UEFA Euro 2016 will mark the 15th European Championship football tournament. Though the exact dates are still to be determined, Euro 2016 will take place in France during the summer of that year. There will be some format changes to the event, as the field will expand from 16 teams to 24 teams. A total of 52 teams will attempt to qualify for the tournament. France earns an automatic berth as the host site.
UEFA Euro 2016: Tournament History
The event was originally dubbed the “UEFA European Nations Cup” when it was created in 1960. The inaugural event was also held in France and 17 teams participated in a knockout format. Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France and Yugoslavia advanced to the semifinals. The Soviet Union defeated Yugoslavia in extra time, 2-1, in the first-ever final match in Paris. England, West Germany and England were among the notable teams who refused to participate in the first tournament.
The event is held every four years and falls on the even-numbered year between the World Cup tournaments. Germany and Spain have come out on top an all-time high three times apiece. Germany’s last victory came in 1996, while Spain’s last championship came in the last event in 2012. Germany has also lost in the final match three times, while Spain has been runner-up on one occasion. Surprisingly, England has never finished better than third overall. That finish came in 1968 and England hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals since 1996.
Michel Platini of France has scored the most goals in Euro Cup history with nine. Platini scored all nine of his goals in leading France to the championship in 1984. England’s Alan Shearer is second on the all-time list with seven goals. Portugal’s Cristiano Rondaldo is in a group of players who have racked up three goals.
Euro 2016 matches will take place in 10 different cities across France. The tournament winner will be eligible to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Due to fan violence during the UEFA Euro 2012, Russia will be forced to play three home games in the qualifying round without spectators.
Download: UEFA Euro 2016 Knockout Stage