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European Showdown: UEFA European Football Championship
08 June, 2012 09:56
Has it been too long since you heard some form of the exclamation "GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!?
You're in luck. Today is the kick-off of the UEFA European Football Championship. Called Euro 2012, this is the 14th European Championship. 16 National teams compete for the title of the best in Europe, one of the best in the world.
The final tournament is being hosted by Poland and Ukraine, between June 8th and July 1st 2012. This is the most prestigious European football trophy in a game that unites national pride.
Host Cities & Stadiums
Eight cities have been selected by UEFA to host the games. Each stadiums will hold 3 matches.
Twelve of the sixteen finalists have participated in previous tournaments. Each nation had to submit a squad of 23 players, three of whom have to be goalkeepers. Players return from their various private teams to play for pride, play for their country.
- Czech Republic
- Denmark - Returning having last participated in 2004.
- England - Returning having last participated in 2004.
- Germany - Three-time world champions.
- Italy - World Cup holders.
- Netherlands - Top contender.
- Poland - Co-host of the tournament.
- Republic of Ireland - Return after an absence of 24 years to make their second appearance at a European finals.
- Spain - The defending champions of 2008. They will compete to win an unprecedented third consecutive major tournament.
- Ukraine - Co-host debuts as an independent nation. As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine won the inaugural competition in 1960.
There are 31 tournament matches meticulously scheduled. In the draw procedure, each of the four groups had one team drawn from each pot. This determined which place in the group each team would take (i.e. A2, A3 or A4) to create the match schedule. The balls were drawn by four former players who have each been part of European Championship winning teams: Horst Hrubesch, Marco van Basten, Peter Schmeichel and Zinedine Zidane. As co-hosts, Poland and Ukraine were automatically placed in Pot 1, along with Spain, as the defending champions.
The schedule can be followed on UEFA Euro 2012 Schedule
How to Watch
Most people aren't able to watch the games live. Not only is travel and accommodations to the host cities expensive, application to purchase the 1.4 million tickets had to be made in March 2011. Over 12 million applications were received at an all-time record for the UEFA European Championship. Lotteries determined who got the tickets with prices starting at €30 all the way to €600. Tickets can still be purchased, but prices have sky-rocketed. Beware of tickets on the black market as many tickets require passport identification and cannot be changed.
There are few accommodations still available and most are only available at premium prices. UEFA president Michel Platini labeled hoteliers as "bandits and crooks" in his inspection trip in April 2012, but that has done little to help the situation. However, for those that are creative or especially determined there are some resources.
For more on visiting during Euro 2012, read the Warsaw Fan Guide or Gdansk Accommodation Options.
Telewizja Polska (TVP) will be broadcasting all matches from Poland, while the National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU) and Telekanal Ukrayina (TRK) will be broadcasting matches in Ukraine. These broadcasts will be picked up and broadcast internationally, like the BBC coverage in the United Kingdom. The site, www.livesoccertv.com offers information on what channels are showing the game where.
Almost every bar, cafe or restaurant will be showing the games. To find a supportive bar for your team, locate an expat establishment. This is easy for English or Irish followers with the plethora of Irish & English pubs all over the world. You can locate a hotspot in your community through Expat Guides, expat network, expat blogs, or chat on the forum.
Many cities are also dedicating large screens to show the games. Check your local outdoor theatres, community venues, or government listings for showings. This is a great way to mix the natives, and/or support your home team.
Are you attending Euro 2012? Share your stories, tips, and information in the comment section.
UPDATE: In the final match on July 1st at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Spain won the tournament by a score of 4–0 over Italy. Spain became the first team to win two consecutive European Championships, and the first European international team to win three straight major tournament titles (UEFA Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup).