What is the European Football Championship Finals?

The European Football Championship Finals, often simply called the ‘Euros’, is a men’s international football competition organised by UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations), the governing body of football on the continent. As the name would suggest, the competition is only open to national teams in Europe, so in this respect it differs greatly from the FIFA World Cup, which is open to any country in the world. Just as the World Cup, the European Football Championship Finals take place every four years, nearly always in the middle summer of the four-year World Cup cycle.

The next edition of the biggest international football event in Europe takes place in Germany in the summer of 2024, so it’s already worth taking stock of the betting sites with free bets offering up options on this festival of football. The European Football Championships Finals is the culmination of a qualifying event that is held over a period of nearly two years in the build up to the Finals.

The History of the European Football Championships

UEFA organised the very first European Football Championship Finals to take place in 1960, and the prize awarded to the winning team was named the Henry Delauney Trophy after the French football official who had first suggested the idea way back in 1927. 17 teams entered the qualifying tournament, while only four competed in the Finals, which was eventually won by the Soviet Union, who defeated Yugoslavia 2-1 in the showpiece in Paris. Since then the competition has grown greatly in size, with 55 teams entering the Euro 2024 qualifying competition, and 24 teams going on to the European Football Championship Finals tournament, taking place in Germany in June and July 2024.

To date ten teams have won the European Football Championship Finals. Two teams – Germany and Spain – have won the competition three times, while Italy (the current holders) and France have each won two titles apeice. A further six teams – the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Portugal – have each won the event once. Spain is the only country to have won back-to-back titles, in 2008 and 2012

List of Previous Winners:

1960 – The Soviet Union

1964 – Spain

1968 – Italy

1972 – West Germany

1976 – Czechoslovakia

1980 – West Germany

1984 – France

1988 – The Netherlands

1992 – Denmark

1996 – Germany

2000 – France

2004 – Greece

2008 – Spain

2012 – Spain

2016 – Portugal

2020 (delayed until 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic) – Italy

The Format of the 2024 European Football Championship Finals

Olympiastadion Berlin
Olympiastadion Berlin (Credit: katatonia82 / bigstock)

24 teams have qualified for the 2024 European Football Championship Finals taking place in Germany. The teams were seeded and then drawn into six groups of four teams. Each team in the group plays the other teams in the same group once in a league-style format (meaning three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss). At the end of the group stage, the teams finishing in first and second position in the group qualify for the knockout stage. In addition, the four best third-place teams across the six groups will also take their place in the Round of 16. The best third-place finishers will be decided by the number of points achieved, followed by goal difference (the number of goals scored minus the number of goals conceded). Once the Round of 16 starts it’s a straight knockout competition, with the winner of each pre-determined tie progressing to the following round (quarter-finals, semi-finals and then final). If the match is a draw after ninety minutes, teams play 30 minutes of extra time. If the match is still level at this stage, the result is decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Euro 2024

Euro 2024 LogoThe 2024 edition of the European Football Championship Finals (Euro 2024) is the 17th hosting of the UEFA showpiece event, and will take place in Germany in June and July 2024. There are ten venues around the country hosting matches, while the final will take place in Berlin on 14th July. The event kicks off in Munich on 14th June as the hosts take on Scotland. Of the 24 teams competing at the 2024 European Football Championship Finals, 19 are returning after qualifying last time round. Only one team is making its European Football Championships finals debut, with that being Georgia. As hosts, Germany qualified automatically for the Finals. Only one team navigated the qualifying campaign with a flawless winning record (Portugal), while a further five (France, England, Belgium, Hungary and Romania) managed to qualify without losing a single game.

Euro 2024 groups

Group A

  • Germany
  • Scotland
  • Hungary
  • Switzerland

Group B

  • Spain
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Albania

Group C

  • Slovenia
  • Denmark
  • Serbia
  • England

Group D

  • Poland
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • France

Group E

  • Belgium
  • Slovakia
  • Romania
  • Ukraine

Group F

  • Turkey
  • Georgia
  • Portugal
  • Czech Republic