UEFA Euro Cup history starts back in 1960 when the tournament was first played, since then it has run every four years. It is always interchanged with the World Cup so every two years there’s a major international football tournament.
The very first Euro Cup took place in France and only 17 European nations took part. The tournament was won by the Soviet Union who played Yugoslavia in the final beating them 2-1. Since the first tournament in 1960 we’ve had a Euro Cup every four years and in terms of trophies Germany are the most successful nation having won the tournament 3 times in 1972, 1980 and in 1996. France and Spain are the only other countries to have won the tournament more than once.
UEFA Euro history has been rife with political fallout which started with Spain withdrawing from the tournament in 1960 when they were drawn against the USSR in the quarter finals stating their withdrawal as a political protest. Greece withdrew from the tournament in 1964 when they got draw against Albania due to the two countries still being at war and in 1992 the UEFA banned Yugoslavia from entering a team in the tournament because of the countries on going civil war.
The trophy itself is known as the Henri Delauncy Trophy. It is named after Henri Delaunay who was the founder of the tournament and the first general secretary of UEFA. Henri actually died five years before the first ever Euro tournament took place.
Euro Cup History Timeline
1976 – In 1976 the first ever penalty shootout took place. It was in the final between Czechoslovakia and Germany. Czechoslovakia won the shootout with a famous penalty from Antonin Paneka who stepped up to the spot and dinked the ball over the keeper in an outrageous fashion.
1980 – The first ever group stages of the Euro Cup were introduced in 1980. The number of teams entering the tournament had increased so they were split up into mini leagues with the top place finishers advancing to a knockout round and eventually the final.
1984 – The 3rd place playoff game watch ditched in 1984 which also saw UEFA changing the rules slightly so the top two teams from each group would advance to the knockout rounds.
1992 – 1992 was the first year that player names were printed on the back of shirts.
1996 – The famous Golden Goal rules were first introduced into the tournament in 1996. This meant that once the game went to extra time if one team scored the won the match. The first ever Golden Goal was scored by German striking legend Oliver Bierhoff in the final to secure Germany the trophy.
2004 – The Golden Goal rules was replaced by the Silver Goal rule. Now if matches went to extra time and one team scored they didn’t instantly win the game but if they were ahead by the end of the first half of extra time then they would win the match. This rule was later ditched altogether.
The Euro Cup has become one of the biggest highlights on the footballing calendar and only plays second fiddle to the World Cup itself. The hosting of the tournament is hotly contested and now hosting nations automatically qualify for the tournament. In 2016 the tournament will be hosted by Turkey, Italy or France. The upcoming 2012 tournament will be jointly hosted between Poland and Ukraine.
Most online bookmakers offer options to bet on Euro 2016. None more popular than Betfair.com which is the world’s largest online betting exchange.
For the first time ever in 2016 there will be a total of 24 teams entering the tournament.