The Uefa European Championship, popularly known as the Euros, is the competition that brings together national teams from all around Europe in a bid to pick the champion of the continent. Like most FIFA football tournaments, this Union of European Football Associations tournaments is held after every four years. It has been in existence since 1960.
European nations have for a long time been going through a qualifying process where they were categorized into groups. Seeding was done to ensure the strongest teams do not eliminate each other in qualifying, and also ensure that teams that do not rank highly do not have their chances diminished by being pitted against giants. The host nation has always had an automatic qualification slot.
Uefa nations league
Post-2016, however, the qualifying process has taken a bit of a twist with the introduction of the Uefa Nations League. The league is a structured competition that establishes an early schedule for programmes to run during international breaks. Rather than play friendlies, Uefa member countries now play in a grouped league which doubles up as the Euro qualification process.
The grouping is done according to the specific countries’ ranking on the FIFA list. Teams in the lower groups look to climb their way to higher groups with wins in their categories which guarantee playoffs with higher-ranked opponents. Teams that perform lowly in the higher groups are relegated to the lower divisions.
The introduction of the Uefa Nations League has raised concerns from teams in other confederations as they feel it will deny them a chance to play European teams in friendlies.
The 2020 edition of the Euros will be the 60th year since the competition was brought into being. To mark this milestone, UEFA has made some changes to this particular edition of the tournament. 24 teams will come together to compete for European glory but rather than fight it out in one country, the competition will take place in 12 cities of 12 different countries.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described it as a ‘party all over Europe’ to celebrate 60 years of the Euros as the competition enters its 16th edition. The cities of Copenhagen (Denmark), St Petersburg (Russia), Budapest (Hungary), Rome (Italy), London (England), Munich (Germany), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bucharest (Romania), Baku (Azerbaijan), Bilbao (Spain),
and Glasgow (Scotland) will host different matches from the group stages to the knockouts.
The final will be played in Wembley, London. The ‘home of football’ won the rights after Brussels, Belgium failed to convince FIFA that the stadium previously picked would be ready by then. Wembley will also two semifinal matches in that tournament.
Portugal is the defending champions of the Euros after winning the 2016 edition held in France.