UEFA European Football Championship: Wikis


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UEFA European Football Championship
Founded 1960
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams 53 (qualifiers)
16 (finals)
Current champions  Spain (2nd title)
Most successful team  Germany (3 titles)

The UEFA European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men's national football teams governed by UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations). Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UEFA European Nations Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Specific championships are often referred to in the form "Euro 2008" or whichever year is appropriate.

Prior to entering the tournament all teams other than the host nations (which qualify automatically) compete in a qualifying process. The championship winners earn the opportunity to compete in the following FIFA Confederations Cup, but are not obliged to do so.[1]



The idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the French Football Federation's Henri Delaunay in 1927, however it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started. In honour of Delaunay, the trophy awarded to the champions is named after him. The 1960 tournament, held in France, had 4 teams competing in the finals, out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the Soviet Union, beating Yugoslavia 2–1 in a tense final in Paris. Spain withdrew from its quarter-final match against the USSR due to political protests. Of the 17 teams that entered the qualifying tournament, notable absentees were England, West Germany and Italy.

Spain held the next tournament in 1964, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering; however, Greece withdrew after being drawn against Albania, with whom they were still at war. The hosts beat the title holders, the Soviet Union, 2–1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in 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 (the semi-final against the 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 USSR 3–0 in the final in 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 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 beat West Germany in the newly introduced penalty shootout, with Antonín Panenka's famous chipped shot.

Eight teams took part 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 2–1 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

France won their first major title at home in the 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 was also abolished.

West Germany hosted UEFA Euro 1988, and the Netherlands beat the hosts—and traditional rivals—2–1 in the semi-finals, which sparked vigorous celebrations in the Netherlands. The Netherlands went on to win the tournament, beating the USSR 2–0 at the Olympia Stadion in Munich, a match in which 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 was held in Sweden, and was won by Denmark, 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 were at a state of war with each other, this state being knowns as the Yugoslav wars from 1990 on. However, the Danes produced a shock, beating world champion Germany 2–0, having beaten holders the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals. 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.

England hosted UEFA Euro 1996 and would see the number of teams taking part double to 16. The hosts, in a replay of the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-final, were knocked out on penalties by Germany, who would go on to win in the final 2–1 against the newly-formed Czech Republic thanks to the first golden goal ever in a major tournament, scored by Oliver Bierhoff. This was Germany's first title as a unified nation.

UEFA Euro 2000 was the first tournament to be held by two countries, the Netherlands and Belgium. France, the reigning world champion, was favored to win, and they lived up to expectations when they beat Italy 2–1 after extra time, having come from being 1–0 down: Sylvain Wiltord equalized in the very last minute of the game and David Trezeguet scored the winner in extra time.

UEFA Euro 2004, like 1992, produced an upset: Greece, who had only qualified for one World Cup (1994) and one European Championship (1980) before, beat host Portugal 1–0 in the final (after having also beaten them in the opening game) to win a tournament that they had been given odds of 150–1 to win before it began. On their way to the final 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. It commenced on 7 June and finished on 29 June. The final between Germany and Spain was held at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna. Spain defeated Germany 1–0, sparking much celebration across the country. This is their first title since the 1964 tournament.


The Henri Delaunay Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the European Football Championship, is named in honor of Henri Delaunay, the first General Secretary of UEFA, who came up with the idea of a European championship but died five years prior to the first tournament in 1960. His son Pierre Delaunay was in charge of making the trophy.[2] Since the first tournament it has been awarded to the winning team for them to keep for four years, until the next tournament.

For the 2008 tournament, the trophy was slightly remodelled, making it larger. The trophy, which is made of sterling silver, now weighs 8 kilograms and is 60 centimeters tall. A small figure juggling a ball on the back of the original was removed, as was the marble plinth. The silver base of the trophy had to be enlarged to make it stable. The names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plinth have now been engraved on the back of the trophy.[3][4]



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, and in 2016 will increase to 24 teams. The competing teams are chosen by a series of qualifying games: in 1960 and 1964 through home and away play-offs; from 1968 through a combination of both 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, the host country, or countries, have been chosen beforehand and qualify automatically.

