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History Of UEFA European Football Championship
First played in 1960 under the name UEFA European Nations Cup, the idea of this popular European football league was first proposed by Henri Delaunay in 1927, who was a member of the French Football Federation. Finally, in 1960, his dream became a reality and the tournament was held in France. In his honor, the tournament trophy was named the Henri Deluanay Trophy. 17 teams took part, three of which did not play – West Germany, England and Italy. Among the 14 remaining teams, the USSR made it to the final and won the tournament’s first trophy by outsmarting Yugoslavia 2–1.
Then in 1968 the name of this tournament was changed to European Football Championship and from 1992 this tournament became popular as Euro. It is held once every four years; statistical reports show that it is the third most popular sports tournament in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. 13 tournaments have been played so far and this Euro 2012 is the 14th session. The most successful team in this tournament is Germany, who have been to the finals six times and won the championship title three times.
In 1964, Spain hosted the tournament with 29 teams participating. The host team managed to win the championship by defeating the last champion USSR 2:1.
In 1968, the name of the tournament was reformulated, but the format remained the same with two new teams. The championship, held in Italy, also went to the host nation, beating Yugoslavia 2-0 in a replay. The most notable incident that year was the coin toss that decided the semi-final match. This coin toss was the first and only incident in the history of the euro.
Belgium hosted in 1972, when West Germany (now Germany) won the final, defeating the Soviet Union 3–0.
The 1976 tournament was held in Yugoslavia and that was the last year that two things ended – the host team had to be in the final and four teams qualified for the final. That year is also notable for the newly introduced penalty shootout. Czechoslovakia won the final.
Another tournament in 1980 was organized in a new format in Italy. The concept of a group was created and eight teams participated in it, the winners of which advanced to the playoffs and then to the finals. West Germany won once more and it was their second championship title.
In 1984, the concept of semi-finals also appeared, giving this tournament a completely new format. France won the tournament by crushing Spain 2-0. Michel Platini was then the captain of France who was the impressive player of the tournament. He scored 9 goals in 5 matches.
West Germany, two-time champions, hosted the tournament in 1988, where the Netherlands defeated the hosts to win the championship. This year is still considered a famous year in football history as Marco van Basten scored a spectacular goal over the goalkeeper from the right wing.
Then in Sweden in 1992, when the European Football Championship became Euro 1992 for the first time! Denmark won the league by defeating a united Germany 2–0. Yugoslavia could not participate in the tournament that year because it was in a state of war.
16 teams participated in UEFA Euro 1996, which was held in England. Germany knocked out the newly formed Czechia 2:1 and took home another championship trophy for the third time. But it was a first for a unified Germany.
Belgium and the Netherlands hosted Euro 2000 when France was the emperor of football. As the whole world expected, France once again managed to retain their position as champions by defeating Italy 2-1.
The UEFA Euro 2004 Champions Trophy held in Portugal was won by Greece defeating the host team 1-0 in the final.
Switzerland and Austria, again two countries, hosted UEFA Euro 2008, where Spain beat Germany 1-0 in the final to become champions.
Finally 2012! This year, the tournament will be hosted by Ukraine and Poland, with 16 teams from four groups, each group having four teams. The Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Russia are from Group A, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Holland are from Group B, Croatia, Spain, Italy and Ireland are from Group C and England, France, Sweden and Ukraine are from Group D. That the exciting tournament will start on June 8, 2012 and will last until July 1, 2012.
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