The UEFA Euro 2016 will be the will be the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by UEFA. Let’s see some awesome facts and trivia about it!
1. It is scheduled to be held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.
2.For the first time, the European Championship final tournament will be contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996.
3. Under this new format, the finalists will contest a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage including three rounds and the final. Nineteen teams – the top two from each of the nine qualifying groups and the best third-placed team – joined France, who qualified automatically as hosts; a series of two-legged play-off ties between the remaining third-placed teams in November 2015 decided the last four spots at the final tournament.
4. France was chosen as the host nation on 28 May 2010, after a bidding process in which they beat Italy and Turkey for the right to host the 2016 finals.
5. The matches will be played in ten stadia in ten cities:Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse. It will be the third time that France hosts the tournament, after the inaugural tournament in 1960 and the 1984 finals.
6. The French team have won the European Championship twice: in 1984 and 2000.
7. The winning team earns the right to compete at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Russia.
8. Four bids came before the deadline at 9 March 2009. France, Italy and Turkey put in single bids while Norway and Sweden put in a joint bid.
9. Norway and Sweden eventually withdrew their bid in December 2009.
10. The host was selected on 28 May 2010.
11. The qualifying draw took place at the Palais des Congres Acropolis in Nice, on 23 February 2014 with the first matches being played in September 2014.
12. A total of 53 teams competed for 23 places in the final tournament to join France, who have automatically qualified as hosts. Gibraltar competed in a European Championship qualifying for the first time since their affiliation to UEFA in 2013.
13. The seeding pots were formed on the basis of the UEFA national team coefficients, with the Euro 2012 champions Spain and hosts France automatically top seeded.
14. The 53 national sides were drawn into eight groups of six teams and one group of five teams. The group winners, runners-up, and the best third-placed team (with the results against the sixth-placed team discarded) qualify directly to the final tournament.
15. The remaining eight third-placed teams will contest two-legged play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers.
16. In March 2012, Gianni Infantino, the UEFA General Secretary at the time, stated that UEFA would review the qualification competition to ensure that it was not “boring”.
17. In September 2011, during UEFA’s first ever full strategy meeting, Michel Platini proposed a qualification format involving two group stages, but the proposal was not accepted by the member associations.
18. In May 2013, Platini confirmed a similar qualifying format would be again discussed during the September 2013 UEFA executive committee meeting in Dubrovnik.
19. Thirteen of the sixteen teams (including hosts France) that qualified for Euro 2012 qualified again for the 2016 final tournament. Among them were England, who became only the sixth team to record a flawless qualifying campaign (10 wins in 10 matches), defending European champions Spain, and world champions Germany, who qualified for their 12th straight European Championship finals.
20. Romania, Turkey, Austria and Switzerland all returned after missing out in 2012, with the Austrians qualifying for just their second final Euro tournament, after having co-hosted Euro 2008.
21. Returning to the final tournament after long absences were Belgium for the first time since co-hosting Euro 2000, and Hungary for the first time in 44 years, having last appeared at Euro 1972, and 30 years since appearing in a major tournament, their previous one being the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
22. Scotland were the only team from the British Isles not to qualify for the finals, and 2004 champions Greece finished bottom in their group. Two other previous Euro champions, 1988 winners Netherlands and 1992 victors Denmark, both missed out on the finals, the Netherlands for the first time since Euro 1984 (also held in France), and missing out on their first major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as their failure to qualify being only 16 months after the team finished third in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Denmark for the first time since Euro 2008, after losing in the play-off rounds to Sweden.
23. Each national team had to submit a squad of 23 players, three of whom must be goalkeepers, at least ten days before the opening match of the tournament. If a player is injured or ill severely enough to prevent his participation in the tournament before his team’s first match, he can be replaced by another player.
24. The competition’s official opening song is “This One’s For You” by David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson, and the official closing song is “Free Your Mind” by Maya Lavelle.
25. It was reported that David Guetta sought one million fans to add their voices to the official anthem via a website.
26. The official mascot of the tournament, Super Victor, was unveiled on 18 November 2014.
27. He is a child superhero in the kit of the France national football team, with a red cape at the back, to echo the colours of the Flag of France. The cape, boots and ball are claimed to be the child’s superpowers.
28. The mascot first appeared during the match between France and Sweden at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on 18 November 2014.
29. The name of the mascot was revealed on 30 November 2014 after receiving about 50,000 votes from the public on the official UEFA website, beating the other nominated names of “Driblou” and “Goalix”.
30. It is based on the idea of victory and references the boy’s super powers that he gained when he found the magic cape, boots and ball.
31. The name of the mascot is the same as the name of a sex toy. UEFA said that this coincidence was not their responsibility because the name was selected by fan voting.
32. The official match ball, Beau Jeu, was unveiled on 12 November 2015 by former France player Zinedine Zidane.