The defending champions have never been granted an automatic place in the finals.


In order 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 seeding. Seeded teams include reigning champions, and other teams on the basis of their performance in the preceding FIFA World Cup qualifying and the last European Football 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:

  1. Coefficient from the matches played in its most recent qualifying competition.
  2. Average goal difference.
  3. Average number of goals scored.
  4. Average number of away goals scored.
  5. 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 the 2008 European Football Championship, the group qualifying phase consists of seven groups; one of eight teams and the remainder of seven teams each.

The qualifying phase is done in groups. Each group is played in a league format with teams playing each other home and away. Teams then either qualify for the final tournament or to further playoffs depending on their position in the group. As with most leagues, 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:

  1. Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question.
  2. Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question.
  3. Higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question.
  4. Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question.
  5. Results of all group matches:
    1. Superior goal difference
    2. Higher number of goals scored
    3. Higher number of goals scored away from home
    4. Fair play conduct.
  6. Drawing of lots.

Final tournament

Sixteen teams progress to the final tournament; for the 2008 tournament, they will be the winners and runners up of the seven qualifying groups and joint hosts Austria and Switzerland. These sixteen teams are divided equally into four groups, A, B, C and D, each consisting of four teams. The groups are drawn up by the UEFA administration, again using seeding. The seeded teams being the host nations, the reigning champions, subject to qualification, and those with the best points per game coefficients over the qualifying phase of the tournament and the previous World Cup qualifying. Other finalists will be assigned to by means of a draw, using coefficients as a basis.

The four 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 progresses to the quarter-finals, 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 are employed to separate the two teams. This tournament, unlike the FIFA World Cup does not have a 3rd place play-off.


Bids for future tournaments

On 18 April 2007, Poland and Ukraine were selected to co-host the 2012 competition. They beat competition from Italy and a joint bid from Croatia and Hungary.

In 2010, UEFA will decide which country will host Euro 2016. The final deadline for applications was the 9th of March 2009, and single bids were made by France, Italy, and Turkey, with Norway and Sweden entering a joint bid.[5]

Both Bulgaria and Romania,[6] and the Czech Republic and Slovakia[7] are considering joint bids for Euro 2020.

Expansion to 24 teams

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 breakups of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the USSR and the inclusion of many Asian based countries. The new president of 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,[1] Platini indicated in June 2008 that UEFA will increase participation from 16 to 24 teams in future tournaments, starting from 2016.[2] 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.[8]


Year Host Final Third place match
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
1960  France
Soviet Union


1964  Spain
Soviet Union


1968  Italy
1–1 aet
2–0 replay


Soviet Union
1972  Belgium
West Germany
Soviet Union

1976  Yugoslavia
2–2 aet
(5–3) ps

West Germany


1980  Italy
West Germany

(9–8) ps

Year Host Final Losing semi-finalists (2)
Winner Score Runner-up
1984  France
 Denmark and  Portugal
1988  West Germany
Soviet Union
 Italy and  West Germany
1992  Sweden
 Netherlands and  Sweden
1996  England

Czech Republic
 England and  France
2000  Belgium &


 Netherlands and  Portugal
2004  Portugal
 Czech Republic and  Netherlands
2008  Austria &

 Russia and  Turkey
1No extra time played.
2No third place match has been played since 1984; losing semi-finalists are listed in alphabetical order.

Winners and finalists

In all, 27 nations have appeared at least once in the final tournament.[9] Of these, only twelve have made it to the final match, and nine of them have won it at least once. With three titles, Germany is the most successful European Championship team. No team has ever won consecutive titles.

