The 16th edition of the UEFA European Football Championships is coming up this summer (EURO 2021). The tournament was supposed to take place last year but was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This article is your ultimate guide to the Euro 2021 tournament, which will take place between the 11th of June to the 11th of July 2021.
In this year’s edition, 55 nations participated in the qualifiers, while 24 will take part in the tournament.
The championship is contested by UEFA member countries and began in 1960 as the European Nation’s Cup. However, it was until 1968 when the name was changed to the UEFA European Football Championship and was popularly called the “Euros.” Beginning from 1996, the name of each Euro tournament was referred to by adding the year it took place (e.g. Euro 96, Euro 2012, Euro 2020). The tournament takes place every four years.
NUMBER OF TEAMS
The championship began with only 4 teams qualifying for a tournament, then it was expanded to 8 teams in 1980. The number of teams was increased to 16 national teams in 1996 and 24 teams in 2016.
For the 24-team tournament, the participating teams are divided into 6 groups, with each group comprising of 4 teams. The top two European teams from each group will be joined by the four best third-placed teams in the round of 16.
This Euro 2021 is the 60th anniversary of the championship, and to celebrate the competition, it will not be hosted by a single country, but rather it will be played across 12 European cities namely:— Baku (Azerbaijan), Copenhagen (Denmark), London (England), Munich (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Rome (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Republic of Ireland), Bucharest (Romania), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Glasgow (Scotland) and Bilbao (Spain).
The Stadio Olimpico in Rome is where the tournament’s opening match between Italy and Turkey will be played. While the Wembley Stadium in London will host the final match of the Euro 2021.
Since the tournament will be played across 12 countries, that means that for the first time since 1976, and no country will automatically qualify for the tournament as hosts.
Portugal are the current defending champions, after they won the tournament in 2016 by defeating France in the final. Germany and Spain are the most successful teams in the competition’s history with (3) titles each, followed by France (2) and then Italy, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, who have all won it once each (1).
Spain is the only nation to win the European Championship consecutively, having done so in 2008 and 2012.
The 2021 European Championship will make use of the popular Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time ever.
OFFICIAL MATCH BALL, MASCOT, AND THE TROPHY OF THE EURO 2021
The official match ball for Euro 2021 is called “Uniforia”. The match ball was designed by Adidas, while the official mascot of Euro 2021 is called “Skillzy.”
The trophy for the Euros is called the “Henry Delaunay Trophy”. It was named after former UEFA General Secretary, Henry Delaunay had the idea of organising the European Championship but died in 1955, five years prior to the first-ever tournament. The Euros trophy is usually kept by the winners of each tournament for four years, and given to the new winners at the next tournament.
QUALIFIED TEAMS FOR THE EURO 2021
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales, North Macedonia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Scotland.
WHO WILL WIN EURO 2021?
England are the bookies favourite to win the tournament, because most of their players are in great form of late. Belgium are also favourites because of their current golden generation of players. While the Euro 2021 odds peg France as huge favourites, because they are the defending champions of the World Cup. Also, there is Portugal, who are both the defending champions the Euros championship and UEFA nations league are also favourites.
The underdogs for the Euro 2020 are:
The Netherlands— led by Matthijs de Ligt and runners-up at the UEFA nations league are serious underdogs coming into the tournament. Other underdogs to watch out for are Wales, Poland, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
INJURY CONCERNS FOR THE EURO 2021
This section will be regularly updated ahead of the tournament as some players might recover ahead of the tournament while some new injuries might come up before it.
- Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands).
- Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Joe Gomez (England)
- Leon Goretzka (Germany)
- Pedro Neto (Portugal)
- Daniel James (Wales)
- Ferland Mendy (France)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
- Nicolo Zaniolo (Italy)
- Hector Bellerin, Ansu Fati, Dani Carvajal (Spain)