5 Interesting Facts About The European Competition

Euro 2016 is all set to be a memorable one for more reasons than one. Not only does it have 24 teams, more than any previous European Championship but it will also have some remarkable events.European club football is definitely the toast of the world right now and so what happens when these players represent their countries? How well do they perform? The tournament has a strong history which i’m very sure most people do not know about.Therefore, here are five interesting facts about the Euros;

It Started in 1960 And Was Proposed By France

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The idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the French Football Federation in 1927, but it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started. The 1960 tournament, held in France, had four teams competing in the finals out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the Soviet Union, beating Yugoslavia 2-1 in Paris. Spain held the next tournament in 1964, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering.The hosts beat the title holders, the Soviet Union, 2–1 at the final in Madrid.The tournament format stayed the same in 1968 , hosted and won by Italy. For the first and only time a match was decided on a coin toss (the semi-final against the Soviet Union) and the final went to a replay, after the match against Yugoslavia finished 1–1. Italy won the replay 2–0.More teams entered this tournament (31), a testament to its burgeoning popularity.

Belgium hosted the 1972 tournament, which West Germany won, beating the USSR 3–0 in the final, with goals coming from Gerd Müller (twice) and Herbert Wimmer at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels This tournament would provide a taste of things to come, as the German side contained many of the key members of the 1974 FIFA World Cup Champions.The 1976 tournament in Yugoslavia was the last in which only four teams took part in the final tournament, and the last in which the hosts had to qualify. Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in the newly introduced penalty shootout. After seven successful conversions, Uli Hoeneß missed, leaving Czechoslovakian Antonín Panenka with the opportunity to score and win the tournament. An “audacious” chipped shot described by UEFA as “perhaps the most famous spot kick of all time” secured the victory as Czechoslovakia won 5–3 on penalties.

The Soviet Union Were the First Winners Ever

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The 1960 UEFA European Nations’ Cup was the first European Football Championship, held every four years and endorsed by UEFA. The final tournament was held in France. It was won by the Soviet Union, who beat Yugoslavia 2–1 in Paris after extra time.

The tournament was a knockout competition; just 17 teams entered with some notable absences, West Germany, Italy and England among them. The teams would play home-and-away matches until the semi-finals; the final four teams would move on to the final tournament, whose host was selected after the teams became known.

Spain, still under Francisco Franco’s far-right dictatorship, refused to travel to the Soviet Union, the main supporter of the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War, and withdrew from the tournament, so the final four had three communist countries: USSR, Czechoslovakia, and SFR Yugoslavia, to go with hosts France. In the semi-finals, the Soviets made easy work of the Czechoslovaks in Marseille, beating them 3–0. The other match saw a nine-goal thriller as Yugoslavia came on top 5–4, coming back from a two-goal deficit twice. Czechoslovakia beat the demoralized French 2–0 for third place.

In the final, Yugoslavia scored first, but the Soviet Union, led by legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin, equalized in the 49th minute. After 90 minutes the score was 1–1, and Viktor Ponedelnik scored with seven minutes left in extra time to give the Soviets the inaugural European Championship.

-The Highest Scoring Game Was in 1960 When Yugoslavia Defeated France 5-4

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They say that football is a game of two halves. This was certainly proven on the 6th July, 1960 when France took on Yugoslavia in an all important semi-final. The city of love and romance, Paris, hosted one of the best matches in the history of European football signifying the love that the spectators feel for the game. The romance began with the build up to this game. France had seen off Austria with a staggering 9-4 aggregate scoreline in the quarters whereas Yugoslavia had done the same to Portugal with a 6-3 scoreline. The French got off to a poor start after Milan Galic scored in the 11th minute to give the Yugoslavians the lead. However France were not to be held back for long as they came roaring back immediately after the restart to equalise in the 12th minute by a goal scored by Jean Vincent.