Map of winning countries
Team Titles Runners-up
 Germany^ 3 (1972, 1980, 1996) 3 (1976, 1992, 2008)
 Spain 2 (1964*, 2008) 1 (1984)
 France 2 (1984*, 2000)
 Russia 1 (1960) 3 (1964, 1972, 1988)
 Czech Republic 1 (1976) 1 (1996)
 Italy 1 (1968*) 1 (2000)
 Netherlands 1 (1988)
 Denmark 1 (1992)
 Greece 1 (2004)
 Serbia# 2 (1960, 1968)
 Belgium 1 (1980)
 Portugal 1 (2004*)
* = hosts
^ = includes results as West Germany up to and including 1988
= Russia is designated by FIFA and UEFA as the inheritor of the record of USSR until 1990.[10]
= Czech Republic is designated by UEFA as the inheritor of the continental record of Czechoslovakia until 1993.[11]
# = Serbia is designated by FIFA and UEFA as the inheritor of the record of Yugoslavia until 1991.[12]


Rainer Bonhof is the only player with three medals, and the only player with two gold medals. He was in the West Germany squad in 1972 (gold), 1976 (silver), and 1980 (gold). He played finals matches only in 1976.

The following have played in two final matches:

Final tournament appearances

Number of appearances by country
Appearances Country
10  Germany1
9  Russia2
8  Netherlands
7  Czech Republic3
5  Portugal
 Serbia[13] 4
4  Belgium
3  Greece
2  Bulgaria
1  Austria
 Republic of Ireland

1:Includes 5 appearances as West Germany

2:Includes 5 appearances of the USSR and 1 of the CIS

3:Includes 3 appearances of Czechoslovakia

4:Includes 4 appeatances of Yugoslavia

Total hosts

Map of countries' times hosted
Hosts Nations (Year(s))
2  Belgium (1972, 20001)
 France (1960, 1984)
 Italy (1968, 1980)
1  Austria (20082)
 England (1996)
West Germany Germany (1988)
 Netherlands (20001)
 Portugal (2004)
 Spain (1964)
 Sweden (1992)
 Switzerland (20082)
 SFR Yugoslavia (1976)
  • 1: Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosted Euro 2000.
  • 2: Austria and Switzerland co-hosted Euro 2008.


Overall top goalscorers (finals tournaments)

Player Goals
France Michel Platini 9
England Alan Shearer 7
Portugal Nuno Gomes
France Thierry Henry
Netherlands Patrick Kluivert
Netherlands Ruud van Nistelrooy
Czech Republic Milan Baroš
Germany Jürgen Klinsmann
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Savo Milošević
Netherlands Marco van Basten
France Zinédine Zidane

Top scorers by tournament

Year Player Goals
1960 France François Heutte
Soviet Union Valentin Ivanov
Soviet Union Viktor Ponedelnik
Yugoslavia Milan Galić
Yugoslavia Dražan Jerković
1964 Spain Jesús María Pereda
Hungary Ferenc Bene
Hungary Dezső Novák
1968 Yugoslavia Dragan Džajić 2
1972 Germany Gerd Müller 4
1976 Germany Dieter Müller 4
1980 West Germany Klaus Allofs 3
1984 France Michel Platini 9
1988 Netherlands Marco van Basten 5
1992 Denmark Henrik Larsen
Germany Karlheinz Riedle
Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp
Sweden Tomas Brolin
1996 England Alan Shearer 5
2000 Netherlands Patrick Kluivert
Yugoslavia Savo Milošević
2004 Czech Republic Milan Baroš 5
2008 Spain David Villa 4


A hat-trick is achieved when the same player scores three or more goals in one match. Listed in chronological order.

