,_three_years_after_Delaunay's_death._In_honour_of_Delaunay,_the_trophy_awarded_to_the_champions_is_named_after_him._The_1960_European_Nations'_Cup">1960_tournament,_held_in_France,_had_four_teams_competing_in_the_finals_out_of_17_that_entered_the_competition._It_was_won_by_the_Soviet_Union_ The_Soviet_Union,._officially_the_Union_of_Soviet_Socialist_Republics._(USSR),._was_a__that_spanned__during_its_existence_from_1922_to_1991._It_was_nominally_a__of_multiple_national_;_in_practice__and__were_highly__until_its_final_years._The_...
,_beating_Yugoslavia_national_football_team.html" "title="Henri Delaunay">roup (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) worki ...
's secretary-general Henri Delaunay in 1927, but it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started, three years after Delaunay's death. In honour of Delaunay, the trophy awarded to the champions is named after him. The 1960 European Nations' Cup">1960 tournament, held in France, had four teams competing in the finals out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, beating Yugoslavia national football team">Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...
2–1 in a tense final in Paris.
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
withdrew from its quarter-final match against the Soviet Union because of two political protests. Of the 17 teams that entered the qualifying tournament, notable absentees were
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
, the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
,
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...
. Spain held the next tournament in
1964 Events * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day marks t ...
, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering; West Germany was a notable absentee once again and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
withdrew after being drawn against
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
, with whom they were still at war. The hosts beat the title holders, the Soviet Union, 2–1 at the
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium ( es, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, ) is a football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular wher ...
in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
. The tournament format stayed the same for the 1968 tournament, hosted and won by Italy. For the first and only time a match was decided on a
coin toss A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fr ...
(the semi-final Italy vs. Soviet Union) and the final went to a replay, after the match against Yugoslavia finished 1–1. Italy won the replay 2–0. More teams entered this tournament (31), a testament to its burgeoning popularity. Belgium hosted the 1972 tournament, which West Germany won, beating the Soviet Union 3–0 in the
final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
, with goals coming from Gerd Müller (twice) and
Herbert Wimmer Herbert "Hacki" Wimmer (born 9 November 1944 is a German former footballer A football player or footballer is a sportsperson, sport person who plays one of the different types of football. The main types of football are association football, Amer ...
at the
Heysel Stadium The King Baudouin Stadium (french: Stade Roi Baudouin, nl, Koning Boudewijnstadion) is a sports ground in north-west Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one ...
in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
. This tournament would provide a taste of things to come, as the German side contained many of the key members of the
1974 FIFA World Cup The 1974 FIFA World Cup was the 10th FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a p ...
Champions. The 1976 tournament in Yugoslavia was the last in which only four teams took part in the final tournament, and the last in which the hosts had to qualify.
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
beat West Germany in the newly introduced
penalty shootout Penalty or The Penalty may refer to: Sports * Penalty (golf) * Penalty (gridiron football) In gridiron football, a penalty is a sanction called against a team for a violation of the rules, called a foul. Officials initially signal penalties ...
. After seven successful conversions, Uli Hoeneß missed, leaving Czechoslovakian with the opportunity to score and win the tournament. An "audacious" chipped shot, described by UEFA as "perhaps the most famous spot kick of all time" secured the victory as Czechoslovakia won 5–3 on penalties.


Expansion to 8 teams

The competition was expanded to eight teams in the 1980 tournament, again hosted by Italy. It involved a group stage, with the winners of the groups going on to contest the final, and the runners-up playing in the third place play-off. West Germany won their second European title by beating
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...
2–1, with two goals scored by
Horst Hrubesch Horst Hrubesch (; born 17 April 1951) is a German professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As define ...

Horst Hrubesch
at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Horst Hrubesch scored early in the first half before René Vandereycken equalised for Belgium with a penalty in the second half. With two minutes remaining, Hrubesch headed the winner for West Germany from a
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Karl-Heinz "Kalle" Rummenigge (; born 25 September 1955) is a German football Football is a family of team sport A team is a
_ _Corner_kick">corner. France_ France_(),_officially_the_French_Republic_(french:_link=no,_République_française),_is_a_transcontinental_country This_is_a_list_of_countries_located_on_more_than_one_continent A_continent_is_one_of_several_large_landmasses_...
_won_their_first_major_title_at_home_in_the_UEFA_Euro_1984.html" ;"title="Corner_kick.html" ;"title="roup (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As d ...

