The UEFA 2016 European Championship takes place in France between 10.6 and 10.7.
UEFA 2016 European Championship, usually rated one of the most presitigious football tournaments in the world, right there with World Cup, sometimes even higher. Now France 2016 is a little bit different, for the simple reason that there are 24 teams competing this time, instead of the usual 16 teams. This change is welcome for most European countries who now had a legitimate shot to enter the European Championship for the first time ever. Teams like Wales, Slovakia, Albania and Iceland. More games to watch, more football to enjoy, more atmoshpere to enjoy(in theory anyway).
All of the changes are not as positive though, there are few matches that are NOT THAT interesting for the majority of the viewers. Such as Romania vs Albania of group A or Iceland vs Hungary from group F. Surely those matches are some of the best their respective countries have ever seen, but for the most its just a match between teams that are bound to finish 3rd and 4th.
The other change which the 24team system brings, is its no longer just the 2 best teams that advances to the later stages, no. Four of the best 3rd finishing teams will also take part in the knockout rounds. And while looking at the groups, its almost certain you can pick out the 4 possible teams without a game being played. Like for example, Groups B, D and E are a given for the best 3rd place finish simply due to the better lower seed teams in the groups. Now this could be a positive OR negative change, you will only know after you see how it pans out.
But then again, i would have to say the positives out-do the negatives in the 24 team system. In an essence, more football to watch during the summer.
For reference the 24teams participating and their respective groups are:
- Group A: Albania, France, Romania, Switzerland
- Group B: England, Russia, Slovakia, Wales
- Group C: Germany, Northern-Ireland, Poland, Ukraine
- Group D: Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey
- Group E: Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden
- Group F: Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal
There will be a total of 51 matches in the 2016 European Championship in France. The matches will be played on 10 cities/stadiums throughout France, from the northern city of Lille to the mediterranean Marseille and Nice.
The featuring stadiums(and the matches played in the stadium)are:
- Stade de France in Saint Denis(4 group stage matches, including the European Champions opening match between France and Romania-of which France won 2-1. Stade de France will also host one last16 match, one quarterfinal and the Final on 10.7).
- Stade Velodrome in Marseille(4 group stage matches of which one just finished, England and Russia played a 1-1 draw moments ago. Stade Velodrome will also host a one quarterfinal and one semifinal.).
- Stade de Lumières in Lyon(4 group stage matches including Belgium vs Italia, surely one of the best group stage matches in Euro2016. Also Stade de Lumières will host one last16 match and one semifinal).
- Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille(4 group stage matches including Switzerland vs France, which should be ONE OF the best group stage matches. Stade Pierre Mauroy will host one last16match and one quarterfinal).
- Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux(4 group stage matches including a thriller between Croatia and Spain. Also one quarterfinal will be played in Matmut Atlantique).
- Parc Des Princes in Paris(4 group stage matches including Portugal vs Austria and Turkey vs Croatia. Also one last16 match will be played in Parc des Princes).
- Allianz Riviera in Nice(3 group stage matches including Spain vs Turkey. Allianz Riviera will also host one last16 match.
- Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens(3 group stage matches including England vs Wales, which will be fireworks in the pitch and the stadium as the brits duke it out. Stade Bollaert-Delelis will also host one last16 match).
- Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne(3 group stage matches includes no real showpiece but three semi-solid matches with Slovakia vs England maybe the most highlighted one. Stade Geoffroy Guichard will host one last16 match).
- Stade Municipal in Toulouse(3 group stage matches which really includes nothing extraordinary, Russia vs Wales might be the most interesting match played in there. Stade Municipal will also host one last16 match.)
10 Stadiums, some more spectacular than the others, but every stadium should be almost full in every single match. And with full stadium the atmosphere should be great, even if some of the matches arent that great on paper. Anyway, it will be a glorious month for any football junkie. As a side not, there is also Copa America Centenario being played in the USA at the same time. BUT, you got to sleep at some point dont you? Happy 2016 European Championship‘s everyone!