Player Result Goals Tournament Round
Dieter Müller West Germany 4–2 Yugoslavia 82', 115' (e.t.), 119'(e.t.) Euro 1976 Semi-finals
Klaus Allofs West Germany 3–2 Netherlands 20', 60', 65' Euro 1980 Group stage
Michel Platini France 5–0 Belgium 4', 74', 89' Euro 1984 Group stage
Michel Platini France 3–2 Yugoslavia 59', 62', 77' Euro 1984 Group stage
Marco van Basten Netherlands 3–1 England 44', 71', 75' Euro 1988 Group stage
Sérgio Conceição Portugal 3–0 Germany 35', 54', 71' Euro 2000 Group stage
Patrick Kluivert Netherlands 6–1 Yugoslavia 24', 38', 54' Euro 2000 Quarter-finals
David Villa Spain 4–1 Russia 20', 44', 75' Euro 2008 Group stage

Most tournaments played

Played Name Tournaments
4 Germany Lothar Matthäus 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000
4 Denmark Peter Schmeichel 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
4 Netherlands Aron Winter 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
4 France Lilian Thuram 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
4 Netherlands Edwin van der Sar 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
4 Italy Alessandro Del Piero 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008

Championship victories in bold

Most matches played

Matches Name
16 Netherlands Edwin van der Sar
France Lilian Thuram
14 Portugal Luís Figo
Portugal Nuno Gomes
Czech Republic Karel Poborský
France Zinédine Zidane

Participation details

Map of countries' best results
Team France
 Germany1 1st 2nd 1st 1R SF 2nd 1st 1R 1R 2nd 10
 Russia2 1st 2nd 4th 2nd 2nd 1R 1R 1R SF 9
 Spain 1st 1R 2nd 1R QF QF 1R 1st 8
 Netherlands 3rd 1R 1st SF QF SF SF QF 8
 Czech Republic3 3rd 1st 3rd 2nd 1R SF 1R 7
 Denmark 4th SF 1R 1st 1R 1R QF 7
 England 3rd 1R 1R 1R SF 1R QF 7
 France 4th 1st 1R SF 1st QF 1R 7
 Italy 1st 4th SF 1R 2nd 1R QF 7
 Yugoslavia4 2nd 2nd 4th 1R DQ QF 5
 Portugal SF QF SF 2nd QF 5
 Belgium 3rd 2nd 1R 1R 4
 Romania 1R 1R QF 1R 4
 Sweden SF 1R QF 1R 4
 Greece 1R 1st 1R 3
 Croatia QF 1R QF 3
 Switzerland 1R 1R 1R 3
 Turkey 1R QF SF 3
 Bulgaria 1R 1R 2
 Hungary 3rd 4th 2
 Scotland 1R 1R 2
 Austria 1R 1
 Republic of Ireland 1R 1
 Latvia 1R 1
 Norway 1R 1
 Poland 1R 1
 Slovenia 1R 1
  • 1st – Champions
  • 2nd – Runners-up
  • 3rd – Third place
  • 4th – Fourth place
  • SF – Semifinals
  • QF – Quarter Finals
  • 1R – First Round
  • Q – Qualified
  • DQ – Disqualified
  • 1: includes results as West Germany up to and including 1988
  • 2: includes results representing USSR up to 1988, and CIS in 1992
  • 3: includes results representing Czechoslovakia up to 1992