French found their footing and struck next in the 43rd minute through a goal taken by Francois Huette. Another blow came in the 52nd minute for the Yugoslavians. Another French attack produced yet another goal through Maryan Wisnieski. “France 3-1 Yugoslavia”, read the scoreboard.All was going according to plan for the French and their supporters until the 55th minute when Yugoslavia scored their second of the night. Ante Zanetic putting them right back on track by scoring his team’s second goal.France responded immediately when Francois completed his brace and scored the fourth goal for his team in the 62nd minute. All looked over for Yugoslavia. Surely they would be down and out. Yugoslavia never lost hope and pulled one back in the 75th minute through Tomislav Knez.  France, who were without Kopa, Fontaine, and Roger Piantoni, were shocked by what they saw in the next 3 minutes. A brace from the hero of the day, Drazan Jerkovic saw the Yugoslavians take the lead in the 78th minute. Yugoslavia held on in spite of the French bombarding their box in the final ten minutes and won 5-4 after having made a brilliant comeback by scoring three in as many minutes.
-Spain And Germany Have Both Won It A Record 3 times

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Spain has won the tournament three times, winning it in 1964,2008 and 2012 while Germany have also won it three times, winning it in 1972, 1980 and 1996.For Spain in 1964, having withdrawn in the quater-finals four years earlier after refusing to travel to the Soviet Union, Spain now found themselves playing host to the Soviets and even ended up playing the reigning champions in the final. The home side, starring Luis Suárez, won the match and captured the trophy.In an exciting tournament in 2008, the host countries found themselves unable to progress beyond the group stage. Holland, Portugal, and Croatia were impressive early on, but all three crashed out in the quater-finals. In the end it was the Spanish that won the championship, after beating Germany 1-0 in the final.In 2012, World champions and defending European champions Spain made it two Euro wins in a row, showcasing their trademark tika-taka football along the way. They beat Italy 4-0 in a one sided final after the Italians had surprisingly got the better of an up till that point impressive looking Germany in the semi-finals.

In 1972, what many consider the best German national team ever won the trophy with a seamless display of modern football. Featuring greats like Beckenbauer, Müller and Netzer, they had beaten England 3-1 at Wembley en route to the tournament and made short work of the Soviet Union in the final, winning 3-0.In 1980,for the first time eight countries competed, but the tournament was marred by low attendances and negative tactics leading to a succession of dull matches. Belgium surprised friend and foe by upstaging Spain, England and hosts Italy in the group phase and reaching the final. West Germany ended up lifting the trophy. In 1996, England fans sang about football coming home, but even home advantage wasn’t enough for England to win it’s first European Championship. Eventual winners Germany beat the hosts on penalties in the semi-final. Scotland went out in the group stage on goals scored, after tying with Holland for second place.

Michael Platini Is The Tournament’s Highest Goalscorer Ever With 9 goals

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Michel Platini is the greatest goalscorer in European Championship history. The former France midfielder has scored more goals, nine, than any player.Amazingly, those goals came at a rate of one every 53 minutes.No player to have played at least 270 minutes of European Championship football, the equivalent of three matches, has scored more frequently. Platini captained France to success in the European Championship on home soil. His individual impact on the tournament was huge with nine of France’s 14 goals in just five games (the top goal scorer in Euro ’84).

He scored the winner in France’s opening match against Denmark, and scored one “perfect” hat-trick against Belgium as France topped their first-round group with three wins out of three. In the dramatic semi-final in Marseille against Portugal, Platini scored the final goal of the match for a memorable 3–2 win in the last minute of extra time.In the final against Spain at the Princes Stadium in Paris, he opened the scoring with a free kick-goal, helped by a monumental blunder from Spain goalkeeper Luis Arconada. A second goal from Bruno Bellone in injury time at the end of the match secured France’s first major title in international football.

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Chukwuyem Ogala is a content writer at Edliner. A multifaceted personality with a degree in Economics. He has a strong passion for Rap music and sports. A big fan of the NBA, likes Rafael Nadal and has a crush on Serena Williams. Chuks just strives to be better and wants to be heard globally.

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