European Football Championship History

The UEFA European Championships it the premier International competition held in Europe. Held every four years it is held across the months of June and July.

We are going to take a look at the history of the competition, look at some previous winners and records, consider some betting markets that you may want to invest your money in consider the best Euro Betting sites to take advantage of some amazing promotions.  

European Championships History 

The European Championships, more commonly known as the Euros, was first held in 1960 and is held in the even numbered years between World Cup tournaments. There is a comprehensive qualifying process which precedes the tournament with only the host nations (or nations) qualifying automatically for the finals. The tournament is not the second most watched football tournament in the world after the world cup. 

The first tournament held in 1960 was only involving seventeen teams in total. That said, major European nations including England, Holland, West Germany and Italy were absent. Spain also withdrew from their quarter final with the Soviet Union due to political reasons. The Soviet Union went on to win the competition. At this point the actual final only involved four sides after qualifying was complete. 

The 1964 tournament in Spain saw 29 teams attempts to qualify for the four team finals. Spain won the final at the Bernabeu against the Soviet Union with another notable absentee in the competition again being the West Germans. 

The 1968 tournament of the same format was won by Italy in their own country. Their semi final with the Soviet Union was settled via a coin toss! Belgium hosted the competition in 1972 with West Germany successful whilst the 1976tournament in Yugoslavia which Czechoslovakia won after winning via the newly introduced penalty shoot-out against West Germany. 

The 1980’s saw the competition finals expanded to 8 teams and it was hosted by Italy once again. There were two groups of four with the winners contesting the final. West Germany and Belgium qualified from the groups with West Germany claiming their second crown in the final. 

1984 saw France finally claim their first major competition with the inspirational Michel Platini heavily involved in a competition in which they hosted. In this competition the top two teams from the groups went on to contest the semi-finals. 

West Germany were desperate to win the 1988 finals on their home patch however they lost to arch-rival the Netherlands in the semi-finals before Marco Van Basten scored that memorable goal in the final against the USSR to see them claim their first and only major competition win. 

The final 8 team competition took place in 1992 and it was the year of one of the biggest shocks. Denmark only qualified as UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia to play in the finals. They beat a unified Germany in the final. 

In 1996 the competition was expanded 16 teams when England hosted for the first time in 1996. England lost in the semi-finals on penalties to Germany who beat surprise finalists the Czech Republic in the final.  

The Euro 2000 instalment was the first to be hosted by two nations, Holland and Belgium. France followed up their World Cup in from two years earlier by beating Italy after extra time in the final. 

It would have to be ascertained that the biggest shock in the history if the competition was the one held in 2004. Greece won the competition at odds of 150-1 after shocking various nations on the way through.  

2008 saw the football nation of Spain finally have something to cheers about after yours of waiting. They won the Euros in Austria and Switzerland before becoming the first team to retain it after winning in the Ukraine and Poland in 2012.  

In 2016 the competition was expanded to 24 teams for the first time. Hosted by France there were six groups of four with the two teams as well as the four best third placed teams qualifying for the last 16. The team that finished third actually went on to win the competition. That was Portugal won won the competition for the first time with Cristiano Ronaldo in the side.  

Euro Championship Records 

Most Championships – West Germany and Spain (3) 

Number Of Host Nation Wins – Three 

Most Appearances In The Finals Without Winning – England (9) 

Most Matches Played – Germany (49) 

Most Tournaments In Squad – Iker Casillas (5) 

Most Matches Played – Cristiano Ronaldo  

Most Goals Scored – Michel Platini & Cristiano Ronaldo (9) 


About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of Casinos, Slots, Bingo & Sports Betting than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.