General Statistics

Team P W D L GF GA Dif
 West Germany (1960–1988)
 Germany (1992–)
38 19 10 9 55 39 +16
 Netherlands 32 17 8 7 55 32 +23
 France 28 14 7 7 46 34 +12
 Spain 30 13 9 8 38 31 +7
 Portugal 23 12 4 7 34 22 +12
 Italy 27 11 12 4 27 18 +9
 Czechoslovakia (1960–1980)
 Czech Republic (1996–)
25 11 5 9 36 32 +4
 Soviet Union (1960–1988)
 CIS (1992)
 Russia (1996–)
27 11 5 11 31 36 −5
 England 23 7 7 9 31 28 +3
 Denmark 24 6 6 12 26 38 −12
 Croatia 11 5 3 3 14 13 +1
 Sweden 14 4 5 5 19 16 +3
 Greece 12 4 2 6 9 13 −4
 Belgium 12 4 2 6 13 20 −7
 Turkey 12 3 2 7 11 18 −7
 Yugoslavia (1960–1984)
Serbia and Montenegro FR Yugoslavia (2000)
14 3 2 9 22 39 −17
 Scotland 6 2 1 3 4 5 −1
 Romania 13 1 4 8 8 17 −9
 Switzerland 9 1 2 6 5 13 −8
 Republic of Ireland 3 1 1 1 2 2 0
 Norway 3 1 1 1 1 1 0
 Bulgaria 6 1 1 4 4 13 −9
 Hungary 4 1 0 3 5 6 −1
 Slovenia 3 0 2 1 4 5 −1
 Austria 3 0 1 2 1 3 −2
 Poland 3 0 1 2 1 4 −3
 Latvia 3 0 1 2 1 5 −4

Last updated: 29 June 2008.

General statistics with qualifications 1958–2008

Team W D L GF GA
 Spain 77 25 25 272 108
 Netherlands 75 22 21 251 95
 Czechoslovakia (1960–1992)
 Czech Republic (1996–)
74 24 23 240 101
 Soviet Union (1960–1988)
 CIS (1992)
 Russia (1996–)
71 30 26 228 113
 West Germany (1960–1988)
 Germany (1992–)
71 29 16 234 84
 France 67 30 23 237 115
 Italy 60 37 18 178 81
 Portugal 60 26 26 190 104
 England 58 28 19 203 77
 Romania 52 29 27 192 107
 Yugoslavia (1960–1992)
Serbia and Montenegro FR Yugoslavia (1996–2000)
Serbia and Montenegro Serbia & Montenegro (2004)
 Serbia (2008–)
52 23 25 187 123
 Denmark 50 27 44 185 162
 Scotland 47 22 29 139 102
 Bulgaria 46 23 32 149 108
 Greece 48 19 35 147 117
 Sweden 45 24 27 140 95
 Belgium 42 23 31 138 112
 Republic of Ireland 38 29 33 143 122
 Hungary 41 21 41 166 143
 Poland 38 25 30 132 104
 Turkey 37 23 40 118 144
 Norway 33 19 45 124 139
 Switzerland 30 22 31 122 111
 Austria 33 14 36 147 128
 Croatia 31 12 8 91 40
 East Germany 20 12 14 76 57
 Ukraine 16 13 13 56 48
 Slovenia 16 12 19 57 64
 Latvia 17 7 21 53 62
 Belarus 8 6 24 33 66
 Kazakhstan 2 4 8 11 21
 Montenegro 0 0 0 0 0
 Andorra 0 0 30 6 88
 San Marino 0 0 46 6 200

Last updated: 31 June 2008.

See also


  1. ^ http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/federation/releases/newsid=95756.html
  2. ^ Michael Harold, 'You won't find a superior trophy', UEFA.com, 27 January 2006
  3. ^ New trophy for UEFA EURO 2008, UEFA.com, 23 January 2007
  4. ^ euro2008.uefa.com - Home Page
  5. ^ UEFA - Four candidates signal UEFA EURO 2016 interest
  6. ^ Bulgaria, Romania discussing joint Euro 2020 bid
  7. ^ Euro 2020 - La Tchéco-Slovaquie intéressée
  8. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/internationals/7636495.stm
  9. ^ Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and Serbia are designated by FIFA and UEFA to be the inheritors of the record of Czechoslovakia, West Germany, USSR/CIS and Yugoslavia respectively.
  10. ^ http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=rus/index.html
  11. ^ http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/countries/association=58837/index.html http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/countries/association=58836/index.html
  12. ^ http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=srb/ranking/gender=m/index.html
  13. ^ Does not include Euro 1992 qualification and disqualification due to international sanctions

External links


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