European Championship, formally known as UEFA European Championship, also called Euro, in football or soccer, is a quadrennial tournament held between the member countries of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The European Championship is second in rank to the World Cup among international football tournaments.
The first final of the European Championship, at the time known as the European Nations’ Cup, took place in 1960 after two years of preparatory matches between 17 national football clubs. In 1960 the Euro final competition consisted of four teams, but it expanded to eight teams in 1980 and 16 teams in 1996. Currently, qualification for a European Championship starts two years before the scheduled final when all members of UEFA begin playing between themselves to secure a place in the 16-team tournament. The qualification process does not include the host country or countries, which automatically qualify for the final.
In 2007, the Football Association of Ireland and the Scottish Football Association recommended the development of the tournament, which was later confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee in September 2008. Out of the 54 member associations of UEFA, only three including England and Germany rejected the expansion. On 28 May 2010, UEFA announced that Euro 2016 would be hosted by France. UEFA Euro 2016 was the first to have 24 teams in the finals. This was the third time France has hosted the competition. Portugal, which qualified for the knock-out stage despite completing third in its group, went on to win the championship by beating massively favored host team France 1–0 in the final, all thanks to a goal from Eder in the 109th minute. Although Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s world-renowned striker, was out of the game due to injury in the 25th minute, this was the first time Portugal won a major tournament. In December 2012, however, UEFA announced that the 2020 tournament would be hosted in various cities in multiple countries across Europe, with the semi-finals and final being played in London. The venues were chosen and published by UEFA on 19 September 201. On 17 March 2020, UEFA announced that Euro 2020 would be delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, and proposed it take place from 11 June to 11 July 2021. The competition was suspended in order to decrease pressure on the public services in affected countries.