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Corner kick">corner.
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
won their first major title at home in the UEFA Euro 1984">1984 tournament, with their captain Michel Platini scoring 9 goals in just 5 games, including the opening goal in the final, in which they beat Spain 2–0. The format also changed, with the top two teams in each group going through to a semi-final stage, instead of the winners of each group going straight into the final. The
third place play-off A third place match, game for third place, bronze medal game or consolation game is a single match that is included in many sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or ...
was also abolished. West Germany hosted
UEFA Euro 1988 The 1988 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was held in West Germany from 10 to 25 June 1988. It was the eighth UEFA European Championship The UEFA European Football Championship, less formally the European Championship an ...
, but lost 2–1 to the
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, their traditional rivals, in the semi-finals, which sparked vigorous celebrations in the Netherlands. The Netherlands went on to win the tournament in a rematch of their first game of the group stage, beating the Soviet Union 2–0 at the Olympia Stadion in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
, a match in which
Marco van Basten Marcel "Marco" van Basten (; born 31 October 1964) is a Dutch Association football, football manager and retired professional player, who played for AFC Ajax, Ajax and A.C. Milan, AC Milan, as well as the Netherlands national football team, Neth ...

Marco van Basten
scored one of the most memorable goals in football history, a spectacular volley over the keeper from the right wing.
UEFA Euro 1992 The 1992 UEFA European Football Championship was hosted by Sweden between 10 and 26 June 1992. It was the ninth UEFA European Championship, which is held every four years and supported by UEFA. Denmark national football team, Denmark won the 19 ...
was held in Sweden, and was won by
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...
, who were only in the finals because UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia to participate as some of the states constituting the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, commonly referred to as SFR Yugoslavia or simply Yugoslavia, was a Socialist state, socialist country in Southeast Europe, Southeast and Central Europe that existed from its foundation in the afte ...
were at war with each other. The Danes beat holders the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals, then defeated
world champion A world championship is generally an international competition open to elite competitors from around the world, representing their nations, and winning such an event will be considered the highest or near highest achievement in the sport, game, or ...
Germany 2–0. This was the first tournament in which a unified Germany took part and also the first major tournament to have the players' names printed on their backs.


Expansion to 16 teams

England hosted
UEFA Euro 1996 The 1996 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 96, was the 10th UEFA European Championship, a quadrennial football tournament contested by European nations and organised by UEFA The Union of European Football As ...
, the first tournament to use the
nomenclature Nomenclature (, ) is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, a ...

nomenclature
"Euro
ear The ear is the organ of hearing and, in mammals, balance. In mammals, the ear is usually described as having three parts—the outer ear The outer ear, external ear, or auris externa is the external part of the ear, which consists ...

ear
and would see the number of teams taking part double to 16. The hosts, in a replay of the
1990 FIFA World Cup The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team ...
semi-final, were knocked out on penalties by Germany. The surprise team of the tournament was the newly formed
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
, participating on its first international competition following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which reached the final after beating Portugal and France in the knockout stage. Germany would go on to win the
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
2–1 thanks to the first
golden goal The golden goal or golden point is a rule used in association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport played with a sphere, spherical Ball (association football), ball between two te ...
ever in a major tournament, scored by
Oliver Bierhoff Oliver Bierhoff (; born 1 May 1968) is a German football Football is a family of team sport A team is a Forward_(association_football)#Striker">striker._He_currently_serves_as_the_national_team_director_of_the_German_Football_Associati ...

