UEFA European Championship

Editions

Year Host nation(s) Winner Runner-up
1960 France USSR Yugoslavia
1964 Spain Spain USSR
1968 Italy Italy Yugoslavia
1972 Belgium Germany USSR
1976 Yugoslavia Czechoslovakia Germany
1980 Italy Germany Belgium
1984 France France Spain
1988 Germany Netherlands USSR
1992 Sweden Denmark Germany
1996 England Germany Czech Republic
2000 Belgium and Netherlands France Italy
2004 Portugal Greece Portugal
2008 Austria and Switzerland Spain Germany
2012 Poland and Ukraine Spain Italy
2016 France Portugal France

History

Originally called the European Nations Cup and now more commonly as the Euros, UEFA changed the official title to the European Championships in 1968.

The nations compete for the Henri Delaunay Cup which is named after the secretary-general of the French Football Federation who proposed the idea of a continental international competition as long ago as 1927.

The idea remained firmly in the background until 1954 when UEFA was founded.
It would take three years to gain the approval of UEFA members and it was by no means unanimous. The British nations were amongst the Euros sceptics as they believed it would undermine their domestic competitions.

The Championships would not start until 1958 even though the South American equivalent (Copa America) commenced in 1916.

With the growth of membership, the UEFA tournament has increased enormously in size and stature. The inaugural competition, which ended in 1960, featured only 17 countries.
Those who did not enter included West Germany, Italy and the four British teams.
Teams played each other over two legs on a home and away basis up to the semi-finals and final which were played in France.

The competition would now run on a four-cycle with the culmination being in an even-year when a FIFA World Cup finals were not held. The same formula was adopted for the second edition which included an increase to 29 teams with Spain hosting the final stages 1964.

As interest and crowds increased, there were 31 entries for the 1968 tournament with only Iceland of the UEFA members of the time not competing. The pre semi-final and final qualifying stage was now arranged in a group format for the first time.

With the 1980 edition in Italy the finals stage was increased to eight teams and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia, there was a further increase to 16 for Euro 96 in England.

The 2016 tournament in France will welcome 24 teams for the first time after 53 nations took part in the qualifying programme.

The 2020 finals vision to celebrate 60th birthday of the competition will be a unique pan-European format that will be staged in 13 cities from Dublin in the west to Baku in the east - a distance of almost 3,000 miles.