Popularly known as the ‘Euros’, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) conducts the UEFA European Football Championships in order to determine Europe’s continental champion. The European extravaganza, is conducted every four years and the continental tournament’s inception was in 1960. The Euros was scheduled in such a way that it did not contrast with the FIFA World Cup. The Euros are held in various countries which are a part of Europe and the hosts of the Euros, automatically qualify, while the rest of the nations, have to qualify to enter the tournament.
A total of 55 nations compete to qualify and only a total of 24 nations registers themselves in the tournament. The Euros are conducted every four years, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the tournament was postponed to 2021. So, this year, the Euros are scheduled to be held from June 11 to July 11, 2021.
The awaited Euros, saw only four nations qualify for the tournament before 1980. To build competition and bring in more viewers and fans, the total number of teams qualifying for the tournament was later expanded to 8. In 1996, the decision was passed to expand the qualifying teams to 16 as other nations introduced their own respective leagues.
In 2007, the UEFA committee decided to expand the tournament participants from 16 to 24 due to the increase in the number of football associations in the continent from 2012 onwards, but was declined at the time by UEFA’s executive committee. In 2008, the vote was passed that the tournament participants would be increased from 16 to 24 from the 2016 Euros onwards.
At the time around 2005, Scotland, The Republic of Ireland, Israel and Kazakhstan were allowed to participate and qualify for the tournament. From 2016 onwards, the tournament will host 24 nations from 16.
In the history of the Euros, since being founded in 1958 and the maiden tournament being played in 1960, a total of 15 Euros have been played so far. The 16th tournament commencing from June 11 this year. Till date, the most successful teams have been Germany and Spain, who have won the tournament three times each.
For the first time in the history of the Euros, the tournament will be hosted in 11 cities in the continent which spreads from London to Munich to Copenhagen to Budapest. This year’s tournament is expected to be one of the greatest, given the different venues in different nations and with 24 nations playing in the tournament. With fans returning to the stadiums, fans are patiently awaiting the return of international football.
The defending champions, Portugal, are clubbed in Group F, which also comprises of heavyweights France, Germany and Hungary, and only two nations can qualify for the round of 16.
A true spectacle to witness, the Euros will create history this year as millions of fan await the commencement of the Euros 2021.