Oliver Bierhoff
five minutes into extra time. This was Germany's first title as a unified nation.
UEFA Euro 2000 The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, also known as Euro 2000, was the 11th UEFA European Championship, a association football, football tournament held every four years and organised by UEFA, the sport's governing body in Europe. The ...
was the first tournament to be held by two countries, in the Netherlands and Belgium. France, the reigning World Cup champions, were favoured to win, and they lived up to expectations when they beat Italy 2–1 after
extra time Overtime or extra time is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie Tie has two principal meanings: * Tie (draw) A draw or tie occurs in a competitive sp ...
, having come from being 1–0 down:
Sylvain Wiltord Sylvain Claude Wiltord (born 10 May 1974) is a French former professional footballer A football player or footballer is a sportsperson, sport person who plays one of the different types of football. The main types of football are association fo ...
equalised in the last minute of regular time and
David Trezeguet David Sergio Trezeguet (born 15 October 1977) is a French-Argentine former professional footballer A football player or footballer is a sportsperson, sport person who plays one of the different types of football. The main types of football ar ...

David Trezeguet
scored the winning golden goal in extra time.
UEFA Euro 2004 The 2004 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2004, was the 12th edition of the UEFA European Championship, a quadrennial association football, football competition contested by the List of men's national association ...
, like 1992, produced an upset:
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
, who had only qualified for one World Cup (
1994 The year 1994 was designated as the "International Year of the Family The year 1994 was proclaimed the International Year of the Family by the United Nations General Assembly. Its objectives are promoted by the United Nations Programme on ...
) and one European Championship (
1980 Events January * January 4 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union, grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission. * January 6 – Global Positioning Syst ...
) before, beat hosts
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
1–0 in the final (after having also beaten them in the opening game) with a goal scored by
Angelos Charisteas Angelos Charisteas ( el, Άγγελος Χαριστέας, ; born 9 February 1980) is a Greek former professional footballer who played as a forward. He works as sporting director for Aris Thessaloniki. At club level he has played for Aris ...
in the 57th minute to win a tournament that they had been given odds of 150–1 to win before it began (being the second least likely team to have any success after
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...
). On their way to the
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
, they also beat holders France as well as the Czech Republic with a silver goal, a rule which replaced the previous golden goal in 2003, before being abolished itself shortly after this tournament. The 2008 tournament, hosted by Austria and Switzerland, marked the second time that two nations co-hosted and the first edition where the new trophy was awarded. It commenced on 7 June and finished on 29 June. The
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
between Germany and Spain was held at the
Ernst Happel Stadion The Ernst-Happel-Stadion ''()'', known as Praterstadion until 1992, sometimes also called Wiener-Stadion, is a football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) work ...

Ernst Happel Stadion
in Vienna. Spain defeated Germany 1–0, with a goal scored by Fernando Torres in the 33rd minute, sparking much celebration across the country. This was their first title since the 1964 tournament. Spain were the highest scoring team with 12 goals scored and
David Villa David Villa Sánchez (; born 3 December 1981) is a Spanish retired professional footballer A football player or footballer is a sportsperson, sport person who plays one of the different types of football. The main types of football are assoc ...

David Villa
finished as the top scorer with four goals.
Xavi Xavier Hernández Creus (, ; born 25 January 1980), known as Xavi, is a Spanish professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a manager and former player who is the manager of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd SC, A ...
was awarded the player of the tournament, and nine Spanish players were picked for the . The
UEFA Euro 2012 The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2012 or simply Euro 2012, was the 14th UEFA European Championship, European Championship for List of men's national association football teams#UEFA (Europe), men's ...

UEFA Euro 2012
tournament was co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Spain defeated Italy 4–0 in the
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
, thus becoming the first nation to defend a European Championship title, as well as the first European team to win three consecutive major tournaments. In scoring the third goal of the final, Torres became the first player to score in two European Championship finals. He was equal top scorer for the tournament with three goals in total, along with
Mario Balotelli Mario Balotelli Barwuah (; '' né'' Barwuah; born 12 August 1990) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a striker for club Monza. He started his professional football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice be ...
, , Mario Gómez,
Mario Mandžukić Mario Mandžukić (; born 21 May 1986) is a Croatian football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. ...

Mario Mandžukić
, and
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (; born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional Association football, footballer who plays as a Forward (association football), forward for club Manchester United F.C., Manchester United and Capta ...

