The UEFA European Championship was started in 1960. To be clear It is not the European Cup so don’t get confused. It ranks next to the FIFA World Cup in terms of significance and level of organizing. After the FIFA World Cup, this provides the stage for National teams to prove themselves and receive the prestigious title. It is also watched by a huge population as TV broadcasting has helped it gain more popularity.
For your surprise, the first UEFA European Championship tournament was played by only four countries including France, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. All of these countries have been divided into several small countries since the end of the cold war except France. This number was extended to 8 in 1980. Since then, there has been an increase in numbers only on two occasions.
History of European Championship
The UEFA European championship is also known as Euro but better not confused with the European Cup. The European championship was inaugurated in 1960 and this is held every four years since then. 16 tournaments of the European championships have been played till now as the latest one was played in 2020.
Though The European championship was introduced in 1960 the fundamental idea has its roots back in 1927. Trophy that is given to the champion team in this tournament is known as the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Do you know why? The answer is hidden in the story of its original idea so let’s begin.
In 1927, the French Football federation administrator Henry Delaunay came up with an idea of a Pan European football tournament. He was successful in giving his idea a shape and he became the first secretary general of UEFA. This is a fact about the European championship because Henri Delauney died before the first tournament officially started. And only in his honour the trophy was named after the originator of the European championship, Henri Delauney.
The special European championship trophy (Henri Delaunay Trophy) contains a figure of a juggling boy on its back side while on the front it has two phrases written on it which reads, ‘Championnat d’Europe’ et Coupe Henri Delauney. In 2008 the trophy was remodeled to give it a new look which could compete in the line of UEFA’s modern trophies. After re-modelling it became larger and heavier. It is made up of sterling silver of 18 pounds/ 8 kilograms. The height of the new trophy is 64 cm (24 inches). The new trophy has all the names of the winning countries engraved on its back. All these beautiful changes have made this new trophy more special.
Two countries of Europe have managed to become the most successful Nations in European championship tournament history. Their names are Germany and Spain. Spain is the only country to defend its title, doing so in 2012. While Germany has played the most matches (53) , scored the most goals (75) and recorded most achievements (28). On the other hand France won the title of the only country to win all the matches of a single tournament that is 5 out of 5 in 1984. In 1992, Denmark got the title of achieving two victories in five games.
As we told you earlier, the European championship is the second most popular football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. The number of people watching the tournament is expanding day by day. It is gaining popularity with the more Tv audience. In 2016, two billions of viewers watched the tournament of 51 matches which is 100 million more than what it was in 2012. This increase in the number of viewers is incredible. These numbers were mainly raised by popularity and audience of the tournament.
The Host And Winner Countries of European Championship tournament
|Years||Winner Nations||Host Nations|
|2000||France||Belgium and Netherlands|
|2008||Spain||Austria and Switzerland|
|2012||Spain||Poland and Ukraine|
|2020||Italy||England, Netherlands, Hungary, Spain, Germany, Romania, Italy, Azerbaijan Denmark|
The 2020 European Championship tournament was marked in history as 9 Country Nations shared the host-ship. The matches were played in eleven different countries and eleven stadiums which is no less than a remarkable event in history.
Titles and Nations
no tournament can be won by more than one country, but the titles don’t follow the same rule. Titles are not made to be given to any country because countries create the titles for themselves by doing some record breaking or incredible things. Here is the list of nations who have won the most titles in European championship tournaments till now.
- Germany is on the top of this list as it has won three titles. The country made it to 6 finals and played in 14 matches.
- Spain is ranked second with the 3 titles. Spain participated in 11 matches and reached 4 finals.
- France has won two titles with 10 matches and reached two finals.
- Italy also has the same number of titles as France. And not just the titles but the number of matches and finals Italy participated in were also the same as France.
- Czechoslovakia has got only one title. They played in three matches and reached two finals.
- Portugal is ranked next to Czechoslovakia with the same number of titles and finals but they played in 8 matches.
- Denmark has also won one title only and reached one final with the nine matches.
- Greece also has one title and reached one final. It sparked in the list of top 10 successful National teams in UEFA European championship with four matches.
- Netherland has won one title only and reached one final but has participated in 10 matches.
- The Soviet Union ranks 10 in the list with one title and final. It played 5 matches.
Facts about European Championship
- Michel Platini is a French football player who has scored most goals in the tournament. He scored nine times in five games only.
- UEFA stands for the Union of European Football Associations. It includes national teams from over 50 countries of Europe.
- The first tournament took place in1960 and was played between four countries only but this number reached 24 in the 2016 tournament organised by UEFA.
- This tournament was originally named as ‘European Nations Cup’
- Portugal became the first Country to lose the tournament finals as a host in 2004.
- French footballer Michel Platini is the only player who scored two hat tricks in a game.