The European championship in Polandand Ukrainewill be the 4th time that the competition has been held.
It was the brainchild of Henri Delaunay, the secretary of the French Football Federation, who first came up with the idea of a continental competition in 1927.
At first he had little support and it did not start until 1960. Before 1980 only four teams went through to the final stages, but it is now a 16 – team competition and one of the major events on the football calendar.
Here is a brief tale of each edition as compiled by Imo Trumpeta sports desk.
1960: The first tournament was held inFrance to honour the man who gave birth to the competition (Henri Delaunay) andSoviet Union now defunct won the championship. That victorious team had legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin in goal.
1964:Spain was the next host and they had their first success on home soil after wining the tournament as their team was spearheaded by Luis Suarez and after then,Spain remained great under achievers until 2008 and 2010 European and world Cup triumphs.
1968: The third edition was held inItalyand, as withSpainin 1964, was won by the host nation.Englanddid reach the last four but were defeated byYugoslaviain a bad – tempered match.
1972: At that time, the raining championsItaly failed to make it to the finals, falling victims to hostBelgium in the last eight. However,West Germany did, beating hosts on their way to the final in which they beatUSSR 3 – 0.
1976: Cechoslovakia won the championship in 1976, as they defeated West –Germany in a penalty shoot – out inBalgrade,Yugoslavia. In that same editionWales came so close to reaching the final.
1980: The format changed in 1980, with eight teams but the results had familiar looks.West Germany won the second time
1984:France went close at the World Cup in 1982 before loosing toWest Germany, but there couldn’t afford to slip in the Euro championship on home soil with Michel Platini inspiring them to their first wining.
1988:Holland with Marco Van Bastern, Rund Gullit and Frank Rijkaard was without equals, not even the hard fightingUSSR could stop them from taking their first title.
1992:Denmark didn’t qualify for the show inSweden but got their chance by replacingYugoslavia who were in a stage of war. And boyDenmark went as far as the final and won from no where.
1996: Euro 96, the tournament when football came home, almost,Englandreached the last four, but lost toGermanywho then went on to win the final beatingCzechRepublicat Wembley.
2000: France came back to win their 2nd Euro Cup after showing some class with the same set of players that won the 1998 World Cup in France over powering Italy in the finals played at Belgium – Holland with a David Trazonguet Golden goal.
2004: WhenGreece were crowned kings of Europe, it was meant to bePortugal’s year in their own soil. Otto Rehhagel, the German coach of heavily unfanciedGreece pulled the magic.
2008: A brilliant tournament inAustria andSwitzerland produced a stack of stunning games. WhileSpain ended 44 year wait to end their international disappointment. EvenTurkey pulled off a series of stirring comebacks on their way to the semi – finals.
2012: The sixteen nations are all battle ready to get their hands on the trophy. One thing is sure; no team has won the Cup back to back. However Spain the reigning champions are among the hot favorites to win the tournaments along with Germany, Italy, Holland, England and Portugal, not ruling out surprises from the under dogs.