The grand event of 2024 is approaching, the European Championship, let's review its passion and glory

5/8/2024 3:37:10 PM

    As the 23-24 season of European leagues approaches its end, the start of the 2024 European Championship (Germany) is also getting closer. Looking back at history, the resurgence of the European Championship seems like an ancient and exciting legendary story is about to unfold again. This competition carries the essence of European football culture and records countless unforgettable moments.


    At this exciting moment, let's delve deeper into the legend of the European Championship, unveil its current glory, and explore some of the stories and peculiarities in the history of the European Championship.

    The UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the UEFA European Championship or the UEFA European Cup, is the highest level national football tournament participated by UEFA member states. The original purpose of this competition was to fill the four-year gap between two FIFA World Cups, thereby providing more opportunities for European countries to compete.

    Early European Cups

    In 1960, the first European Championship began. At that time, the name was called the European Cup of Nations, and only four teams participated. The host team, France, defeated Yugoslavia 5-4 in the opening match. In the final stage, France lost 0-2 to the Czech Republic and finished fourth, while the Soviet team defeated Yugoslavia 2-1 in extra time to win the championship of the first competition. But four years later, the Soviet team also tasted their own bitter fruit, and the Spanish team reversed 2-1 in Madrid, winning their first European Cup championship.

    In the 1968 European Championship, Italy won the championship in the final, and in the 1972 European Championship, Gerd Muller scored two goals in the semi-finals to help West Germany defeat Belgium. He then scored two more goals in the 3-0 final against the Soviet Union, leading the team to victory.

    In the 1976 European Championship, Czechoslovakia defeated defending champions West Germany on penalties in the final, achieving the victory. Previously, the two sides drew 2-2 at the end of extra time.

    The European Championship of the 1980s

    In the 1980s, the scale of the European Championship doubled, with eight teams participating in the final stage, marking a new era for this competition. In the 1980 European Championship, West Germany became the champion, having previously achieved success in 1972.

    Then, in the 1984 European Championship, we witnessed Platini's great performance. The Frenchman contributed two hat tricks on their home court, becoming the top scorer on the scorer list with nine goals, helping France win the championship.

    This is not the first time England has experienced heartbreak in the European Championship. In 1988, the England team had many talented players on the three lines, which was really exciting. However, they still continue the long-standing British story, only keeping their expectations stuck in anticipation and turning them into disappointment. This "champion team" ended up losing all three matches and finishing last in the group.

    The champion team of the Netherlands, Van Basten, was a player who shone brightly in this European Cup, and the Dutch trio of swordsmen showed their talents.

    At the same time, the 1988 European Championship will be the last match to implement the return rule.

    The European Cup of the 1990s

    In the 1990s, matches during this period witnessed the birth of the most incredible champions (Danish fairy tales) and changes in football rules.

    Denmark was not even supposed to participate in the 1992 match because of internal turmoil in Yugoslavia at the time, and the favorite team for the championship disintegrated before leaving. Denmark joined as a temporary substitute, but they eliminated the defending champions Netherlands in the semi-finals and then defeated the defending World Cup champions Germany in the final to win the championship.

    Although the backpass rule had been abolished, in the 1996 European Championship, there was a way for goalkeepers to be busier, which was through penalty shootouts. The rule of UEFA is that if a draw occurs within 90 minutes of the legal time from the quarter finals to the final, there will be two extra time matches of 15 minutes each, with a golden goal in extra time. If the winner still cannot be determined, the penalty shootout will be used to determine the winner. The German team won the game and won the cup for the third time. This was an exciting summer, and it seemed like football might go home because the host England team advanced all the way to the semi-finals and lost to Germany on penalties.

    Nevertheless, Alan Shearer became the top scorer of the game with five goals and remains the only English player to win the Best Shooter award in the European Championship final. However, it is interesting that before the first match against Switzerland in the 1996 European Championship, Shearer failed to score in a total of 640 days of playing 12 times for the England team.

    The European Championship of the 2000s

    This is an era full of goals. Every European Cup held within this decade has ranked among the top four in terms of average number of goals scored per game. In the 2000 match, with Trezeguet's golden goal, the French team achieved consecutive victories in the European and World Cups.

    But for the England team, this period was more of a heartbreak. Despite leading all opponents in the group stage, they were ultimately eliminated in a heartbreaking way. Romanian player Ganea scored a penalty in the 89th minute and sent them away.

    In the 2004 European Championship, the Greek team became a "Greek myth". They eliminated Spain and Russia in Group A, then eliminated France in the quarter finals, and then defeated Czech Republic in the semi-finals. Finally, in the final, they faced Portugal and won, putting a perfect end to the crazy journey of this dark horse team with only a 150/1 chance of advancing.

    This competition also witnessed the rise of two players who later became global superstars: Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

    The 2008 European Championship was a wonderful football match dominated by Spain. Although the 2004 European Championship witnessed the birth of the youngest goal record, the 2008 European Championship set the record for the oldest goal in European Championship history, with Ivica Vastic scoring a goal for Austria in a match against Poland at the age of 38 and 257 days old.

    It is worth mentioning that the England team did not advance and there was no own goal in this tournament.

    The European Championship of the 2010s

    In the 2012 European Championship, Spain defeated Italy 4-0 to win the championship, becoming the first country to win the European Championship consecutively.

    Four years later, their neighboring country Portugal became the tenth country to lift the European Championship, despite ranking third in the group stage. The Welsh team also performed strongly in the 2016 European Championship, becoming the first new team to reach the semi-finals since Sweden in 1992.

    The 2020 European Championship

    The first European Championship of the 2020 era was different from before. First of all, due to the impact of the COVID-19, the competition was postponed for one year and held in 2021, but still named after 2020. Secondly, this competition does not have a fixed host country, but will be held in 11 different European countries. This year's European Championship is the first one to use a video assistant referee system.

    In the final at Wembley Stadium, Italy defeated England in a penalty shootout and won their second European Cup championship. This is their first championship in 53 years, setting a record for the longest interval between European Championship titles among a single country, surpassing the 44 year wait for Spain between 1964 and 2008.

    The 2024 European Championship

    In the 2024 European Championship, we look forward to seeing exciting matches and outstanding performances from players on the field.

    Who will become the ultimate champion, this will be a question full of variables!