Saturday, 2 October 2010



1. EURO 2012 will be the 14th European Championships held. The first tournament was staged in 1960, and they have been held every four years since then.

2. Nine different nations have won the Euros - The Soviet Union, Spain, Italy, (West) Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Holland, Denmark and Greece.

3. 1996 in England. Four groups of four teams played a round robin format, with the top two going through to the last eight where straight knock-out football took over. This format has been used ever since then and will be used in Poland/Ukraine in two years time. However, plans to expand the following tournament in France in 2016 to 24 teams have been approved by UEFA.

4. The first European Championships Finals were held in France in 1960. Only four nations participated - France, The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

5. Denmark had not qualified for the European Championships in neighbouring Sweden in 1992 after finishing runners-up to Yugoslavia in their qualifying group. When the severity of the Yugoslav wars caused the Eastern Europeans to have to withdraw from the tournament, UEFA awarded the Danes their place. The rest is history, as Denmark negociated a difficult group before defeating defending champions Holland in the semi-final and Germany in the Final to complete a fairytale victory.

6. England. The 1966 World Champions have a poor European Championship record, their best result being beaten semi-finalists in 1968 and again on home turf in 1996.

7. (West) Germany have a fantastic record in the European Championships, having reached the Final on no fewer than six occasions. They have been victorious three times, in 1972, 1980 and 1996, and finished runners-up in 1976, 1992 and 2008.

8. Incredibly, the semi-final of a major international tournament was decided by the toss of a coin. For the record, Albert Shesternyov - the captain of the USSR - called it incorrectly and Italy went through to the Final.

9. The opening match and the Final were contested by the same two teams, Greece and hosts Portugal. The Greeks won both games, 2-1 and 1-0 respectively.

10. Dino Zoff, donning glasses and a serious expression led Italy to the brink of glory at Euro 2000 only to be dramatically denied by the French. Eighteen years previously he had captained his country to a World Cup triumph at Espana 82.

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