14″ – David Silva
41″ – Jordi Alba
84″ – Fernando Torres
88″ – Juan Mata
It feels like a long time since four precise strikes from La Roja sank the Italian Submarine in the Final of UEFA Euro 2012.
It was Spain’s second consecutive European Championship and the third in their history .
A lot has happened over the last four years with the defending European champions getting humiliated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup were they couldn’t even get past even the group stage. Last edition’s runners-up Italy also suffered the same fate not being able to get past the group stage along with another European Heavyweight England.
Despite the rude awakening it’s safe to say that Spain have undoubtedly been the most dominant country as far as the European Club Competitions are concerned over the last four years, two of their teams are set to fight it out in the 2015-16 Champions League Final in a few days time while another of the Spanish clubs – Sevilla have already gone onto win the UEFA Europa League for a third consecutive season by beating English opponents Liverpool 3-1.
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The 2012 UEFA Euro Cup Final video:
All look at the European Football World since UEFA Euro 2012
With all this in mind let’s take a look at the 24 competitors fixtures of Euro Cup 2016.
How do they qualify?
- The Home team i.e. France gets an automatic entry into the group stages of the tournament.
- The 53 remaining affiliated teams in Europe are left to battle it out for the remaining 23 spots in the group stages.
- It will be first time in the competition’s history that a total of 24 teams will be there in the finals of the tournament.
- Ever heard of Gibraltar? They became the newest member of the European football family after gaining affiliation in 2013.
- The 53 teams were potted based on the UEFA National Team Coefficients and the teams were divided into eight groups consisting of six teams and one group consisting of five teams.
- The individual group winners, runners-up and the best third placed team would qualify directly to the finals.
- As for the selection for the best third placed team their performances against the sixth placed team in each group is neglected.
- The remaining eight third placed teams will play each other in two-legged matches to earn the final four places.
The UEFA EURO 2016 Finalists
- The finals will feature five new faces namely Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia & Wales (Hello! Gareth Bale)
- For Albania & Iceland it will be their first ever major tournament. Albania comes as a strong defensive team, but does it have what Greece had in the past to win the Euro?
- Apart from Northern Ireland all the other Newbie’s qualified for the finals after finishing as the runners-up of their respective groups, as for Northern Ireland they won their qualifying group.
- Apart from the above mentioned five teams we have the hosts France who’ll be involved in their 9 European Championship and their 7th consecutive tournament.
- The other veterans in the mix include England who has earned the right to play in their 9th European Championship after winning all 10 of their qualifying games and becoming only the sixth team in the history to do so.
- Like England it will be the 9th time that Italy will be involved in the Euro Cup while for Sweden, Czech Republic & Portugal it will their 6th & 7th Tournament finals.
- The most experienced team in the championship just happens to the defending world champions – Germany who’ll once again start as one of the favorites for the Cup, this is their 12th straight appearance in the tournament and haven’t missed a single tournament since their entry in 1972.
- The final shout-out goes to defending champions Spain for whom this will be their 10th European Champion- Ship till date.
- The Other Finalists include: Austria (2), Belgium (5), Croatia (5), Hungry (3), Poland (3), Republic of Ireland (3), Romania (5), Russia (5), Switzerland (4), Turkey (4) & Ukraine (2).
The 24 Teams…
- Before going into the details of the various groups it only fitting to observe a moment of silence to the big-guns that failed to make into this stage of the tournament – Netherlands, Serbia, Scotland, Greece (Hey! They’ve won it more times than England), Denmark and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
- Upon confirming their place in the tournament finals all the 24 qualified teams were potted in four groups based on their UEFA National Team Coefficients. The Top five seeded teams namely Germany, Spain, England, Portugal & Belgium made up pot 1 along with the hosts France while the other 18 teams were divided into the three remaining pots based on their rankings (the lowest ranked teams in pot 4).
6 Final Groups of the UEFA Euro 2016
Euro Qualifiers System
It ain’t much of a rocket science to know that each team will play three games against teams’ in their groups and the top two teams in each group will cement their place in the knockout rounds.
The final four places in the round of sixteen are chosen from the third placed teams in each group with the top four performing teams making the final cut.
However if two teams are on equal points during any stage of the tournament then the following tie-breaking rules will applied in the same order:
1. The GD of the teams during the group stage
2. The total numbers of goals scored
3. If only teams are tied on points and can’t be separated by any of the above mentioned methods then a penalty shootout determines the winner.
4. If more number of teams is involved then the teams are differentiated based on their Fair Play Conduct during the matches, the least dirtiest player in the game goes through (YC = 1, YC+YC – RC = 3, RC = 3, YC+RC = 4).
5. The last means to separate these teams is to look at their position in the UEFA national team coefficient and place them accordingly.
Best 16 Elimination Stage
A total of 8 Matches will played among the 16 remaining teams in the following format:
The odds we will see France in the finals…
Euro Cup 2016 Venues
The UEFA Euro Cup will cover the length and breadth of the beautiful country of France with a total of 10 stadiums playing host to the 51 matches in the tournament.
The first match of the tournament between France & Romania as well as the Final of the tournament will be played at Stade de France having a capacity of 81,338 located in Saint Denis & it is also the national stadium of France.
The cities of Marseille and Lyon will host the two semi-finals.
The other venues include…
As mentioned above the inaugural match of the tournament will be played between hosts France and Romania at Stade de France in Saint Denis on 10th June 2016.
A further 50 matches will be played within the next 30 days with the final being played on the same stadium on 10th July 2016.
Listed below are some of the marquee matches from the group stages that you may want to mark down on your calendar:
- England vs Wales – Group B – Match 16 – Stade Bollaert Delelis, Lens – 16th June 2016
- Croatia vs Spain – Group D – Match 32 – Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux – 21st June 2016
- Belgium vs Italy – Group E – Match 10 – Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon – 13th June 2016
- Every game with Zlatan Ibrahimovic involved so yeah – Go Sweden!!!
That’s pretty much it! Everything you need to know about Euro 2016 has been mentioned above, it promises to be a really special tournament with some of the biggest names in the game including Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney in the Fray.
In the News
 telegraph.co.uk, Euro 2016 groups draw: the tournament’s new six-pool format explained, 2016