Cristiano Ronaldo
, despite only being used as a substitute player. The tournament was otherwise notable for having the most headed goals in a Euro tournament (26 out of 76 goals in total); a disallowed goal in the England versus Ukraine group game which replays showed had crossed the goal line, and which prompted
President of FIFA The following is a list of presidents of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world association football sport governing body, governing body. Presidents Daniel Burley Woolfall, Rodolphe Seeldrayers, and Arthur Drew ...
Sepp Blatter Joseph "Sepp" Blatter (born 10 March 1936) is a retired Swiss football Football is a family of team sport A team is a administrator Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator, a ...

Sepp Blatter
to tweet, "GLT (
Goal-line technology In association football, goal-line technology (sometimes referred to as a Goal Decision System) is the use of electronic aid to determine if a Scoring in association football, goal has been scored or not. In detail, it is a method used to determi ...
) is no longer an alternative but a necessity", thus reversing his long-held reluctance to embrace such technology; and some crowd violence in group games.


Expansion to 24 teams

In 2007, the
Football Association of Ireland The Football Association of Ireland (FAI; ga, Cumann Peile na hÉireann) is the governing body for association football in the Republic of Ireland. Organisation The FAI has an Executive Committee of five members under the President, who re ...
and
Scottish Football Association The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; sco, Scots Fitba Association; Scottish Gaelic: ''Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba'') is the Sport governing body, governing body of association football, football in Scot ...
proposed the expansion of the tournament, which was later confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee in September 2008. Out of the 54 member associations of UEFA, only three, including
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
, opposed the expansion. On 28 May 2010, UEFA announced that
UEFA Euro 2016 The 2016 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2016 (stylised as UEFA EURO 2016) or simply Euro 2016, was the 15th UEFA European Championship The UEFA European Football Championship, less formally the Europe ...
would be hosted by France. France beat bids of Turkey (7–6 in voting in the second voting round) and Italy, which had the fewest votes in the first voting round. Euro 2016 was the first to have 24 teams in the finals. This was the third time France have hosted the competition. Portugal, which qualified for the knock-out phase despite finishing third in its group, went on to win the championship by defeating heavily favoured host team France 1–0 in the
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
, thanks to a goal from
Eder Eder may refer to: *Eder (Fulda) The Eder is a -long major river in Germany that begins in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia and passes in to Hesse, where it empties into the River Fulda (river), Fulda. History The river was first mentioned by th ...
in the 109th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal's world-renowned striker, came out of the game due to injury in the 25th minute. This was the first time Portugal won a major tournament. For the 2020 tournament, three bids were proposed, including a bid from Turkey, a joint bid from the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and a joint bid from Georgia and Azerbaijan. In December 2012, however, UEFA announced that the 2020 tournament would be hosted in several cities in various countries across Europe, with the semi-finals and
Final Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition)The final of a competition is the match or round in which the winner of the entire event is decided. In sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activ ...
being played in London. The venues were selected and announced by UEFA on 19 September 2014. However,
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
was removed as a host city on 7 December 2017 due to delays with the building of the Eurostadium. On 17 March 2020, UEFA announced that Euro 2020 would be delayed by a year due to the
COVID-19 pandemic in Europe Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwid ...
, and proposed it take place from 11 June to 11 July 2021. The competition was postponed in order to reduce pressure on the public services in affected countries and to provide space in the calendar for the completion of domestic leagues that had been suspended. Before the Euro 2020, Dublin was also removed as one of the host cities due to its inability to guarantee spectators to the stadium, while Bilbao was replaced by Seville for the same reason.


