Organisers postponed Euro for 12 months due to the coronavirus outbreak and resulting lockdowns across many countries. Fans feared the tournament would be cancelled, with fans and teams looking ahead to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and Euro 2024 preparations.
Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and Euro 2020 is taking place this summer. The UEFA organized tournament opens on 11 June, and the final will be played on 11 July at Wembley Stadium in London. The English capital also hosts both semi-finals.
This article gives followers of the beautiful game an overview of the European Championship, detailing what they can expect this summer. A festival of international football lies ahead, and it'll be one to remember.
COVID-19 put Euro 2020 on ice, but the party goes along at Eurocup 2020. Our team of football writers make sure you're ready.
Here's what you'll find in the article:
Euro 2020 begins with the group stages; six pools organise 24 teams with four teams in each. The groups have a round-robin format with each team in the collection playing each other once. At the end of the three games, the team with the most points progressed to the European Championship's knockout stages. The runner-up joins them in each set.
In the knockout stages, points are not the aim teams want to progress to the next round and must win in 90 minutes. Games level after 90 minutes of football enters extra-time and penalties. Extra-time consists of two periods of 15 minutes, and there's no Golden Goal or Silver Goal rule used at Eurocup 2020.
The knockout rounds begin with the round of 16 before teams move on to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. No replays are in use at Euro 2020, so TV viewers and spectators at the stadiums know each game after the group stages will have a winner and a loser.
The most competitive set looks to be the one featuring France, Germany, Portugal, and Hungary. Those nations added to the same bracket means we are likely to lose two of them from the competition after only three games. The battle to win the group will be as thrilling as the battle to finish as runner-up. Which side will go home early? Will it be Germany, France or Portugal? Hungary could cause an upset.
As Euro 2020 was a celebration of the European Championship, there was no host nation. Instead, games were spread out across Europe, played in major stadiums. Euro 2020 is about bringing football to the people, so all games must be guaranteed supporters in attendance.
The locations used at Eurocup 2020 are:
All venues will host group stage matches. Wembley will also be the setting of the two semi-finals and the final. The quarter-finals will take place in Munich, Baku, Saint Petersburg, and Rome. Round of 16 matches come from Copenhagen, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bilbao, Budapest, and Glasgow. Take a look at our Stadiums and Tickets page for more details!
The prize pools paid to teams qualifying for Eurocup 2020 continues to grow with each competition. This summer's tournament is no different, with staggering sums of cash up for grabs to each of the 24 teams.
The European Championship history books make for exciting reading with memorable champions blazing a trail of glory to the title backed up by underdogs. The list of winners features some weirdly beautiful results, and followers of Euro 2020 will be hoping for more of the same here.
Will this summer's competition give us a winning favourite, or will one of the outsiders secure their place in history? The beauty of this competition is that anything can happen. At this stage of proceedings, anything can happen, and there are no sure winners.
Flicking past results and achievements, we note Portugal is the defending champion, having clinched its first title in 2016. The most successful teams in the competition are Germany and Spain, each level with three titles each. Will this be the year we see an outright leader with the Spanish or Germans pick up title number four? Perhaps Portugal will win back-to-back honours? Could we see a challenger emerge from the pack and win the Eurocup 2020?
Focussing on recent European Championships, it is easy to see why bookmakers are eager to keep close to Spain. The Spaniards have won two of the last three Eurocup titles, bagging glory in 2008 and 2012. They beat Germany 1-0 in Austria before hammering Italy 4-0 in Ukraine four years later. Spain missed a treble when Portugal edged France in Saint-Denis in 2016.
It's worth pointing out Italy has been knocking on the door in recent tournaments without gaining entry. The Italians finished as runners-up twice in the last five outings. They lost 2-1 against France in Rotterdam in 2000, and Spain wiped the floor with them nine years ago.
Eurocup 2020 will be Ronaldo's final European Championship, and CR7 wants to increase his scoring record. With Portugal expected to go deep into the competition, he'll do that. Just one goal for Ronaldo makes him the tournament's record goalscorer, and that will be his driving force this summer. He'll want to get the goal early then concentrate on firing his team to a famous two-in-a-row which would be another upset.
When Eurocup 2020 reaches the final, we'll get a hard-fought match. Past finals suggest this summer's decider will go down to the wire and could be a low-scoring event. When checking the scores of past finals, a few trends leap off the page at us. Each of the last four finals has produced a winner without conceding. That is also true in seven of the previous nine titles.
Last 10 European Championship finals:
How can bettors translate the trends, and what clues can we take from past finals? It's no surprise that Germany and France dominate the early Euro 2020 betting, but Portugal deserves respect and will feature in many betting slips. Italy is another that lovers of a higher price will back.
Bettors taking on the favourites with a team boasting winning experience will get a run for their money on the Italians. They have suffered the agony of collecting the silver medal twice in five renewals but will use that hurt to fuel their challenge.
Those betting on individual games will pay heed to the stats when we reach the Euro 2020 final in London. It could be another tense match, and backing no in both teams to score market carries the support of the trends. That would have secured you a profit in the last four finals. A bet on under 2.5 goals would've got you a winner in three of the previous four finals. The spare was Spain's landslide win over Italy.