Everything you need to know about UEFA EURO history

Wednesday28 October 2020 | 6:30
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The UEFA European Championship is one of the most important football tournaments in the world, which takes place every four year. Here is everything you need to know about UEFA EURO history.

European Championship, formally UEFA European Championship, also called Euro is a tournament held between the countries of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Among all international football tournaments, the European Championship is second in prestige to the World Cup.

UEFA stands for the “Union of European Football Associations,” and includes football teams from over 50 countries around Europe, who compete against each other to qualify.

In the first round, teams are split into groups of four. Then, they each play a match against every other team in the group, and the team with the fewest wins in each group leaves the tournament. Each team plays knock-out games until only one winner remains.

In 1960, only four teams competed in the first European Championship, but the number of teams has steadily grown ever since.

The first edition of the UEFA European Championship included only four teams of Czechoslovakia, France, Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, but it was expanded to eight teams in 1980.

The tournament has been expanded with more teams, so much so that in 2016, the UEFA Euro included 24 teams from all over the world.

Here is everything you need to know about UEFA EURO history:

The UEFA European Championship is a national men's football competition between European countries, held every four years.


The UEFA European Championship, commonly known as Euro, has existed since 1960. It ranks next to FIFA World Cup as the most prestigious completion for national teams.

The first final of the European Championship, then known as the European Nations’ Cup, took place in 1960 after two years of preliminary contests between 17 national football clubs.

In 1960, the Euro final tournament consisted of four teams, but it expanded to eight teams in 1980 and 16 teams in 1996. Currently, qualification for a European Championship begins two years before the scheduled final when all members of UEFA begin playing among themselves to earn a place in the 16-team tournament.

Though the first European Championship was held in 1960, the idea behind it is much older. It dates back to 1927, when the French Football Federation’s administrator Henri Delaunay first proposed a pan-European football tournament.

Despite the fact that he later became the first General Secretary of UEFA, Delaunay had already passed away by the time the tournament was officially started. In his honor, the tournament trophy was named after him.

The Henri Delaunay trophy contains a figure of a juggling boy on the back and the words "Championnat d'Europe,” and "Coupe Henri Delaunay" on the front. In 2008, it was remodeled to make it larger and more in line with UEFA’s more modern trophies.

The new trophy is made of sterling silver, weighs 8 kilograms (18 lb), and is 60 centimeters (24 in) tall. The names of the winning countries are now engraved on the back.

The two most successful nations in the

UEFA EURO history

are Germany and Spain, with three titles each. Spain is the only nation to successfully defend its title, having done so in 2012.

Germany has played the most matches (49), scored the most goals (72) and recorded the most victories (26). In 1984, France became the only nation to win all of its matches at a tournament (5 out of 5). In 1992, Denmark won the title with only two victories in five games.

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Over the years, the European Champions has gotten more popular with TV audiences. In 2016, the total live audience for the expanded 51-match tournament grew to 2 billion viewers. When compared to Euro 2012, this amounted to an increase of 100 million.

These totals were mostly raised by audiences in Brazil and China, where the 1300 GMT slot had a big impact. The final match between Portugal and France attracted 600 million people.

According to the UEFA EURO winners history, there have been nine countries that have won the tournament: Germany and Spain with three titles, France with two titles while Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Greece have one title each. Spain is the only country to win consecutive titles, in 2008 and 2012.

The UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the UEFA European Championship and informally as the Euros, is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), determining the continental champion of Europe.

Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are often referred to in the form "UEFA Euro [year]"; this format has since been retroactively applied to earlier tournaments.

Based on the

UEFA EURO hosts history

, prior to 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, but were not obliged to do so.

Based on the UEFA EURO winners history, the 15 European Championship tournaments have been won by ten national teams: Germany and Spain each have won three titles, France has two titles, and the Soviet Union, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Portugal have won one title each. To date, Spain is the only team in UEFA EURO 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.

UEFA EURO hosts history

The most recent championship, hosted by France in 2016, was won by Portugal, who beat France 1–0 in the final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis after extra time. The final also averaged 284 million viewers which is the second most viewed game in UEFA EURO history.

According to UEFA EURO hosts history, the first and the last host has been France so far.

  • 1960: France

  • 1964: Spain

  • 1968: Italy

  • 1972: Belgium

  • 1976: Yugoslavia

  • 1980: Italy

  • 1984: France

  • 1988: West Germany

  • 1992: Sweden

  • 1996: England

  • 2000: Belgium and Netherlands

  • 2004: Portugal

  • 2008: Austria and Switzerland

  • 2012: Poland and Ukraine

  • 2016: France


2016: The final phase included group play with six groups, which two or three teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.

1996-2012: The final phase included group play with four groups, which two teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.

1984-1992: The final phase included group play with two groups, which two teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of semi-finals and a final.

1980: No semi-finals were played. Based on the UEFA EURO champions list, the group winners played each other in the final and the second placed teams in the groups played a third-place match.

1960-1976: The final tournament phase consisted of semi-finals, third place game and final (five games were played in 1968 since the final were decided on a replay).


