The UEFA European Championship, most commonly known as the Euro Cup, is the biggest football competition between nations of the European zone. The winner is considered the champion of Europe in a 4 year cycle.
The UEFA Euro Cup is the second most watched sports tournament in the world right after the World Cup, in 2012 more than 300 million people watched the event.
Before going into the Euro Cup history in full these basic info should be of help.
How is the UEFA Euro Cup Played
The Euro Cup is traditionally held every 4 years since 1960, and 2 years after the World Cup. It differs from other continental cups for having a vast number of participants, so the year before the official tournament a qualifying stage takes place to decide which national teams from Europe will participate.
The only national team that does not need to compete in the qualifying stage is the host nation, who qualifies automatically.
The winner of the Euro Cup earns the right to compete in the following FIFA Confederations Cup, which joins all the winners from all continental tournaments the year after the Euro Cup.
Euro Cup Ranking
9 national teams have won the 14 Euro Cups since its beginning.
|Team||Euro Cups Won|
Spain is the present champion after winning its first Euro Cup in 2008 by beating Italy 4 – 0 in Kiev, and then winning the World Cup in 2010. After its horrible exit in the early stages of the World Cup 2014, won by Germany, the Germans became the new super-power and present favorites to win the UEFA Euro Cup 2016.
UEFA Euro Cup 2016
The Euro 2016 will be played in France and the qualifying stage takes place in mid-year 2015.This will be the first time 24 teams play in the group stages, previously it was only 18.
UEFA Euro Cup Tickets
To buy tickets for the Euro Cup those who want to attend need to subscribe on the UEFA draw one year before the event during the months of June and July.
The cheapest ticket for the Euro is 25 Euros, a full list of prices, ticket types, seating options and how to buy them can be found on our UEFA Euro Cup Tickets section.
Euro Cup Betting
The Euro Cup is one of the most watched and expected events in the world, mostly on Europe. More than 300 million people shift on their seats to watch the final games, and that means flocks of bettors ready to place a bet online.
The best way to bet on the Euro Cup is to join an international betting site early on. It is always smart to place a future bet on who the winner of the Euro could be.
In order to manage your Pre Match and Inplay bets appropriately we suggest you read our Euro Cup betting tips as to:
- Follow the best social media tipsters
- Learn how to filter the best possible bets
- How to research and evaluate a bet odds of winning
- Money managements tips
Early Beginnings – The Cold War Euro Cup
The idea of the Euro Cup was proposed by French Football secretary general Henri Delaunay in 1927. He dreamed of a continental tournament, but it wasn´t until 1960 that the first Euro Cup took place, a couple of years after his death. In his memory the trophy of the tournament has been named “The Delaunay Trophy”.
The first edition of the Euro Cup was not an easy one considering the political tensions of the time with the Berlin Wall and Cold War. England, The Netherlands, West Germany and Italy refused to enter the qualifying stage and did not participate in the tournament all together, probably because of the Soviet Union´s participation.
Spain withdrew in the quarter-finals against the Soviet Union as a political protest.
These events cleared the path for the Soviets to beat Yugoslavia in an intense final 2-1 and becoming the first Champions of Europe, and their last.
1964 Euro Cup – Western Payback
The next tournament was held in Spain and this time 29 national teams entered the competition. Only West Germany and Greece decided not to participate, the first as a political protest and the Greece because it ended in the same group as Albania, with whom it was at war at the time.
The final saw once again the Soviet Union as a finalist, but local Spain beat them 2-1 in Madrid. This time Spain fought instead of withdrawing.
1968 Euro Cup – A Double Final and a Coin Toss Match
The 1968 edition was played in Italy were a historical moment in football happened for the first and only time, a match was decided with a coin toss.
The Soviet Union lost this coin toss in the semi-finals losing once again the chance of being the undisputed champions of the Euro Cup.
Another historical moment happened in the final, were Italy and Yugoslavia ended in a draw and the final went into replay. In the second final Italy won 2-0.
1972 – The Soviets 3rd Final
The 1972 edition was hosted by Belgium which saw the Soviet Union once more in the final game vs Western Germany. West Germany would begin its rise as a football super power by beating the Soviets 3 – 0 and then winning the 1974 World Cup.
1976 – The New UEFA Cup
1976 was a key moment for FIFA and modern football as the penalty kicks were introduced in replacement of the replay game. More changes followed in the tournament structure to what it is today.
Yugoslavia was the host of this edition that saw Czechoslovakia and West Germany in the final. The game moved to penalty kicks and after 7 scored shots Germany lost one. Antonín Panenka from Czechoslovakian scored what was known as “the most famous spot kick of all time”, and brought the title to his country.
Antonín Panenka Penalty Goal Euro Cup 1976
1980 Euro Cup – 8 Team Tournament
In the Italian 1980 Euro Cup the tournament began to include 8 teams after the qualifying stage, with two group stages that would advance the two winners into the final and the runner-ups for the third place.
West Germany would rise once more with a second title after defeating Belgium 2-1 with a late goal in the last 2 minutes.
1984 – The Rise of Michel Platini
France hosted the 1984 tournament with a young Michel Platini who feasted the local crowd with 9 goals in just 5 games. France rose to power beating Spain 2-0 in the final, all thanks to Platini and his incredible striking skills.
Platini Euro Cup 1985 Best Goals:
The tournament structure began to include a second phase after the group stages from this point on.
UEFA 1988 – One of the Most Memorable Goals in History
West Germany was the host this time and almost made it to the final game but lost to their eternal rivals the Netherlands 2-1 in the semi-finals. A game the Netherlands will never forget after the full day celebration.
