Just like FIFA organizes a football competition between the football playing nations across the world, every four years, UEFA too organizes a football competition between the football playing nations across the Europe continent. All the Union of European Football Associations or UEFA can participate in the qualifying rounds of this tournament. This tournament is popularly known as ‘Euro’ and the year of the tournament is always attached with it, like Euro 2008, Euro 2012, Euro 2016 and so on… let us get the details about this premier tournament, which is considered to be the next only to the FIFA World Cups.
All about UEFA European Championship – Euro Cup
Brief History about UEFA European Championship
In 1927 the French Football Federation’s secretary General Henri Delaunay proposed an inter European football tournament, but the idea remained in the cold storage till 1958 by the time Henri Delaunay was no more. But since the 1960 tournament, the first one of its kind was held in France, the trophy awarded to the Champions of the European Championship is named after Henri Delaunay and it is called the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
17 teams participated in the inaugural tournament played in 1960 and the Soviet Union became the first champions. Because of certain political reasons, England, Netherlands, West Germany and Italy did not participate in it.
In 1980 the tournament was extended to 8 teams who got their places after playing qualifying matches against different teams. The expansion process continued throughout these years and in 1996 the tournament added 8 more teams in the final shape up and it is now 16 team tournament. In 2014 when France is going to host the Euro 2016, the tournament will be further extended to 24 teams.
Qualifying Process for the UEFA European Championship – Euro
There are two ways to qualify for the UEFA European Championship, one is to finish at the top of your qualifying group and the other is by winning a play-off. The qualified teams then proceed to the host country. The host nation gets qualified for that particular tournament automatically. The qualifying rounds for this tournament start from the next autumn of the FIFA World Cup and almost two years before the final tournament.
The hosts are chosen by the bidding process just like in FIFA World Cups. Once the host nation is chosen almost 5 to 6 years before the actual tournament it starts to build the stadiums and facilities for the tournament if it is not available at that point of time. During the tournament four groups are created and in each four teams play against each other once. Six groups are likely to be inducted for the Euro 2016 as more teams are going to be the part of it. The top team and the runners up from each group then qualifies for the quarter finals and winners of quarter finals play in two semi finals and winners of the semi finals then play for the trophy.