The UEFA national team tournament, known as the European Championship, has been held every four years since 1960. Its celebration has only been interrupted in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the suspended edition will be held this 2021 in June and July. So, we have good football waiting for us just around the corner. Along with the FIFA World Cup, the European Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.
As a novelty, this edition of the European Championship will be held in 11 different venues across the continent, with the final being played at London's Wembley Stadium. In this way, the UEFA wanted to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the competition. But let's cut to the chase. You've come here to tell you the history of the European Championship. Read on because we've got plenty of anecdotes, top scorers, and all the winners of the European Championship waiting for you.

Historia de la Eurocopa

The History of the EURO

The first European Championship was held in France in 1960, but the concept of holding a European-level national football tournament dates back much further. The French Football Federation, led by Henri Delaunay, unveiled the concept in 1927, but it would take more than thirty years to become a reality. Delaunay, who would go on to become UEFA's first General Secretary, was a big fan of the European tournament, which is why the trophy bears his name.

The European Championship, or European Nations Cup, as it was originally called, was not very important in its first two editions in 1960 and 1964. It wasn't until 1968 that the tournament gained traction in Europe, thanks in part to the implementation of a group-based qualifying system, as was already in place for the World Cup.

The modern era of European Championship history began in 1980, when Artemio Franchi, then-president of UEFA, proposed increasing the number of teams in the finals to eight. The final stage was expanded to sixteen teams divided into four groups in the 1996 edition. In addition, the famous "golden goal" rule, which states that the first team to score in extra time wins the match, was introduced in that edition's final.

The 2000 European Championship was the first to be co-organized by two countries: Belgium and the Netherlands. This formula was used again in 2008, with Austria and Switzerland as hosts, and again in 2012, with Poland and Ukraine as hosts. The big difference in the 2021 edition, which will keep the name Euro 2020, will be that the venue will be shared between 11 cities across Europe, with the 24 participating teams competing for the trophy once again.

Ganadores de la Eurocopa

The Winners of the European Championship

With three titles each, Spain and Germany are the two national teams that have won the European Championship the most times in its history. After winning the tournament for the first time in 1964, Spain is the only team to have won it twice in a row, in 2008 and 2012. Despite the fact that the German team has played more games, scored more goals, and won more games.

National TeamTitlesYears
Bandera de Alemania Germany 3 1972, 1980, 1996
Bandera de España Spain 3 196420082012
Bandera de Francia France 2 1984, 2000
Bandera de Rusia Russia  1 1960
Bandera de Italia Italy 1 1968
Bandera de República Checa Czech Republic 1 1976
Bandera de Portugal Portugal 1 2016
Bandera de los Países Bajos Netherlands 1 1988
Bandera de Dinamarca Denmark 1 1992
Bandera de Grecia Greece 1 2004

Goleadores de la Eurocopa

All-Time Top Scorers of the EURO Championship

This competition has featured some of Europe's best players, including Michel Platini, Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Patrick Kluivert, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Nuno Gomes, who were the top scorers in the Euro finals. The goals scored by each of them, as well as the first English scorer in the ranking, Alan Shearer, are shown in the table below.

1 Bandera de Francia Michel Platini 9
= Bandera de Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 9
3 Bandera de Inglaterra Alan Shearer 7
4 Bandera de Francia Antoine Griezmann 6
= Bandera de los Países Bajos Ruud Van Nistelrooy 6
= Bandera de los Países Bajos Patrick Kluivert 6
= Bandera de Inglaterra Wayne Rooney 6
= Bandera de Francia Thierry Henry 6
= Bandera de Suecia Zlatan Ibrahimović 6
= Bandera de Portugal Nuno Gomes 6
11 Bandera de Serbia Savo Milošević 5
= Bandera de los Países Bajos Marco van Basten 5
13 Bandera de República Checa Milan Baroš 5
= Bandera de Alemania Jürgen Klinsmann 5
= Bandera de España Fernando Torres 5
= Bandera de Alemania Mario Gómez 5
= Bandera de Francia Zinedine Zidane 5

Anécdotas Eurocopa

Anecdotes of the EUROs

  • In 1960, Franco refused to allow the Spanish national team to compete in the quarter-finals against the Soviet Union.
  • After the match was tied, Italy won the semi-finals by a draw in 1968.
  • Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in 1976 as a result of Panenka's famous penalty kick.
  • In 1984, France became the only team to win every match in a tournament.
  • Denmark won the title in 1992 despite winning only two of five matches.
  • In 1996, Oliver Bierhoff scored the first "golden goal" to win the European Championship.
  • In 2008, the European Championship trophy was redesigned and made larger and heavier.
  • The final between Portugal and France in 2016 drew 600 million viewers.
  • The host country of the European Championship has only won the tournament three times.
  • Spain's Fernando Torres is the only player to have scored in both European Championship finals.