Trophy

The Henri Delaunay Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the European Championship, is named in honour of Henri Delaunay, the first General Secretary of UEFA, who came up with the idea of a European championship but died five years before the first tournament in 1960. His son Pierre Delaunay, Pierre was in charge of creating the trophy. Since the first tournament it has been awarded to the winning team for them to keep for four years, until the next tournament. This trophy bore the words ''Coupe d'Europe'' ("European Cup"), ''Coupe Henri Delaunay'' ("Henri Delaunay Cup"), and ''Championnat d'Europe'' ("European Championship") on the front and a juggling boy on the back. For the 2008 tournament, the Henri Delaunay Trophy was remodelled to make it larger, as the old trophy was overshadowed by UEFA's other trophies such as the new European Champion Clubs' Cup. The new trophy, which is made of sterling silver, now weighs and is tall, being heavier and longer than the old one. The marble plinth that was serving as base was removed. The new silver base of the trophy had to be enlarged to make it stable. The names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plaques glued to the plinth are now engraved on the back of the trophy, under the word ''Coupe Henri Delaunay'' and are written in English rather than French its predecessor had. The 1972 and 1980 winning country, West Germany, is written as just ''Germany''. Since 2016, the juggling boy was returned on the trophy's back. The players and coaches of the winning team and the runner-up team are awarded gold and silver medals, respectively. Each association that competes in the final tournament receives a commemorative plaque. Each time the team losing semi-finalist, as well as each finalist, receive a dedicated plaque. Though there is no longer a
third place play-off A third place match, game for third place, bronze medal game or consolation game is a single match that is included in many sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or ...
, UEFA decided in the 2008 edition to award the semi-final losers (Turkey and Russia) bronze medals for the first time, and did the same in the 2012 edition when Germany and Portugal received bronze medals. However, UEFA decided that losing semi-finalists would no longer receive medals from the 2016 edition onwards. Bronze medals were previously awarded for winners of the third place play-off, the last of which was held in 1980.


Format


The competition

Before 1980, only four teams qualified for the final tournament. From 1980, eight teams competed. In 1996 the tournament expanded to 16 teams, since it was easier for European nations to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, World Cup than their own continental championship; 14 of the 24 teams at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982, 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1990 World Cups had been European, whereas the European Championship finals still involved only eight teams. In 2007, there was much discussion about an expansion of the tournament to 24 teams, started by Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, due to the increased number of football associations in Europe after the break-ups of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, and the inclusion of Israel national football team, Israel and Kazakhstan national football team, Kazakhstan. The new president of
UEFA The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA ; french: Union des associations européennes de football; german: Union der europäischen Fußballverbände) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, as wel ...

UEFA
, Michel Platini, was reported to be in favour of expansion which proved an accurate assumption. Whilst on 17 April 2007, UEFA's executive committee formally decided against expansion in 2012, Platini indicated in June 2008 that UEFA will increase participation from 16 to 24 teams in future tournaments, starting from 2016. On 25 September, it was announced by Franz Beckenbauer that an agreement had been reached, and the expansion to 24 teams would be officially announced the next day. The competing teams are chosen by a series of qualifying games: in
1960 It is also known as the "Year of Africa is referred to as the Year of Africa because of a series of events that took place during the year—mainly the independence of seventeen African nations—that highlighted the growing Pan-Africanism, ...
and
1964 Events * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day marks t ...
through home and away Playoffs#Association football, play-offs; from
1968 The year was highlighted by protests and other unrests that occurred worldwide. Events January * January 5 Events Pre-1600 *1477 – Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is defeated and killed in a conflict with René II, Duke of L ...
through a combination of both Tournament#Group tournaments, qualifying groups and play-off games. The host country was selected from the four finalists after they were determined through qualifying. Since the expansion of the final tournament starting from
1980 Events January * January 4 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union, grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission. * January 6 – Global Positioning Syst ...
, the host country, or countries, have been chosen beforehand and qualify automatically.


