To celebrate the opening weekend of the Euros in just a few days’ time, we’ve pooled together the 16 key facts and figures every football fan should know!
Let’s kick off…
- Held every four years, Euro 2016 will be the 15th UEFA European Championship – the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by UEFA.
- Henri Delaunay, the secretary of the French Football Federation, first came up with the idea of a continental competition in 1927.
- The UEFA European Championships are being held in France for record third time – having already hosted the tournament in 1960 and 1984.
- For the first time, 24 teams will take part in the final tournament, having been increased from the 16-team format used since 1996.
- Spain come into Euro 2016 as the two-time defending champions – having won Euro 2012 and 2008.
- The winning team from Euro 2016 will earn the right to compete at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, hosted by Russia.
- The matches will be played in ten different stadiums, across ten different cities: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse.
- The official mascot of the tournament is Super Victor – a child superhero in the kit of the France national football team, with a red cape at the back, to echo the colours of the Flag of France.
- The official match ball, Beau Jeu, was unveiled on 12 November 2015 by former French superstar Zinedine Zidane.
- Michel Platini holds the record for most goals in a finals tournament, scoring 9 times during Euro 84 – he is also the only player to have scored two hat-tricks in the same tournament.
- The odds for England to win the Euros are 9/1. Germany and France are the bookies’ favourites.
- There were 694 goals, across the 272 games during qualifying.
- England qualified for Euro 2016 with 10 wins from 10 games, the best record out of all the qualified teams.
- There are 5 nations going to a European Championship for the first time – Albania, Slovakia, Iceland, N. Ireland and Wales.
- The ‘Panenka penalty’ originated at Euro 1976, when Antonin Panenka’s famously scored a chipped penalty for Czechoslovakia to beat West Germany in a penalty shootout.
- England have the youngest squad in France – with an average age of 25 years and 308 days. Let’s hope the youthfulness of the side pays off!
Euro 2016 kicks off on Friday 10th June, with France playing Romania as the opening game. England kick off their campaign against Russia on Saturday 11th June. Let’s hope they’re on the ball!