The Netherlands faced the Soviet Union once more in the final game, the Soviets had won the first edition of the tournament and since then had reach the final stages of the Euro Cup almost every time, but never again did it take the trophy home.
Netherlands won the 1988 UEFA 2-0 against the Soviet Union in Munich. A memorable game for the ages after Marco van Basten scored one of the best goals in football history, a volley over the keeper from the right wing. USSR would claim a place in the Euro Cup history as the biggest Runner Up.
Marco Van Basten goal against USSR Euro Cup 1988:
UEFA Euro Cup 1992 – Denmark Rises after the Berlin Wall Fall
The 1992 edition was held in Sweden and won by Denmark after it walked through the group phase after Yugoslavia got kicked out of the tournament for being in a civil war. The Danish faced the title defenders, the Netherlands, in semi-finals through penalty kicks.
The Danish were on fire and took their first ever major title after beating a unified Germany and World Champion in the final 2-0.
UEFA Euro Cup 1996 – England as a Host
Once again the Euro Cup made some modifications to its structure and accepted 16 national teams to play in the group stages. The tournament was played in England, and the English were strongly hopeful to seeing their national team making it to the final game.
But once again the Lion had to tuck its tail in semi-finals after losing against the mighty Germany in penalties. Germany played the final against the Czech Republic and scored the first ever golden goal after the game moved to extra time. This was Germany´s first major title as a whole nation and their third Euro Cup.
UEFA Euro Cup 2000 – Netherlands and Belgium Hosts
The Euro 2000 would be remembered as having one of the most intense finals in the history of the event.
France had become the new super power in international football with a squad conformed by the very best of football at the time:
- Thierry Henry, who played for Arsenal, the major football club at the moment.
- Zinedine Zidane
- Trezeguet etc.
France had recently won the World Cup of 1998 as the host nation and they were favorite to win the Euro Cup. The lived to their name when facing Italy in the final game and being losing 1-0 the entire game. Sylvain Wiltord equalized the game in the very last minute forcing injury time. David Trezequet scored the final goal in extra time in a final the French and Italians alike will never forget.
France vs Italy Euro Cup Final 2000:
UEFA Euro Cup 2004 – The Biggest Upset in Euro Cup History, Greece Wins
Greece, a national team that had only qualified for the Euro Cup a single time in its history and just once to the World Cup, became champions after beating the hosts Portugal 1 – 0. This is considered on of the biggest upsets in the Euro Cup history.
The odds of Greece winning the Euro Cup in 2004 were of 150 to 1 before the tournament began. What an upset!
But Greece didn´t have a smooth path in this tournament. They had beaten Portugal in the opening match, super football power France and the Czech Republic on their way to the finals. Greece dethroned the king France, who began to fade in the world of football.
A young Ronaldo played that championship, could´ve been his first and only national team championship with Portugal:
Euro Cup 2008 – The Rise of Spain as a Football Super Power
The Euro 2008 was hosted by Austria and Switzerland alike. Spain was now a football super power in the club category with Real Madrid and Barcelona winning almost every international championship, but this time they would reign as a national team in both the Euro and the World Cup.
The final was played by Spain and Germany, the two mega rivals of Europe. Spain defeated Germany 1-0 with a goal of Fernando Torres. Spain had once again won an Euro Cup after 1964, and they would do it again next time. Their squad at that time boasted the best players in the world according to FIFA.
- Fernando Torres – Greatest Captain and savior.
- David Villa – Top scorer of the UEFA Cup and Spain all-time top scorer.
- Xavi – Player of the tournament award.
- Iker Casillas – Best goal keeper of the world.
- Carles Puyol – Best passing skills and defense
- Carlos Marchena – Best Defense
- Marcos Senna – Best Striker
UEFA Euro 2012 – Spain Supreme
Co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, Spain returned as the reigning king of the previous event and now the World Cup of 2010. But the 2012 Euro Cup was marred by hooligans parked by a controversial null-goal to England which replays shows the ball did enter the goal.
Sepp Blatter promised to include Goal-line technology after this event that happened in the England vs Ukraine math group game.
Spain won once again and became the first national team to win 3 major football events in a row. Spain defeated Italy 4-0. Spain was now at the top of its glory, a steep rise which produced a hefty fall in the next World Cup where they were eliminated in the early group stages.
Spain vs Italy 4 – 0 Euro Cup Final:
UEFA Euro Cup 2016 – Will Germany Rise as the New Football Super Power Again?
The 2016 Euro Cup will be played in France with a new expansion of 24 teams, which means more group games. Germany comes as the latest World Cup champion, and with the recent demise of Spain as a super power there doesn´t seem to be much in the way for their 4th title with Thomas Muller as their lead striker.
The Euro Cup Trophy
The Euro Cup Trophy has been named after the proponent of the pan-European tournament, The Henri Delaunay Trophy. Delaunay proposed the tournament way back in the 1920´s, but it only came to be after his death in 1960.
The trophy is awarded to the winner who safe-keeps it for the following 4 years. It is made os sterling silver and weights 8 kilograms and is 60 centimeters tall. The names of the winning countries are engraved in the back.
The players and coaches of the winning team are awarded golden medals, while the runner-ups receive a plaque. There are no awards or third place playoffs in the UEFA Euro Cup.
 en.wikipedia.org, History of UEFA Euro Cup, 2015
 .uefa.com, UEFA Oficial History, 2015