To bring you up to speed on the history of a tournament that is probably second to the World Cup in terms of international interest, here are the following essential facts.

Based on the

UEFA EURO cup history

, the idea for a European Championship of Nations was proposed by a Frenchman. In 1927, while acting in his role as secretary-general of the French Football Federation and a member of FIFA, Henri Delaunay pushed for the creation of a European Football Championship.

Working with Jules Rimet, the man who was largely behind the creation of the World Cup, Delaunay strove for the next two decades to get his idea off the ground. Eventually the qualifying stages for the first European Championships kicked off in 1958, coming unfortunately three years after Delaunay's death. To acknowledge his role in the formation of this great tournament, the trophy is named after him.

Unlike the present day European Championships, which for the first time ever will feature 24 nations this summer, the final stages of the tournament initially only included four finalists who had worked their way through two legged, home and away, qualifying rounds.

The first tournament included 17 hopeful qualifying nations, with Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and France making it through to the final stages hosted by the French.

In the Semi-Finals, Yugoslavia edged past France in a 5-4 thriller, while the Soviet Union downed Czechoslovakia 3-0 in the other match. In the final in Paris, the Soviets outlasted Yugoslavia 2-1 in extra time to capture the first European Championship.

The tournament continued in this format until 1980 when it was expanded to include 8 finalists before going up to 16 teams at Euro 96 and then finally 24 this summer.

With three titles apiece the most successful sides in the UEFA EURO history are Spain (1964, 2008, 2012) and Germany (1972, 1980, 1996). Spain are the only side to have successfully defended the Henri Delaunay trophy and will be looking to make it three in a row this summer.

After expanding to include sixteen sides in 1996, the most goals scored at a European Championships was 85 goals at Euro 2000. That tournament also holds the record of 2.74 goals per match, and featured 20 players that scored at least two goals.

Featuring several standout matches in the group and knockout stages, including Spain's 4-3 thriller over Yugoslavia in the opening round and France's last gasp 2-1 win over Italy in the Final, this tournament is widely considered to be the best one ever.

In a move that banned former UEFA President Michel Platini announced as a "romantic" one-off event to celebrate the 60th "birthday" of the European Championship competition, Euro 2020 will be held in thirteen host cities across twelve different European countries.

Set to be staged during the middle of 2020, the exact dates and how the tournament will look exactly is yet to be determined. The reaction to this proposal has been mixed to say the least.

Euro 2020 facts

This is the 16th edition of the European Championship, 60 years after the inaugural tournament in France (1960).

For the first time ever, the European Championship will be played in more than two countries. In total, 12 different countries will be hosting the 2020 tournament, with half of them welcoming a major international tournament (World Cup, European Championship) for the first time: Azerbaijan, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Scotland.

The final of the 2020 European Championship will be played at Wembley Stadium. This is the second time the London venue will be hosting the final of the tournament after 1996.

24 teams are taking part in the 2020 European Championship, with Finland the only nation to make their debut in the competition among the 20 having already qualified. A record four debuting teams made the knockout stages of the last European Championship in 2016 (Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Wales).

Since – and including – 1988, the ultimate winner of the European Championship has topped its group only three times in eight tournaments (Germany 1996, Spain 2008 & 2012), a 37.5% ratio. In 2016, Portugal became the first team to lift the trophy despite not winning a single game in the group stages (3 draws) and finishing third.

Four previous editions of the European Championship have seen the two finalists face each other in the group stages and in the final of the same tournament (1988, 1996, 2004, 2012). This has happened every eight years since 1988.

Over the last two European Championship tournaments, only one team managed to win all three of its group games in a single edition – Germany in 2012. No side managed it in 2016.

The most prolific game at the European Championship was also the first ever match in the UEFA EURO history, on 6 July 1960: nine goals were scored in a 5-4 win for Yugoslavia against France.

Three of the last six finals of the European Championship have gone to extra-time (1996, 2000, 2016). However, the only Euro final to go to penalties was in 1976, with Czechoslovakia the victors (2-2 a.e.t., 5-3 pens vs West Germany).

Germany, Spain and France have won 53% of the European Championship (8 out of 15). Germany and Spain are also the only teams to have won it on three occasions.

Portugal will attempt to become only the second team to win back-to-back European Championship after Spain (2008, 2012). They are also the only team to have reached the knockout stages of the tournament in each of the last six editions, a run stretching back to the 1996 tournament.

France will attempt to become the fourth team to win back-to-back World Cup and European Championship – in no particular order – after West Germany (Euro 1972, World Cup 1974), France (World Cup 1998, Euro 2000) and Spain (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012).

France’s 14 goals (in 5 games) at Euro 1984 is the most registered by a team in a European Championship tournament.

No team has played as many games as England in the European Championship without ever reaching the final (31 matches, 0 final).

