It's now officially less than 100 days till the European Championship kicks off in Rome's Stadio Olimpico, with the continent's best players competing to bring home precious silverware.
The upcoming tournament marks the 16th edition of the Euros and will take place during June and July. This pan-continental championship, which originated in 1960, is currently the second most-viewed football tournament in the world (behind the FIFA World Cup), triumphing over prestigious competitions such as the Champions League and the Copa America in the number of viewers it attracts.
Although the escalation of the COVID-19 disease in Europe casts doubts on whether or not the tournament will be played, UEFA officials have addressed the media and assured fans around the world that it will not present a threat to the competition. Therefore, with the tournament fast approaching, let's take a look at everything one should know about Euro 2020.
Unlike previous versions, this tournament will take place in 12 different venues - Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, and Saint Petersburg.
London's Wembley Stadium will host the most number of matches (7) including one of the semi-finals and the final itself. Munich, Rome, Baku, and Saint Petersburg will host the quarter-finals as well as a bulk of the group stage matches, and the remaining cities will present the round of 16 and remaining group stage games.
Interestingly, the upcoming Euros were scheduled to have 13 locations hosting, with Brussels a part of the set-up. However, delays in the construction of the city's Euro stadium prompted UEFA officials to shift Brussel's matches. These matches were subsequently awarded to London.
After a lengthy qualification process, 20 teams (out of the 24 spots) qualified for the main tournament. Portugal, the reigning champions, qualified after winning the Nations League over fellow competitor Netherlands.
Moreover, only 7 out of the 12 host countries qualified - Italy, England, Denmark, Russia, Spain, Netherlands, and Germany. The Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, and Hungary are still in contention to qualify as they reached the preliminary playoff round. This makes Azerbaijan the only host country officially eliminated as of now.
Later this month, four additional teams will fill in the remaining slots, and the final group stage draw will be completed. This edition of the competition has some exciting groups. Group F has been pre-declared by pundits and fans as the "group of death," containing three of Europe's biggest footballing nations - Portugal, France, and Germany. Group E has some competition as well - Spain's defense will be tested after Sweden and Poland exceeded expectations in the recently concluded FIFA World Cup.
Group A - ITA vs SUI: 17th June 2020; Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Group B - DEN vs. BEL: 18th June 2020; Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
Group D - ENG vs. CRO: 14th June 2020; Wembley Stadium, London
Group E - ESP vs. SWE: 15th June 2020; San Mamés, Bilbao
Group E - ESP vs. POL: 20th June 2020; San Mamés, Bilbao
Group F - FRA vs. GER: 16th June 2020; Allianz Arena, Munich
Group F - POR vs. GER: 20th June 2020; Allianz Arena, Munich
Group F - POR vs. FRA: 24th June 2020; Puskás Aréna, Budapest
Published 06 Mar 2020, 10:38 IST