The European Championship, also informally known as ‘the Euros’, is an international tournament held every four years between the best teams in Europe. The tournament begins at the qualification group stage with matches played over an 18-month period; the top teams then progress to the finals, which are held over a three-week period.
First being played in 1960, the tournament has expanded from 8 teams to 24 as interest in the championships grew over time.
Who can play in the European Championships?
Before the championship is played there is a qualification group stage where all UEFA national teams compete to qualify. To successfully qualify, a team must finish in the designated qualifying spots or win a play-off round. The qualification group stage is currently made up of 10 groups and all 55 UEFA national teams enter at this stage.
Where are the European Championships played?
Every European championships dating back to 1960 has had an independent host nation, all chosen by UEFA officials.
Up until the championships of 1996 each tournament had 1 designated host nation, however in 2000, Holland and Belgium became the first combined host championships. This has happened on a further 2 occasions in the 2008 and 2012 championships.
The most recent championships, EURO 2020 were held across 11 countries, with the semi-finals and final being played at Wembley in London, England.