Looking back at the European Championship

The UEFA European Football Championship 2012 is about to begin co hosted by Poland and Ukraine. It is the most important tournament hosted by the Union of European Football Associations. It began as a four team tournament in 1960 known as the European Nations Cup. Today, it has over 50 teams playing its qualifiers and 16 teams competing in the tournament for the title.

It all began in France in the year 1960 as a brain child of Henri Delaunay. 17 countries entered the competition and four entered the play offs.  The Soviet Union beat Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia beat France. In the finals, Viktor Ponedelnik scored the winning goal and took the championship cup home to The Soviet Union.

In the next tournament, in 1964, Spain beat The Soviet Union 2-1. Little did they know that it will be their only international victory for the next 44 years until they won the cup again in 2004.

It was in 1968 that the tournament’s name was changed to its current name. It was also in this year that for the first time the qualifying groups were featured. The host team Italy won in a replay after a draw.

 

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