Football is one of the most famous sports in the world. When the season begins, football always becomes the hottest and trendiest topic sports enthusiasts converse about. 

Look at us, for instance. Malaysians get exceptionally hyped when the football season is around the corner and it becomes a hot topic we talk, watch, and read about. Each person roots for their favorite team and pray that the team marches through the finals and ultimately takes home the trophy.

One of the reasons football is widely loved by everyone is because of the thrills that the unknown brings. In a field as big as 1.76 acres, which is equivalent to 7,140 square meters, anything can happen. The home team might win because of home advantages, but that does not mean the away team is completely helpless; the result in the first halftime does not contribute much to the outcome of the match, and the losing team might catch up and eventually emerge as the winner. These are the possibilities and actions sports fans are eager to find out and watch – seeing their favorite players busting their asses off in the field fighting for the honor of their nations.

Fans identify with other fellow fans as friends with their mutual love for football. The celebratory moment when a team score is what brings the fans together. They cheer, embrace in excitement when a victorious moment takes place, and go through the ups and downs of the match together. They say sports bring people together and football is one of them.  

Other than the die-hard fans, the Euro 2020 can only be made possible with the tedious preparation done by the organizers and parties alike. With such a prestigious status, tons of money is invested in the preparation, training, marketing, tournament cash prizes, and the likes. Many hours are spent to pull off the Euro 2020 and the pressure is on for the hosting cities.

The other portion of people that hop of the football bandwagon are the bettors, actively Sports Betting on football tournaments when football season takes place. Hundreds of millions are wagered on Sports Betting, be it online or land-based, with the hopes of multiplying their bankrolls when they win the wager.

But in this article, we won’t be focusing on the tie between betting and sports. Instead, we will learn all there is about the UEFA Euro.


How UEFA Euro Came About

The UEFA Euro tournament has braced through a remarkable journey to achieve its reputable status today. The concept of the UEFA Euro came about in 1927, when the French Football Federation’s secretary-general, Henri Delaunay, proposed an idea for a pan-European football tournament. However, it did not materialize until 1958, which was three years after his death in 1955.

His son, Pierre Delaunay, succeeded in making his father’s proposition a reality. The tournament started in 1958. The first competition was held in France. In a series of intense games, Soviet Union took home the inaugural championship title, beating Yugoslavia 2 – 1, in the finals that were held in Paris.

From four teams, the championship was extended to eight teams in the 1980 tournament. When England hosted the 1996 UEFA Euro, the number of teams participating doubled to 16, in which Germany claimed the throne and emerged as the champion. 2016 was the first time the number of teams qualified was extended to 24 teams. It was also the year that Portugal claimed their first win from the two-time champion, France.

The Henri Delaunay trophy is awarded to the winner of the European Championship for them to keep for four years until the next champion arises. The trophy was named after the late Henri Delaunay, in honor of his efforts in birthing the idea of a European championship. Pierre Delaunay was in charge of creating the trophy following his succession. Before 2008, the Henri Delaunay trophy was remodeled to make it more appealing. The new trophy is made of sterling silver and weighs about 18 pounds and stands 24 inches tall. The marble plinth was removed and the winners of the past tournaments are engraved on the back of the trophy.


The Official Mascot of Euro 2020

On the 25th of March 2019, the official mascot of UEFA Euro 2020 was announced in the Holland-Germany qualifying match that was happening in Amsterdam. Skillzy was revealed as the official mascot of the current Euro Cup. Alongside the world’s leading freestylers, Tobias Becs and Liv Cooke, Skillzy the mascot showed off his freestyle skills in front of a crowd of 55,000 football fans at the Johan Cruyff Arena before the match started. Skillzy is said to perfectly embody the freestyle, street, and Panna culture.

Before the grand reveal, the official site released a comic animation depicting how Skillzy was elected as the official mascot for UEFA Euro 2020. The story was set on a sunny afternoon. An audition was held in a studio to select the mascot for Euro 2020. The talent contest was interrupted when Skillzy accidentally broke the window when he was playing football. When he went to retrieve the ball, he showcased his skills and tricks and he instantly caught the judges’ attention. Skillzy was eventually offered the role and became the mascot.

Other than Skillzy, freestylers above the age of 18 were encouraged to submit a video of them showing off their skills to promote interactivity between the people and the hosting cities. After the videos were collected, Tobias and Liv would go through the videos submitted and choose a guy and a girl winner each from the twelve hosting cities. Thus, giving a chance for the freestylers to represent their cities and be involved in this remarkable football festival. The 24 winners will be the local UEFA Euro 2020 freestylers and will have the chance of showcasing their skills at certain events.


UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier

Since the UEFA Euro tournament will be held across 12 countries, the hosting nations do not get an automatic spot in the finals. They have to participate in the qualifying stage to earn their spot in the finals. For the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier, 55 nations are split into ten groups, a mixture of five groups with five teams and another five groups with six teams. The top two teams from each group will advance directly to the final tournament.

The remaining four spots will be determined based on the play-offs which are happening on 26 and 31 March 2020. Teams that advanced to the play-off stages are selected based on their performance in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League. Sixteen teams will be divided equally into four different routes. The winner from each route will be going straight to the final tournament. All of the matches are one-off, therefore, the losing team will be eliminated after the match.

Belgium became the first team to be qualified for the final tournament in 10th October 2019, followed by Italy on the next day. Two teams were qualified on 13th October, which was Russia and Poland. Ukraine and Spain were qualified on 14thand 15th October respectively, and that marked the end of qualifying in October. On 14th November, France, Turkey, England, and the Czech Republic were qualified for Euro 2020, followed by Sweden and Finland on 15th November. Finland is making its debut in this coming tournament. Croatia, Austria, Netherlands, and Germany secured their spots in the finals on 16th November. The current titleholder, Portugal, earned their tickets to the final competition on 17th November. Switzerland and Denmark were qualified for the finals on 18th November. Wales was the last team to be qualified for Euro 2020 on 19th November 2019.


UEFA Euro 2020

For the first time, all the matches are hosted separately across twelve main cities in Europe (London, Munich, Rome, Baku, Budapest, Saint Petersburg, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, and Bilbao). The decision was made in 2012 by the UEFA Executive Committee as a way to celebrate the 60th “birthday” of the tournament. FIFA President, Gianni Infantino thought that it would be a good idea to have different countries taking part in hosting the large-scaled tournament, especially in an economic situation where a country cannot be expected to bear such a cost that an event like this requires.

The opening game of Italy versus Turkey will be held in Olimpico, Rome on 12th June 2020. The semi-finals, which will happen on 7th July and 8th July, and finals, which will happen on 12th July, will be held in the Wembley Stadium in London as it is the biggest stadium out of all the other stadiums in the other hosting cities.

Approximately 2.5 million tickets are up for sale. The first round of application was set from 12th June to 12th July 2019, while the second round was set on 4th December to 18th December 2019. As of now, the periods of ticket applications are closed. However, the application window will reopen in April 2020 for the supporters of the national teams that qualify through the playoffs if they meet the criteria set out by their national football associations.

Unsuccessful applicants will become a part of the UEFA ‘Fans First’ program, where they will be notified about any future opportunities to purchase tickets. So, do not worry if you did not get to purchase any tickets this time.

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