UEFA EURO Top goalscorers and managers

UEFA EURO winners history

shows that these players have made most goals in European Championship:

Michel Platini (9 goals),

Christiano Ronaldo

(9 goals), Alan Shearer (7 goals), Henry Thierry (6 goals),

Zlatan Ibrahimović

(6 goals), Patrick Kluivert (6 goals), Nuno Gomez (6) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (6 goals).

The top scorer in a single Euro is Michel Platini – the French midfielder scored nine goals in the 1984 edition, leading France to the trophy for the first time ever. He found the net in all five of France’s games, including back-to-back hat-tricks in the group stages and the opening goal in the final.

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most games (21), most goals (9, joint with Michel Platini) and most editions with at least one goal (4) at the European Championship. The Portuguese forward is also the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments, World Cup and Euro combined (38, joint with Bastian Schweinsteiger).

Since 1980, only Czech Republic’s Karel Poborsky (6) has delivered more assists than Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (5) at the European Championship. The record for most assists in a tournament since 1980 belongs to Ljubinko Drulovic for FR Yugoslavia in 2000 (4), Wales’ Aaron Ramsey in 2016 (4) and Belgium’s Eden Hazard in 2016 (4).

France’s Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in more goals (14) than any other European player over the last two major tournaments: 10 goals + four assists in 14 games at Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018. Eight of those goals and all four assists were in the knockout stages.

Spain’s Fernando Torres is the only player to score in two finals at the European Championship (2008 and 2012).

This is Joachim Low’s seventh major tournament (World Cup + Euro) as Germany head coach, setting a new record for the Nationalmannschaft. He has taken charge of 17 European Championship games, also a record. Low has led Germany to the semi-finals in five of his six previous tournaments, with the only exception coming at World Cup 2018 (k/o in group stages).

If France’s Didier Deschamps lifts the trophy at Euro 2020, he would become the first person ever to win the World Cup and European Championship both as player and manager.

Didier Deschamps (France) and Ronald Koeman (Netherlands) are the only managers at Euro 2020 to have won the tournament as players.

The 16th edition of UEFA Euro Championship is all set to be played in 2020 and 24 teams to compete in the tournament. There are some interesting and fast facts about Euro 2020 that we’ll find through this post.

UEFA EURO logo history

Talking about

the UEFA EURO logo history

, it should be mentioned that the first seven times the European Championships were held from 1968 to 1992, the logos were very similar. Each of the logos included the flag of the respective venue and the year of play.

In 1996, the Euros returned to the motherland: England.

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The soccer ball is subdivided in such a way as to represent a player kicking a ball.

In 2016, for the first time in UEFA EURO logo history, the trophy was part of the Euros’ logo. The color combination of blue, red, and white represented France, the host country.

This new logo was much more modern and subtle than its predecessors. There was no ball, no player, no obvious or traditional country symbols.

Circles, stars and arches are reminiscent of a smiling face. But even after prolonged viewing is not clear how the individual picture elements are thematically related to each other. The logo can be interpreted in different ways.

UEFA EURO balls history

indicates that since the EURO 1968 in Italy, Adidas has been the official ball maker of the European Football Championship.

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Some quick facts about the UEFA EURO cup history:

The UEFA European Championship is played in two parts. First part is the qualifying round in which all the teams except the host nation play to qualify for the tournament and the second part, in which teams play in the actual tournament which is organized every four years in different European nations.

This tournament was the brainchild of the former UEFA President, Henri Delaunay and the first tournament was held in 1960 in which only four teams participated. All these four teams were qualified from a knockout tournament played two years before the tournament.

The first tournament was almost cancelled because the lack of support and many countries were too late to apply for the participation.

The current name ‘UEFA European Championship’ was adopted in the year 1968. This year, even knock out tournament was replaced by the current qualifying round.

On the

UEFA EURO champions list

, there are ten different winners till now of the UEFA European Championship. Germany and Spain have won it thrice. Germany has won the championship as West Germany in 1972 and in 1980 and as Germany in 1996. Spain is the only country which has won the tournament twice in a row.

The tournament was expanded from 4 to 8 to 16 and now to 24 teams will participate in Euro 2016 to be played in France.

Denmark failed to qualify for the 1992 edition, but then there was a civil war broke out in Yugoslavia hence Denmark replaced them as a special invitee in the final tournament and the story doesn’t stop here, Denmark actually went on to win the Championship!

There are total 46 countries who take part in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA European Championship, which starts, at least 2 years before the actual tournament.

A qualifying game between England and Scotland in the 1968 competition witnessed the highest number of attendance in the history of the tournament. The match was held at Hampden Park and total 130, 711 spectators watched that game.

International politics too played a part in this tournament, as in 1960 the right-wing Spanish government forced the team to withdraw as it did not want their team to play against the communist USSR (Russia).

The result of the semifinal between Italy and USSR of the 1968 Championship was decided by the toss of the coin. Italy guessed it right and proceeded to the finals.

The above-mentioned was a cursory review of the UEFA EURO history to shed some light on the different aspects of it such as

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UEFA EURO cup history, UEFA EURO hosts history,

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UEFA EURO balls history, etc.


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