The European Championships take place every four years and are the pinnacle of European international football.
The first tournament was first held in 1960 and has run consecutively every four years since. They are affectionately known as “Euro 2012” or substitute whichever year the competition takes place.
The tournament has been hosted at venues across Europe and the selection process is taken via a ballot from whichever teams are proposing to host the tournament that year. Read further in our Euro Cup history article.
The tournament sees a joint host in that of Poland and Ukraine. They fought off fierce completion to secure the bid in Wales from Italy, Croatia/Hungry, Turkey and Greece.
The build up to the 2012 championships have been surrounded by quite a bit of controversy. There has been much worry and unrest throughout UEFA that stadiums, transport systems and infrastructure would not be in place come kick off in June 2012. UEFA President Michel Platini even went to the extreme of having a second choice country as backup in case deadlines failed to be met.
The majority of the problems lay with Euro 2012 in Ukraine and they were threatened that if things were not ready on time that most of the games would be awarded to Poland. It’s still thought Poland will host most of the games in the tournament, as building work still has not been completed even at this late stage.
It’s now understood that all test have been passed by both countries and the games are to go ahead as planned, with Kiev hosting the final on July 1st.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, many places in Poland and Ukraine remain poverty stricken and it’s a big risk on UEFA’s part to give the tournament to two under developed countries. It’s thought that the money that will be injected into the countries will provide a ‘legacy’ and spark a boom in the improvement of their infrastructure creating thousands of jobs.
The qualifying stages contain 51 teams all battling out to get the final 14 spots in the competition. The major European nations were all seeded prior to the draw based on their official FIFA World Ranking. The teams were then distributed to each respective group before playing out to see who qualifies.
This year’s qualification sees the current structure in place for the final time. In 2016 24 nations will compete at the tournament increasing the chances of lesser nations to take part in a major international competition.
Once qualified, each team will be drawn into one of four groups. The top two from each group will then enter the knockout stages of the completion (quarter finals). From here the winner’s progress to the semi finals before the final is played out to determine the overall winner of the competition.
There are a total of 8 stadiums hosting Euro 2012 games, 4 from each country.
Poland boasts the National Stadium in Warsaw as their biggest holding 58,145. Alongside this they have Municipal Stadium, Poznan (43,098), PGE Arena (40,818) and Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw (42,771).
Ukraine’s largest stadium is the Olympic NSC in Kiev holding 70,050. This will also hold the final of Euro 2012. Alongside this are Metalist Stadium (38,633), Donbass Arena (51,504) and New Stadium (33,500).
All stadiums are set to be ready on time and any alterations that have been needed to be made are reported to be near completion.
Spain are the reigning champions but its Germany who have won the championships on the most occasions with no less than 3 wins, one ahead of Spain and France. A host of countries have won it just once including Soviet Union, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, Netherlands, Denmark and Greece.
Betting on Euro 2012
We will cover all aspects of wagering on this tournament and aim to be the ultimate Euro 2012 betting guide. As for now it is too early to place any major bets, but we can recommend this article with some early predictions of Euro 2012.
Overall goal scorers
Current UEFA President, Michel Platini is the highest scoring European championship goalscorer of all time with a combined amount of 9 goals. Alan Sheaere lies second with 7 whilst Nuno Gomes, Thierry Henry, Patrck Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy all have 6 goals apiece. See our predictions for the 2012 Golden Boot winner.