Euro 2020 refers to the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, a men’s football tournament involving European national teams that are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The Euro tournament is held every four years and hosted by nations selected by UEFA. UEFA member nations have to play qualifying matches to determine the teams to participate in every tournament edition.
Euro 2020 was supposed to be held in June 2020 but was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It has since been rescheduled to take place from June 11 to July 11, 2021. The tournament organizers have retained the name “Euro 2020” but the tournament is also referred to as Euro 2021. Euro 2020 will be the 16th edition of the European Championship tournament.
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Euro 2020 tournament format
Euro 2020 is a special edition tournament that will be used to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Championship. UEFA decided that this edition will be held in 12 different countries, each producing one host city.
There were also concerns about the costs of hosting the big tournament. Turkey is the only country to submit a single bid to host it. There were joint bids from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and another from Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Hosting the tournament did not guarantee automatic qualification. All UEFA member nations had to play qualifying matches and some hosts failed to qualify in the end. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome will host the opening game of the tournament. The largest venue among the 12 host cities, Wembley Stadium will host the semi-finals and finals.
Euro 2020 Host Cities
Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Johan Cruyff Arena
Baku (Azerbaijan) – Olympic Stadium
Bilbao (Spain) – San Mames
Bucharest (Romania) – Arena Nationala
Budapest (Hungary) – Puskas Arena
Copenhagen (Denmark) – Parken Stadium
Dublin (Republic of Ireland) – Aviva Stadium
Glasgow (Scotland) – Hampden Park
London (England) – Wembley Stadium
Munich (Germany) – Allianz Arena
Rome (Italy) – Stadio Olimpico
Saint Petersburg (Russia) – Krestovsky Stadium
UEFA executive committee removed Brussels, Belgium as a host city after delays in the construction of their new Eurostadium which was supposed to be used for the tournament.
Euro 2020 Tournament Groups
Euro 2021 will have 24 teams in 6 groups (A to F), with each group having four teams. The host nations that qualified for the tournament were placed in groups based in their home cities. They will get to play all their three group games at home (except for Russia, which will play 2 group games at home and 1 away). A total of 51 matches will be played throughout the tournament.
Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia
Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia
Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany
The group matches will be played on 11th – 23rd June, 2021.
The top two teams in each group will proceed to the round of 16 where they will be joined by the four best third-placed teams.
The knockout phase starts with the Round of 16 matches on 26th – 29th June 2021.
The Quarter-finals will be held on 2nd – 3rd July 2021.
The Semi-finals are on 6-7 July 2021.
The Finals is on 11th July 2021.
Teams at Euro 2021 will be allowed to have a maximum of 5 substitutes in their matches at the tournament, up from the usual 3 subs. In case of extra time, a sixth sub will be allowed. The changes became necessary following the COVID-19 pandemic, which created fixture congestion and imposed an extra burden on players.
UEFA’s executive committee is also open to allowing more than the usual 23 players in each squad. This is to cover for a possible COVID-19 outbreak in the teams during the tournament. It will also help in reducing players’ fatigue following a season of congested fixtures.
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Euro 2020 Qualification Path
All the 55 UEFA national teams had to go through a qualification process to compete for the 24 tournament places. There were no automatic qualification spots even for the 12 host nations. The host cities were picked before the qualifying matches started, so there was a chance some host nations would miss the tournament.
The top 2 teams from the 10 qualifying groups qualified for the tournament. An additional 4 teams qualified through a playoff format after failing to make it through the main qualifying groups. 7 of the 12 host countries qualified for the tournament from their qualifying groups. Another 2 qualified via playoffs while 3 host countries missed out on the tournament.
The 10 main qualifying group winners were: Belgium, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Spain, France, England, Croatia, Germany, and Switzerland.
The 10 main qualifying group runners-up were: Russia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, and Wales.
Link to the UEFA Nations League
The 2018/2019 UEFA Nations League was linked to the qualifying process for the 2020 European Championship. The outcome was used to determine which teams go to the playoffs to fill the four remaining slots for the Euro 2021 tournament. This provided teams with another route to qualify for the tournament.
The UEFA Nations League has four divisions. Each division was allocated one qualification slot. Four teams from each division that had not yet qualified for Euro 2020 were given a chance to compete for the qualifying slot through a playoff format.
The playoff comprised of a one-off semi-final game and a finals game to determine the winner that gets the qualifying spot. The four teams to qualify through the playoffs were Scotland, Slovakia, Hungary, and North Macedonia.
- Belgium and Italy won all their qualifying matches (10 wins in 10 matches)
- France, Germany, and Portugal qualified for a record 13th straight European Championship
- Finland and North Macedonia qualified for the European Championship for the first time
- Greece were the only former champions to fail to qualify for this tournament
- Azerbaijan, Romania, and the Republic of Ireland are the host countries that failed to qualify
- 7 of the host countries have never hosted the European Championship before
- Defending champions Portugal (Euro 2016), France (World Champions 2018), and Germany (World Champions 2014) are in the same Group F of Euro 2021