The UEFA Euro 2016 Championships is almost upon us with 10 days to go for this year’s premier event. It happens to be the 2nd most watched football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. Moreover, this is a particularly special Euro for the fact that it’ll feature 24 teams instead of the usual 16 teams.
What’s more interesting is that the first five Euro tournaments had only four teams participating. Most of the teams have managed to finish in the top four at least once in the tournament since it changed its setup, going with eight teams instead of the original four.
It has only gone on to increase from 16 to 24 now that UEFA are taking steps to evolve the tournament and make it more competitive, giving chances to more nations. With France hosting the 15th Euro Championship and for the 3rd time in their history, host nations have shown a decent track record in the tournament.
Host nations always have home support and thus, they are always favourites to win the tournament.
Below, is the list of host teams and how they performed in each Euro:
1960 European Nations’ Cup – France
France were the host nation of the 1960 European Nation’s Cup, where they finished last in the tournament considering the fact that there were only four teams participating. They lost their only match against Yugoslavia in a high scoring match, which ended with a score of 4-5 for Yugoslavia, who lost to the Soviet Union in the finals.
1964 European Nation’s Cup – Spain
Spain were the host nation of the 1964 European Nations’ Cup, where they were crowned the champions in the four-team tournament. They beat Hungary 2-1 in extra time and then they beat the Soviet Union in the finals by a score of 2-1.
UEFA Euro 1968 – Italy
Italy, in the 1968 UEFA Euro continued the trend of winning the championship while hosting the tournament, after they beat the Soviet Union in a “coin toss” in the semi-final and Yugoslavia in the replay of the finals after a 1-1 draw in the first match, which they won 2-0.
UEFA Euro 1972 – Belgium
Belgium were the hosts in the 1972 UEFA Euro, where they finished third in a four-team tournament, after losing to eventual winners Germany. In the third place play-off, Belgium beat Hungary with a score line of 2-1.
UEFA Euro 1976 – Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia hosted the 1976 UEFA Euro, where they finished fourth in a four-team tournament. They were beaten by West Germany in the semi-finals 2-4 and lost the third place play-off to Netherlands with a score line of 3-2 after extra time. Czechoslovakia won the tournament when they beat West Germany with a score of 5-3 in the replay of the final after a 2-2 draw.
UEFA Euro 1980 – Italy
Italy again hosted the UEFA Euro in the year 1980, hoping to rework their charm and win it again at home, although it was the complete opposite of what they would have expected. It was the first Euro to have eight teams participating in the tournament.
Italy finished second in their group below Belgium, who went to the finals after winning the group. Thus, the hosts had to play for third place, but they lost to Czechoslovakia. West Germany eventually won the tournament after beating Belgium 2-1.
UEFA Euro 1984 – France
France were once again hosts in the UEFA Euro 1984 tournament, which proved to be a very successful one for them as they ended up winning the tournament. France finished on top of their group, which led to the qualification in the semi-finals and not directly to the finals, like the previous year.
They met Portugal in the semis and beat them after extra time to head towards the finals. The hosts beat Spain in the final with a scoreline of 2-0 to lift their first major international trophy.