Qualifying

To qualify, a team must finish in one of the qualifying spots or win a play-off. After this, a team proceeds to the finals round in the host country, although hosts qualify for the tournament automatically. The qualifying phase begins in the autumn after the preceding FIFA World Cup, almost two years before the finals. The groups for qualification are drawn by a UEFA committee using Seed (sports), seeding. Seeded teams include reigning champions and other teams based on their performance in the preceding FIFA World Cup qualifying and the last European Championship qualifying. To obtain an accurate view of the teams' abilities, a ranking is produced. This is calculated by taking the total number of points won by a particular team and dividing it by the number of games played, i.e. points per game. In the case of a team having hosted one of the two previous competitions and therefore having qualified automatically, only the results from the single most recent qualifying competition are used. If two teams have equal points per game, the committee then bases their positions in the rankings on: # Coefficient from the matches played in its most recent qualifying competition. # Average goal difference. # Average number of goals scored. # Average number of away goals scored. # Drawing of lots. The qualifying phase is played in a group format, the composition of the groups is determined through means of a draw of teams from pre-defined seeded bowls. The draw takes place after the preceding World Cup's qualifying competition. For UEFA Euro 2020, the group qualifying phase consisted of ten groups; five of six teams and the remainder of five teams each. Each group is played in a league format with teams playing each other home and away. The top two teams then qualified for the final tournament, with remaining places decided by playoffs depending on their ranking in the UEFA Nations League. As with most leagues, Three points for a win, the points are awarded as three for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. In the eventuality of one or more teams having equal points after all matches have been played, the following criteria are used to distinguish the sides: # Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question. # Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question. # Higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question. # Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question. # Results of all group matches: ## Superior goal difference ## Higher number of goals scored ## Higher number of goals scored away from home ## Fair play conduct. # Drawing of lots.


Final tournament

Sixteen teams progressed to the final tournament for the UEFA Euro 2012, 2012 tournament. They were joint hosts Poland national football team, Poland and Ukraine national football team, Ukraine, the winners and the highest ranked second-placed team from the nine qualifying groups as well as the winners of four play-off matches between the runners-up of the other groups. These sixteen teams were divided equally into four groups, A, B, C and D, each consisting of four teams. The groups were drawn up by the UEFA administration, again using seeding. The seeded teams being the host nations, the reigning champions, should they qualify, and those with the best points per game coefficients over the qualifying phase of the tournament and the previous FIFA World Cup qualification, World Cup qualifying. Other finalists were assigned to by means of a draw, using UEFA coefficient, coefficients as a basis. For the 2016 tournament, the expansion to 24 teams means that the teams will be drawn into six groups of four, with the six group winners, six group runners-up and the four best third-placed teams advancing to the round of 16 when it becomes a knockout competition. The groups are again played in a league format, where a team plays its opponents once each. The same points system is used (three points for a win, one point for a draw, no points for a defeat). A schedule for the group matches will be drawn up, but the last two matches in a group must kick off simultaneously. The winner and runner-up of each group progress to the next round, where a knockout system is used (the two teams play each other once, the winner progresses), this is used in all subsequent rounds as well. The winners of the quarter-finals matches progress to the semi-finals, where the winners play in the final. If in any of the knockout rounds, the scores are still equal after normal playing time, extra time and
penalties Penalty or The Penalty may refer to: Sports * Penalty (golf) * Penalty (gridiron football) * Penalty (ice hockey) * Penalty (rugby) * Penalty (rugby union) * Penalty kick (association football) * Penalty shoot-out (association football) Entertain ...
are employed to separate the two teams. Unlike the
FIFA World Cup The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a played with a between two teams of 11 . It is played by ...
, this tournament no longer has a third place playoff.


Results


Summary

: :
* ''hosts''
:
1 ''includes results representing List of men's national association football teams#Former national football teams, West Germany''
:
2 ''includes results representing the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and CIS national football team, CIS''
:
3 ''includes results representing
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
''
:
4 ''includes results representing Yugoslavia national football team, Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro national football team, FR Yugoslavia''


Records and statistics


See also

*UEFA Women's Championship *UEFA European Under-21 Championship *UEFA European Under-19 Championship *UEFA European Under-17 Championship *List of UEFA European Championship goalscorers *National team appearances in the UEFA European Championship *UEFA European Championship mascot *UEFA European Championship Teams of the Tournament *British Home Championship *Central European International Cup


References


External links


Official website
at UEFA, Union of European Football Associations
UEFA European Championship history
at Union of European Football Associations {{DEFAULTSORT:European Championship, Uefa UEFA European Championship, Recurring sporting events established in 1960, Uefa European Championship UEFA competitions European championships, UEFA European Championship Quadrennial sporting events