1978 FIFA World Cup
The 1978 FIFA World Cup, the 11th staging of the FIFA World Cup, quadrennial international football world championship tournament, was held in Argentina between 1 and 25 June. The Cup was won by the Argentine hosts, who defeated the Netherlands 3–1 in the final, after extra time; the final was held at River Plate's home stadium, Estadio Monumental, in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. This win was the first World Cup title for Argentina, who became the fifth team to be both hosts and world champions. Argentina, the Netherlands and Brazil were the gold and bronze medalists, respectively. Iran and Tunisia made their first appearances in the tournament; this was the last World Cup tournament to use the original inclusion of 16 teams. Since the first World Cup in 1930, only 15 teams had been allowed to qualify; the official match ball was the Adidas Tango. Argentina was chosen as the host nation by FIFA on 6 July 1966 in England. Mexico withdrew from the bidding process after having been awarded the 1970 competition two years earlier.
The logo is based on President Juan Perón's signature gesture: a salute to the crowd with both arms extended above his head. This was one of the most famous, populist images of Perón; the design was created in 1974, two years prior to the military coup in 1976. The military leadership were aware that the World Cup's logo symbolized Perón's gesture, they tried to change the competition's logo. At this point, the design was broadly commercialized and the merchandise had been made: a forced modification "would trigger a sea of lawsuits against the country", so the military "munched the defeat". England, Belgium and the Soviet Union failed to qualify for the second World Cup in succession, losing out to Italy, the Netherlands and Hungary respectively. 1974 Quarter-finalists East Germany and Yugoslavia were eliminated by Austria and Spain and thus failed to qualify for the finals, along with Bulgaria which failed to qualify for the first time since 1958 after losing to France. Bolivia's win meant Uruguay failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.
Newcomers to the finals were Tunisia. Peru and Mexico returned after missing the previous tournament. For the first time, more than 100 nations entered the competition; the following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament: A controversial fact surrounding the 1978 World Cup was that Argentina had suffered a military coup only two years before the cup, a coup known as the National Reorganization Process. Less than a year before the World Cup, in September 1977, Interior Minister General Albano Harguindeguy, stated that 5,618 people had disappeared; the infamous Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy held concentration camp prisoners of the Dirty War and those held captive could hear the roars of the crowd during matches held at River Plate's Monumental Stadium, located only a mile away. Because of the political turmoil, some countries, most notably the Netherlands, considered publicly whether they should participate in the event. Despite this, all teams took part without restrictions. Allegations that Dutch star Johan Cruyff refused to participate because of political convictions were denied by him 30 years later.
More controversy surrounded the host, Argentina, as all of their games in the first round kicked off at night, giving the Argentines the advantage of knowing where they stood in the group. This issue would arise again in Spain 1982, which prompted FIFA to change the rules so that the final two group games in subsequent World Cups would be played simultaneously. Argentina's controversial and favorable decisions in their matches has caused many to view their eventual win as illegitimate. Desperate to prove their stability and prominence to the world after their coup two years earlier, the government used whatever means necessary to ensure that the team would progress far in the tournament. Suspicions of match fixing arose before the tournament began, he talked about the financial imperative to have Argentina win the World Cup: “The success of Argentina is financially so important to the tournament.”From Will Hersey’s article “Remembering Argentina 1978: The Dirtiest World Cup of All Time”: "The other teams in Argentina and Hungary’s group were the much-fancied France and Italy, establishing the tournament’s toughest qualifying section.
After the victory against Hungary, one junta official remarked to Luque, that “this could turn out to be the group of death as far as you are concerned”. It was delivered with a smile. “Uppermost in my mind was that earlier that day, the brother of a close friend of mine had disappeared,” recalled Luque. “His body was found by villagers on the banks of the River Plate with concrete attached to his legs. At that time, opponents of the regime were sometimes thrown out of aeroplanes into the sea.”"In their second group stage game against France, Argentina were the beneficiaries of multiple favorable calls. After France was denied what
FIFA Club World Cup
The FIFA Club World Cup is an international men's association football competition organised by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The tournament assigns the world title; the competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship. It was not held between 2001 and 2004 due to a combination of factors, most the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. Since 2005, the competition has been held every year, has been hosted by Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco; the FIFA Club World Cup's prestige is perceived quite differently in different parts of the football world. The first FIFA Club World Championship took place in Brazil in 2000, it ran in parallel with the Intercontinental Cup, a competition played by representatives clubs of most developed continents in the football world, or the winners of the European Champions' Cup and the Copa Libertadores, first contested in 1960 and recognized in the aftermath by FIFA as a competition assignee of official world title.
In 2005, the Intercontinental Cup was merged with the FIFA Club World Championship, in 2006, the tournament was renamed as the FIFA Club World Cup. As required by the regulations, a representative from FIFA present the winner of the World Cup with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy and with a FIFA World Champions certificate; the current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about two weeks. The host nation's national champions dispute a play-off against the Oceania champions, from which the winner joins the champions of Asia and North America at the quarter-finals; the quarter-final winners go on to face the European and South American champions, who enter at the semi-final stage, for a place in the final. Real Madrid hold the record for most victories, winning the competition four times. Corinthians' inaugural victory remains the best result from a host nation's national league champions. Teams from Spain have won the tournament the most for any nation.
The current champions are Spain's Real Madrid, who defeated Al-Ain 4–1 in the final of the 2018 edition, to win their fourth title in the competition and to become the first team to win it three years in a row and four times in total in the tournament's history. Although the first club tournament to be billed as the "Football World Championship" was held in 1887, in which Scottish Cup champions Hibernian defeated English FA Cup semi-finalists Preston North End, the first attempt at creating a global club football tournament, according to FIFA, was in 1909, 21 years before the first FIFA World Cup; the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy was held in Italy in 1909 and 1911, contested by English, Italian and Swiss clubs. It was won by English amateur site West Auckland on both occasions; the idea that FIFA should organise international club competitions dates from the beginning of the 1950s. In 1951, FIFA President Jules Rimet was asked about FIFA's involvement in the Copa Rio, stated that it was not under FIFA's jurisdiction since it was organised and sponsored by the Brazilian Football Confederation.
