Second only to the World Cup in terms of popularity, the UEFA European Championship is an event that is eagerly anticipated by football fans from across the world. Organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) - the governing body for football in the continent - UEFA European Championship or Euro stands tall as one Europe’s most important sports events. This quadrennial sports tournament sees some of the biggest powerhouses face-off in a bid to bag the continent's most valuable prize.
While the main event is held once every four years in a select nation, the qualification process goes on during the time between. Each of the 55 member nations battle it out in challenging home and away fixtures, in a bid to secure their spot in the finals. In the end, 24 of the best-ranked sports teams from the qualifying round make it to the actual tournament. Like any other sport, football too has its regular favorites, but each edition of this tournament features an underdog that is more than deserving to stand amongst the giants.
Filled with emotion, excitement and drama, this sports tournament has witnessed some of the most iconic moments in the history of football and sports in general. One such instance came in 1992, when lowly Denmark lifted the coveted trophy, beating former champions The Netherlands and Germany along the way. The tournament also carries the unpredictable atmosphere that comes with sports, an element that’s largely responsible for its huge fan-following. Euro 2004 was soaked in unpredictability as Spain and England were knocked out at the early stages, while unranked Greece went on to claim the silverware.
The 2020 UEFA European Championship is expected to be extra special as it marks the 60th anniversary of the sports tournament. To celebrate this feat, the tournament will be played across 12 cities, in as many countries, at some of the most iconic sports grounds. As World Cup winners, France enter the tournament as favorites, while defending champions Portugal, three-time champions Spain and Germany, as well as Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands and England are all expected to do well. Iceland and Croatia are minnows on paper, but neither can be written off, given their performances in the past.
Even though four years may seem too long, the raw emotion, unpredictability and sportsmanship that the Euro brings makes it well-worth the wait. This is also one of the many instances where the love for sport takes precedence over everything else, as fans come together to celebrate the beautiful game.
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