HISTORY OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT

HISTORY OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT

With Euro 2020 underway, twelve months later than planned thanks to a global pandemic. Twenty-four teams have been battling it out across 11 cities for the 'Henri Delaunay Trophy' and we want to give you a rundown of the widely celebrated tournament's history.


The UEFA European Championship (commonly known as Euro) has been around since 1960 and has been held every four years, except for 2020. This international European tournament is ranked next to the FIFA World Cup as the most prestigious competition for national teams throughout Europe. The first edition of the UEFA European Championship included only four teams that include Czechoslovakia, France Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. It was then expanded into eight teams in 1980.

Although the first European Championship was first held in 1960, the idea behind it is much older which dates back to 1927 when the French Football Federation's administrator Henri Delaunay first proposed an international tournament based around European countries. Despite Delaunay becoming the first General Secretary of UEFA, he, later on, passed away by the time the tournament officially started. To honour his contributions, the tournament trophy was named after him.

The first Henri Delaunay trophy contains a figure of a juggling boy on the back and the words "Championnat d'Europe, and Coupe Henri Delaunay" engraved at the front. It was then re-designed to make it larger and contemporary in line with UEFA's other modern trophies back in 2008. The new trophy is now made of sterling silver that weighs 8 kilograms and 60 centimetres tall with the winning countries engraved on the back.

 


As of now, the most successful countries in the tournament's history are Germany and Spain obtaining three titles each. Date back to 2012, Spain is the only nation to successfully defend its title after winning convincingly against Italy. That being said, Germany has played the most matches, most goals and recorded the most victories.

 


Over the years, the European Championship has become more and more popular wherein 2016, the total live audience for the expanded 51 match tournament grew to 2 billion viewers. In comparison to 2012, this amounted to an increase of 100 million. The Euros might not have the international flavour of the FIFA World Cup but there has long been an argument that it is a stronger competition, a more exciting tournament to watch with fewer one-sided games. That might be true, but the Euros also seems to throw up more surprise winners than its international equivalent.

Will we see a first-time winner in 2020?

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