In what would be an unprecedented circumstance for the football world (and the entire world at large), the uefa champions league matches or Euros will finally take place this coming summer — some eight months later than expected due to the still ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
The final four spots for the coveted continental tournament was decided this past November as Scotland joined England and Wales in qualifying, thanks to a dramatic end-of-game penalty shootout against Serbia in the play-off finals.
The northern country now joins 23 other teams in vying for championship glory in what would have been the first time in the tournament’s 60 plus years of heritage that the Euro cup was delayed by a year.
Here’s what you need to know from the summer’s hottest football event — Euro 2020.
The Summer’s Hottest International Football Event Has Finally Arrived
Commonly known as the UEFA European Championship, the Euros is a prestigious event contested primarily by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). This highly competitive contest would then determine the best ucl champions league in Europe, with the current champions Portugal looking to clinch a repeat win of their 2016 tournament glory.
Just like other global sporting events, the competition has been held every four years since its inception in 1960, except for 2020 where it was postponed to this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the entirety of Europe and the world.
Initially named the European Nations’ Cup, the tournament is most often associated with the internationally known World Cup — usually scheduled to be in the even-numbered year in between the World Cup tournaments. Today, the UEFA Euros is the second most-watched football tournament in the world, just behind the FIFA World Cup.
UEFA Euro 2020 League Format
Prior to entering the established tournament, all teams apart from the host nations (which will automatically qualify) will have to compete in a qualifying process by either finishing in one of the qualifying spots or win a play-off. After qualifying, a team will proceed to the final round in the host country.
The qualifying phase begins fairly early, in the autumn after the preceding FIFA World Cup, which means the qualifying process begins nearly two years before the finals.
Groups for qualification are decided by a draw executed by the UEFA committee using the seeding method. Seeded teams would then include the reigning champions (e.g. Portugal for Euro 2020) as well as other teams based on their performance and merit in the preceding FIFA World Cup and the last Euros.
As the qualifying process takes place over a span of years, a ranking is produced to obtain an accurate view of the teams’ abilities. This is done by calculating the total number of points won by a particular team and dividing it by the number of games played. That is to say, the average points per game.
In the case of a team having hosted one of the two most recent aforementioned competitions, only the results from the single most recent qualifying rounds are used. If there are two teams that have equal points per game, the committee then makes their decision based on a few parameters:
- A predetermined coefficient from the matches played in the most recent qualifying rounds.
- The average goal difference.
- The average number of goals scored.
- The average number of away goals scored.
- Drawing lots.
The qualifying phase is then played in a group format with the composition of the groups determined via drawing lots from the pre-defined seeded bowls. The highly anticipated draw takes place after the preceding World Cup’s qualifying rounds and in the case of the UEFA Euro 2020, the group qualifying phase comprised ten groups.
Each group is played in a league format and teams play each other on both home and away rounds. The top two teams in their group will qualify for the final tournament, with the remaining spots filled by the play-off round depending on their ranking in the UEFA league.
Similar to other league formats, three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, and no points for a loss. In the event that one or more teams have equal points after all matches have been played, a few criteria will be considered to distinguish the sides:
- The higher number of points scored in the group matches played.
- Superior goal difference from the group matches played.
- The higher number of goals scored in the group matches played.
- The higher number of away goals scored in the group matches played.
- The results of all group matches will also be taken into account:
- Superior goal difference
- The higher number of goals scored
- The higher number of away goals scored
- Conduct during the matches (fair play)
- Drawing lots.
And in the case of uefa champions league 2021, the event is being held across the continent for the first time in the competition’s long history, with 11 cities in total playing host over the month-long period. The host cities include Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, London, Rome, Seville, and St Petersburg.
The UEFA Euro Finals
For the most current iteration of the Euros, 24 teams made the cut to vie for the coveted Henri Delaunay Trophy. These teams are grouped into six groups of four as follows:
Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales
Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland
Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, North Macedonia
Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland
Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia
Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, Hungary
At a glance, it would certainly seem that Group F would be the most challenging group out of the lot as the world champions France, European champions Portugal, and the always competitive previous World Cup winners Germany are in the same bracket along with play-off winners Hungary.
This would mark only the second time where the world champions and the European champions have been placed in the same group — with the last occurrence set in Euro 1992 where the Netherlands beat Germany.
You can catch all of the fiery action in the Euros from 11th June to 11th July 2021.