‘It’s time to play the game!’ The shift from the season of cricket to football wasn’t a gradual one. Our reporter Yuvvraj Singh brings you the highlights of the 15th edition of the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe, UEFA European Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro, held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.

New Format – For the first time, the European Championship final tournament was contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996. Under the new format, the finalists contested a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout phase including three rounds and the final.

Venues – France was chosen as the host nation on 28 May 2010, after a bidding process in which they beat Italy and Turkey for the right to host the 2016 finals. The matches were played in ten stadiums in ten cities: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille Métropole, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse.

Qualified Teams – The 24 main round teams were divided into 6 groups of 4. The teams that qualified for the main round were:

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales.

The top 2 teams from each group qualified and 4 out of the 6; 3rd placed teams qualified, making the Round of 16.


  • Logo – the official logo depicts the Euro trophy with the colours of the French Flag and several different designs.
  • Slogan – the official slogan was, ‘Le rendez-vous’
  • Mascot – the mascot was called ‘Super Victor’, a child superhero in the kit of French National team.
  • Official song – the official song for the cup was ‘This one is for you’ by David Guetta, featuring Zara Larsson.

Round of 16 – After an interesting group of 8 matches, major teams like the Defending Champions Spain, England and Croatia were surprisingly eliminated in the Round of 16.

Also, Belgium and Wales were emerging as the dark horses of the tournament after winning their respective matches.

The most astonishing moment of this edition came when debutants Iceland beat a major team like England and showed the world that they were not to be taken lightly.

Quarter Finals – The Quarters saw the victory of Portugal over Poland by penalties and Wales beating Belgium 3-1.

The crunch match between World Champions Germany and Italy ended with the former emerging the victor, beating Italy 6-5 on penalties.

Iceland were convincingly thrashed by the hosts, France, by a margin of 5-2, thus ending their dream run.

Semi Finals – The first Semi Final saw Wales losing by 2 goals to nil to the Portuguese, led by Cristiano Ronaldo and so keeping their star player’s hopes alive of winning the prestigious UEFA EURO Championship.

The final saw the hosts, France taking on the World Champions, Germany, a match that had promised to be the match of the Championship. France beat the Germans 2-0, even though the latter dominated most of the match.

     The Final – In the final of the cup held on 10th of July, the first time finalist, Portugal took on the clear favourites, France.

The State de France in St. Denis hosted the final, with the maximum capacity of 88,638 people.

Since the start of the match, the French were dominating the proceedings with over 55% ball possession. In the 9th minute, Portugal was jolted badly when their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo got injured during a tackle and had to be eventually substituted in the 25th minute, thus ending the star player’s dream to win a major international title for his country. He left the pitch on a stretcher and in tears.

Portugal’s morale saw a significant boost following that and they countered every French move skilfully. They dominated the second half and ensured that the match ended in a goalless draw.

The match was taken into extra time and Portugal substitute, Éder, scored in the 109th minute, giving no chance to France to equalise it. Thus, the Portuguese were crowned Champions of Europe, for the first time in their footballing history.


  • Player of the Tournament – Antoine Griezmann (France)
  • Young Player of the Tournament – Renato Sanches (Portugal)
  • Golden Boot (Most Goals) – Antoine Griezmann (6 goals)
  • Silver Boot – Cristiano Ronaldo (3 Goals, 3 Assists)
  • Bronze Boot – Olivier Giroud (3 Goals, 2 Assists)
  • Best Goalkeeper – Rui Patricio (Portugal)