by: Eternal Classic • 27
The UEFA European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men's national football teams governed by UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations). Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UEFA European Nations Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are often referred to in the form "Euro 2012" or whichever year is appropriate.
Prior to entering the tournament all teams other than the host nations (which qualify automatically) compete in a qualifying process. The championship winners earn the opportunity to compete in the following FIFA Confederations Cup, but are not obliged to do so.
The 13 European Championship tournaments have been won by nine different national teams. Germany is the most successful team in the history of the tournament, winning three times in six final appearances. France and Spain are the only other multiple-time winners with two titles each. The other European Championship winners have been Italy, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and inaugural winners Soviet Union, with one title each. Since the tournament started in 1960, no team has managed consecutive wins.
The last championship, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria in 2008, was won by Spain, who beat Germany 1–0. The 2012 European Championship is currently being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine from 8 June to 1 July.