UEFA Euro 2020 Football, Wembley
June 11 - July 11
The UEFA European Football Championship (or UEFA Euro 2020) kicks off on 11 June, with London hosting the final a month later on 11 July at Wembley stadium.
The last time London hosted the final of a major nations’ football tournament was in 1996. England reached the semi-finals to be defeated by Germany on penalties; current boss Gareth Southgate failed with the crucial penalty. The time before that in 1966, England managed to beat West Germany in the World Cup final for their only major tournament success. Since then it has been all over.
History of the Euros
The UEFA European Football Championship has been held each four years, alternating on even years with the World Cup, since 1960. Originally called the European Nations’ Cup, it changed its name by UEFA in 1968. Last year’s tournament was postponed for a year due to Covid, hence the somewhat confusing title – Euro 2020.
The 15 previous tournaments have been won by ten nations: Germany and Spain (three times), France (twice), and the USSR, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Portugal (once). Consequently, the tournament has been shared around much more evenly than the World Cup that tends to be hogged by the major footballing heavyweights. Portugal won the tournament in 2016, which was held in France.
The finals have grown from only four nations in 1960 when the USSR beat Yugoslavia in the Red Curtain final, to the current 24.
The Euros have also had their share of fairy tales, not least the triumph of Greece in 2004, although Denmark’s 1992 triumph, when they had not even qualified for the finals and only participated due to the expulsion of Yugoslavia, pushes it close.
Perhaps the most memorable moment was Panenka’s winning penalty chipped in the Euro 1976 Final shoot out for Czechoslovakia against Germany. The technique still bears his name.
Euro 2020 Schedule
The 24 nations need to navigate through the Euro 2020 Group Stage to reach the knock-out stages which start on 26 June. There are six Euro 2020 groups with the top two teams plus four others qualifying for the round of 16, so even if your team comes third in it group it still can progress.
The tournament itself starts on 11 June in Rome with Turkey playing against one of several Euro 2020 host nations, Italy.
The major departure for 2020/1 is that the tournament is being hosted around the Continent (and beyond) with venues ranging from Baku to Seville. Despite the continuing Covid pandemic, and environmental concerns over the CO2 impact of having multiple destinations, UEFA has gone ahead with its initial plans. If you follow Wales for instance then you will have to fly to Baku and Rome.
Expect the group stages to have a fair share of shock. Can North Macedonia surprise the Netherlands perhaps, or Finland topple Russia? Scotland are seeking to make it through to the knock-out stages of a tournament for the first time, a task that will be simplified if they can beat the Czech Republic in Glasgow on 14 June.
Wembley Euro 2020 Fixtures
Wembley hosts its first game on 13 June, when England take on Croatia. It also hosts England’s games against Scotland (18 June) and the Czech Republic (22 June), as well as two round of 16 games on 26 and 29 June (the latter possibly involving England), both semi-finals (6 and 7 July) and the final (11 July).
Euro 2020 Predictions
The good news for England fans is that so long as they win their group, the only ‘away’ game will be the quarter final, which would be in Rome probably against Spain. The bad news is that they might well be playing Germany or Portugal in the round of 16.
While it’s not implausible that Southgate’s team will go one better than their manager did as a player, the likelihood is that the Euro 2020 winners will come from one of current world cup holders France, the reigning European champions Portugal and number one ranked team Belgium.
My personal tip though is that Italy will triumph at Wembley on 11 July.
Euro 2020 Venues
For those of you with an atlas, the Euro 2020 host cities are Rome, Baku, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, London, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Seville, Budapest and Munich.
Teams involved are Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales. Group B: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia. Group C: Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine. Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland. Group E: Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Group F (Group of Death): France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal.
For more information
Click here for the official website for UEFA Euros 2020.
Mark Bibby Jackson
Festivals by Category
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