The upcoming EURO 2020, which kept its name despite getting pushed back a year, is set to be a massive celebration of one of Europe’s favorite pastimes. Conceived as a commemorative event to mark 60 years since the 1960 European Nations’ Cup, the event is keeping the name it was supposed to have if the previous year hadn’t seen widespread lockdowns.
Eleven countries will host matches in the continent-spanning tournament, with 24 European teams competing for the top spot. France, the winners of the most recent World Cup, enter the event as the favorites. England, Belgium, and Germany are also considered by sports analysts to have a good shot at the title.
A new set of rules is in play for this event. For one thing, teams are allowed to bring a squad of 26 players to the event, allowing for a deeper bench for each game. Additionally, should single-elimination games go into overtime, teams will be allowed to make a total of five substitutes. Not only will teams have a deeper bench, but they’ll also be able to actually use those extra players, too.
Several of the host cities will be allowing spectators in the stands, a welcome return to live sports for much of the continent.
The tournament will start in a group stage, beginning with six groups of four teams each. Each team that wins or comes in second in their group will move on, while the four best-rated third-place teams from the group stage will also move on, leaving 16 teams left for the next stage of the competition.
During the 16-team stage, the games are single elimination. After the round of 16, the quarterfinals begin, with eight teams remaining. The next two rounds will follow swiftly, with the final match scheduled for July 11. Notably, there is no third-place round in the European Championships: the two teams that lose in the semifinals are simply out and don’t compete to see which of them is “ahead” of the other.
There is considerable prize money on the line for the teams competing in the event. Each country that competes gets 9.25 million Euros just for making it to the event. The finalists could win as much as 34 million Euros, an eye-watering sum for a non-World Cup game. In short, fans of European football are in for a treat this summer as one of the biggest celebrations of the sport is about to get underway.