The History of UEFA European Football Championships

The History of UEFA European Football Championships

European Football Championships, The idea of Henri Delaunay – the first general secretary of UEFA – to create a competition for national teams became a reality in 1960, when the first UEFA European Football Championship was held in France.

The first European Nations’ Cup – as the competition used to be called – took place from 1958 to 1960 with 17 participating associations. A preliminary round had to be staged as qualifying matches were at the time contested on a simple knockout basis – home and away, with the final round hosted by one of the four semi-finalists.

For the second edition, from 1962 to 1964, the number of participating associations rose from 17 to 29. The format stayed the same.

This competition format meant that half the teams which entered played only two matches before being eliminated. The knockout system was abandoned in favour of a championship format for the 1966–68 edition and the European Nations’ Cup became the UEFA European Football Championship. This change in format resulted in a record 31 teams entering. Divided into eight groups for the qualifying stage, the knockout system applied as from the second round.

As this new competition format proved satisfactory, it was retained for the following two European Championships.

For the sixth edition, from 1978 to 1980, additional changes were made to the format. The number of finalists was doubled (2 groups of 4 teams) and Italy chosen to host the final round, giving the Italian team automatic qualification.

For the 1994–96 edition, the number of final round participants was increased to 16 and the “golden goal” rule introduced. The first team to benefit from this new rule was Germany, when Bierhoff scored in the 116th minute of the final against Czech Republic. The golden goal was, however, abandoned after two editions.

UEFA EURO 2012 is the 14th final round of the UEFA European Football Championship and the last with 16 participants before the tournament expands to 24 teams in 2016.

The Winning Teams

Year Country Coach Captain
1960 USSR Gavril Katchalin Igor Netto
1964 Spain José Villalonga / Miguel Muñoz Fernando Olivella
1968 Italy Ferruccio Valcareggi Giacinto Facchetti
1972 Germany Helmut Schön Franz Beckenbauer
1976 Czechoslovakia Vaclav Jezek Anton Ondruš
1980 Germany Jupp Derwall Bernard Dietz
1984 France Michel Hidalgo Michel Platini
1988 Netherlands Rinus Michels Ruud Gullit
1992 Denmark Richard Møller Nielsen Lars Olsen
1996 Germany Berti Vogts Jürgen Klinsmann
2000 France Roger Lemerre Didier Deschamps
2004 Greece Otto Rehhagel (Germany) Theodoros Zagorakis
2008 Spain Luis Aragonés Suárez Iker Casillas

The Finals

Date Home Result Away Venue Attendance Referee
10.07.1960 USSR 2-1 * Yugoslavia Paris 17,966 Arthur Ellis (ENG)
21.06.1964 Spain 2-1 USSR Madrid 79,115 Arthur Holland (ENG)
08.06.1968 Italy 1-1 * Yugoslavia Rome 68,817 Gottfried Dienst (SUI)
10.06.1968 Italy 2-0 ** Yugoslavia Rome 32,886 José Ortiz de Mendibil (ESP)
18.06.1972 Germany 3-0 USSR Brussels 43,066 Ferdinand Marschall (AUT)
20.06.1976 Czechoslovakia 2-2 *** Germany Belgrade 30,790 Sergio Gonella (ITA)
22.06.1980 Germany 2-1 Belgium Rome 47,860 Nicolae Rainea (ROU)
27.06.1984 France 2-0 Spain Paris 47,368 Vojtech Christov (CZE)
25.06.1988 Netherlands 2-0 USSR Munich 62,770 Michel Vautrot (FRA)
26.06.1992 Denmark 2-0 Germany Gothenburg 37,800 Bruno Galler (SUI)
30.06.1996 Germany 2-1 **** Czech Republic Wembley 73,611 Pierluigi Pairetto (ITA)
02.07.2000 France 2-1 **** Italy Rotterdam 48,100 Anders Frisk (SWE)
04.07.2004 Greece 1-0 Portugal Lisbon 62,865 Markus Merk (GER)
29.06.2008 Germany 0-1 Spain Vienna 51,428 Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

* after extra time / ** replay / *** 5-3 penalties / **** Golden Goal

The Goals

Total (including finals) Final tournaments
Goals Matches Average Goals Matches Average
1958-60 108 28 3.86 17 4 4.25
1962-64 171 54 3.16 13 4 3.25
1966-68 311 102 3.05 7 5 1.40
1970-72 292 109 2.68 10 4 2.50
1974-76 308 108 2.85 19 4 4.75
1978-80 354 122 3.31 27 14 1.93
1982-84 382 131 2.91 41 15 2.73
1986-88 313 131 2.38 34 15 2.27
1990-92 365 138 2.64 32 15 2.13
1994-96 744 262 2.84 64 31 2.06
1998-00 737 259 2.84 85 31 2.74
2002-04 643 241 2.67 77 31 2.50
2006-08 916 336 2.73 77 31 2.50
Total 5644 2021 2.79 503 204 2.47

The Attendances

Year Teams Matches Attendance Average Host country
1960 4 4 78,958 19,740 France
1964 4 4 156,253 39,063 Spain
1968 4 5 260,939 52,188 Italy
1972 4 4 106,510 26,628 Belgium
1976 4 4 106,087 26,522 Yugoslavia
1980 8 14 350,655 25,047 Italy
1984 8 15 599,655 39,977 France
1988 8 15 849,844 56,656 Germany
1992 8 15 429,241 28,616 Sweden
1996 16 31 1,276,171 41,167 England
2000 16 31 1,126,443 36,337 Belgium/Netherlands
2004 16 31 1,148,886 37,061 Portugal
2008 16 31 1,143,529 36,888 Austria/Switzerland
Total 204 7,633,171 35,838

The Trophy

The new Henri Delaunay trophy was unveiled to the media in the Stravinsky auditorium in Montreux, Switzerland, on 26 January 2006, the day before the UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying draw. Unlike its predecessor, the new trophy does not have a marble plinth but it has been enlarged to reflect the growth in the competition’s importance over the years. The style and shape remain the same. The new trophy was produced by London-based silversmith Asprey.

The trophy is made of sterling silver, is 60cm high and weighs 8kg. The names of all previous European Championship winners are engraved on the back. Courtesy: UEFA/FAME

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