The history of European Championship

European Championship trophyThe UEFA European Championship (commonly known as Euro and not to be confused with European Cup) has existed since 1960. It ranks next to FIFA World Cup as the most prestigious completion for national teams.

The first edition of the UEFA European Championship included only four teams (Czechoslovakia, France, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia), but it would be expanded to eight teams in 1980. Since when, the tournament has been expanded with more teams on two additional occasions.

All Euro host countries

1960: France
1964: Spain
1968: Italy
1972: Belgium
1976: Yugoslavia
1980: Italy
1984: France
1988: West Germany
1992: Sweden
1996: England
2000: Belgium and Netherlands
2004: Portugal
2008: Austria and Switzerland
2012: Poland and Ukraine
2016: France

Teams with most titles and finals

Statistics of all national teams that have won or played a final together with numbers of participation in European Championship.

Table 1. Most successful national teams in UEFA European Championship
Team Titles Finals Participation
Germany 3 6 12
Spain 3 4 10
France 2 2 9
Czechoslovakia 1 2 3
Portugal 1 2 7
Denmark 1 1 8
Greece 1 1 4
Italy 1 1 9
Netherlands  1 1 9
Soviet Union 1 1 5

All EURO finals

All finals including winners and runners-up of EURO 1960-2016.

Table 2. Finals and results
Year Home team* Away team* Result
2016 Portugal France 1-0
2012 Spain Italy 4-0
2008 Germany Spain 0-1
2004 Portugal Greece 0-1
2000 France Italy 2-1
1996 Czech Republic Germany 1-2
1992 Denmark Germany 2-0
1988 Soviet Union Netherlands 0-2
1984 France Spain 2-0
1980 Belgium West Germany 1-2
1976 Czechoslovakia West Germany 5-3 (pen.)
1972 West Germany Soviet Union 3-0
1968 Italy Yugoslavia 2-0 (replay)**
1964 Spain Soviet Union 2-1
1960 Soviet Union Yugoslavia 2-1 (a.e.t.)

* The home and away team are only technical.
** The first match ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.
a.e.t. stands for after extra time.
pen. stands for penalties, meaning the match was decided after penalty shootout.

Numbers of participants and games

The following table shows the numbers of participating team in all European Championships. The numbers in the second column concerns the final stage and the third column all teams that took part in the qualification. In addition, you can see the numbers of games (qualification games excluded) in the fourth column.

Table 3. Participating teams from first to last EURO tournament
Year Teams
(final)
Teams
(qualification)
Games
(final)
2016 24 53 51
2012 16 51 31
2008 16 50 31
2004 16 50 31
2000 16 49 31
1996 16 47 31
1992 8 33 15
1988 8 32 15
1984 8 32 15
1980 8 31 14
1976 4 32 4
1972 4 32 4
1968 4 31 5
1964 4 28 4
1960 4 17 4

Format

2016: The final phase included group play with six groups, which two or three teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.
1996-2012: The final phase included group play with four groups, which two teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.
1984-1992: The final phase included group play with two groups, which two teams each did advance from. The knockout stage consisted of semi-finals and a final.
1980: No semi-finals were played. The group winners played each other in the final and the second placed teams in the groups played a third-place match.
1960-1976: The final tournament phase consisted of semi-finals, third place game and final (five games were played in 1968 since the final were decided on a replay).

Media

Highlights from 2012 Euro Final:

Highlights from 2000 Euro Final:

Top goalscorers

These players have made most goals in European Championship.

Michel Platini (9 goals), Christiano Ronaldo (9 goals), Alan Shearer (7 goals), Henry Thierry (6 goals), Zlatan Ibrahimović (6 goals), Patrick Kluivert (6 goals), Nuno Gomez (6) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (6 goals).