EUROs First Ever Winners: The Soviet Union takes home the first EURO Cup in 1960
The first European Championship took place in 1960 in France. The tournament was a knockout competition with only 17 national teams. They had to play home-and-away matches until the semifinals. West Germany, Italy, and England didn't participate in this tournament. The final game of EURO 1960 was played between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. After a 1-1 draw for 90 minutes, the goal scored by Viktor Ponedelnik in the 114th minute allowed the Soviets to take home the first EURO trophy.
EURO 1964: Victory for Spain
In 1964, the second edition of the European Championship was held in Spain. Even this time, the tournament was a knockout competition, where till the semifinals, teams had to play home-and-away matches. This year, participated 29 teams where the Soviet Union was for the 2nd time in the final. The other finalist was Spain. Spain lifted the trophy for the first time, as they won 2-1 against the Soviet Union in Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
EURO 1968: Italy and the coin toss
In 1968 the 3rd European Championship was held in Italy. This year, the knockout round was replaced by the group phase. The semifinal match between Italy and the Soviet Union ended in 0-0, but a coin toss chose the finalist. Later on, Italy would draw (1-1) with Yugoslavia in the final, and the match was replayed two days later, and Italy won 2-0. Winning this way for the first time the European Championship trophy.
EURO 1972: West Germany Wins
In 1972 the European Championship was held in Belgium. The qualification scheme was the same as in Italy 1968. Belgium was beaten by Western Germany in the semifinals. And West Germany won the final 3-0 against the Soviet Union.
EURO 1976 outcome decided by penalties. Czechoslovakia wins
In 1976, Yugoslavia hosted the 5th edition of the European Championship. It was the first time for Czechoslovakia to reach the finals of this competition, also that year, they've won the European Championship trophy for the first time. In the final, they faced Western Germany. 120 minutes finished in a 2-2 draw, and they won by penalties 5-3.
EURO 1980: West Germany the first team to win the European Championship twice
In 1980 the European Championship took place in Italy for the 2nd time. This was the first edition where 8 teams qualified for the European Championship finals. 8 teams were divided into two groups. The first places of each group went to the final. Belgium faced West Germany, and the game finished in 1-2 in favor of Western Germany.
After six editions, West Germany was the first team that won this tournament for the 2nd time.
A victory for France at EURO 1984
In 1984 the tournament was held in France. Even that year 8 teams qualified and were divided into two groups. The first two places went to the semifinals. France 3- 2 Portugal (a.e.t) and Denmark 1-1 Spain (4-5 pen.). France won the competition for the first time 2-0 against Spain.
EURO 1988: The Netherlands won for the first time the European Championship trophy
In 1988 the European Championship final tournament took place in Western Germany. West Germany was disqualified by the Netherlands in the semifinals. And later the Netherlands faced the Soviet Union in the final round where they've won 2-0. Led by Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, the Netherlands won for the first time the European Championship trophy.
Denmark beats Germany at EURO 1992
In 1992 UEFA European Championship was hosted by Sweden. Denmark played instead of Yugoslavia in this tournament after they were disqualified due to the breakup of the country and the ensuing warfare there. In the semifinals, Denmark eliminated the reigning champions, the Netherlands by penalties (5-4). In the final, they beat Germany 2-0.
EURO 1996: And another victory for Germany
In 1996 was held was the 10th edition of the European Championship. It took place in England, and for the first time, 16 teams qualified for the finals. Divided into four groups, the first two teams advanced for the quarter-finals. On June 30, Germany defeated the Czech Republic by a golden goal in extra time. Germany was the first team that won this trophy for the 3rd time. With an Attendance of 73,611 people, this was the largest number of fans ever in a stadium.
EURO 2000: France wins
EURO 2000 was co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands. The first time the tournament had been held in more than one country. As Co-Host, Belgium and the Netherlands were both qualified for the group stages. The final was held in Rotterdam between France and Italy and finished in 2-1 for France as they won by a golden goal on extra-time.
EURO 2004: Greece? A major surprise for everyone
EURO 2004 was held in Portugal. It's considered the most surprising event since most contenders were eliminated in the group stage (Italy, Germany, and Spain). England and France were disqualified in the quarter-finals and the Netherlands in the semifinals. The finalists that year were Portugal and Greece. With Angelos Charisteas's goal in the 57th minute (0-1), Greece won the European Championship for the first time surprising everyone.
EURO 2008: Spain wins again
In 2008 for the first time in the history of the European Championship, the competition was held in Austria and Switzerland. The EURO 2004 champions - Greece recorded the worst finish in EURO 2008, losing their three group fixtures. The winner of this tournament was Spain, who defeated Germany 1-0 in the final. Spain was also the second team after Germany in 1996 to win the tournament undefeated.
EURO 2012: And again!
EURO 2012 took place in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 to July 1, 2012. This would be the last European Championship with a 16-team finals format since 1996. Spain came as the main contender, as they had won EURO 2008 and WC 2010. Even in 2012, they did not disappoint, winning this time 4-0 in the final against Italy. This way, Spain matched Germany with 3 European Championship trophies.
Portugal's first victory at the EUROs in 2016
The last European Championship was held in France in 2016. EURO 2016 format changed, and there were not 16 teams anymore, but 24. This gave many small teams the opportunity to participate for the first time in the European Championship (Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Albania, and Iceland). The finalists of EURO 2016 were Portugal and France. After a 1-1 draw for 90 minutes, Portugal scored in extra time and won for the first time the European Championship.
EURO 2020 is taking place in 11 cities of 11 countries, and the final will be held in Wembley. It was scheduled from June 12 to July 12, 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 and rescheduled for June 11 and 11 July 2021.
Let's summarize, the most successful teams in the European Championship history:
- Germany with three trophies in six finals
- Spain with three trophies in four finals
- France with two trophies in three finals