The competition was succeeded by another tournament, named Torneio Octogonal Rivadavia Corrêa Meyer, won by Vasco da Gama. This tournament had five Brazilian sides, three foreign clubs, losing half of its intercontinental aspect. In December 2007, FIFA turned down Palmeiras' request to recognise the tournament as a Club World Cup since the participants were limited to two continents. Although the competition was discontinued, it was held in high regard. FIFA board members Stanley Rous and Ottorino Barassi participated albeit not in their capacity as FIFA members, in the organisation of the competition in 1951. Rous' role was attributed to the negotiations with European clubs, whereas Barassi helped form the framework of the competition. Commenting on Juventus' acceptance to participate in the tournament, the Italian press stated that "an Italian club could not be missing in such an important and worldwide-reaching event"; because of the difficulty the CBF found in bringing European clubs to the competition, the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper suggested that there should be FIFA involvement in the programming of international club competitions saying that, "ideally, international tournaments, here or abroad, should be played at times set by FIFA".
However, no response was received. The Pequeña Copa del Mundo was a tournament held in Venezuela between 1952 and 1957, with a two short revivals in 1963 and in 1965, it was played by eight participants, half from Europe and half from South America. After the late 1950s, the tournament lost status as the pedigree of its participants decreased; this competition, along with the creation of the European Cup and the Copa Libertadores, created the groundwork of the eventual Intercontinental Cup. The Tournoi de Paris was a competition meant to bring together the top teams from Europe and South America to determine a de facto "best club in the world".
1994 FIFA World Cup
The 1994 FIFA World Cup was the 15th FIFA World Cup, held in nine cities across the United States, from 17 June to 17 July 1994. The United States was chosen as the host by FIFA on 4 July 1988. Despite the host nation's lack of soccer tradition, the tournament was the most financially successful in World Cup history; the total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final tournament remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition from 24 to 32 teams, first introduced at the 1998 World Cup and is the current format. Brazil won the tournament after beating Italy 3–2 in a penalty shoot-out at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California near Los Angeles, after the game had ended 0–0 after extra time, it was the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties. The victory made Brazil the first nation to win four World Cup titles. There were four new entrants in the tournament: Greece, Saudi Arabia, as well as two countries that were formed at the end of the Cold War: Russia, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, for the first time since 1938, a newly reunified Germany took part in the tournament, following Germany reunification in October 1990, a few months after West Germany's victory in the 1990 World Cup.
Three teams, one African, one Asian, one European, made their debuts at the 1994 tournament. Nigeria qualified from the African zone alongside Cameroon and Morocco as CAF was granted three spots as a result of the strong performances by African teams in 1990. In the Asian zone, Saudi Arabia qualified for the first time by topping the final round group ahead of South Korea as both edged out Japan, who were close to making their own World Cup debut, but were denied by Iraq in what became known as the "Agony of Doha"; the Japanese would not have to wait long though. In the European zone, Greece made their first World Cup appearance after topping a group from which Russia qualified, competing independently for the first time after the dissolution of the Soviet Union; the defending champions West Germany were united with their East German counterparts, representing the unified Germany for the first time since the 1938 World Cup. Norway qualified for the first time since 1938, Bolivia for the first time since 1950, Switzerland for the first time since 1966.
Norway's 56-year gap between appearances in the final tournament equaled Egypt's record in the previous tournament as the longest. Mexico had its first successful qualification campaign since 1978, failing to qualify in 1982, qualifying as hosts in 1986 and being banned for the Cachirules scandal in 1990; the qualification campaigns of both Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were affected by political events. The nation of Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, completing its qualifying group under the name "Representation of Czechs and Slovaks", but failed to qualify for the finals, having been edged out by Romania and Belgium in Group 4. Yugoslavia was suspended from international competition in 1992 as part of United Nations sanctions against the country as a result of the Yugoslav Wars; the sanctions were not lifted until 1994, by which time it was no longer possible for the team to qualify. Chile's suspension from the 1990 FIFA World Cup, following the forced interruption of their qualification game against Brazil, extended to the 1994 qualifiers as well.
This was the second World Cup for which neither England, Northern Ireland nor Wales qualified, with England missing out after having finished fourth in the 1990 tournament, Scotland failing to qualify for the first time since 1970. France, designated as hosts of the 1998 tournament missed out following surprise home losses to Israel and Bulgaria; this was the second World Cup in a row for which France had failed to qualify, the last one to date to not feature England and Japan. Other notable absentees were 1990 Round of 16 participants Uruguay, UEFA Euro 1992 champions Denmark, Poland and Hungary; the following 24 teams, shown with final pre-tournament rankings, qualified for the final tournamentː Three nations bid for host duties: United States and Morocco. The vote was held in Zurich on 4 July 1988, only took one round with the United States bid receiving a little over half of the votes by the Exco members. FIFA hoped that by staging the world's most prestigious tournament there, it would lead to a growth of interest in the sport.
One condition FIFA imposed was the creation of a professional football league – Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 and began operating in 1996. There was some initial controversy about awarding the World Cup to a country where football was not a nationally popular sport, at the time, in 1988, the U. S. did not have a professional league of its own anymore. Success of the 1984 Summer Olympics the soccer tournament contributed to FIFA's decision. Despite the controversy, the U. S. staged a hugely successful tournament, with average attendance of nearly 70,000 breaking a record that surpassed the 1966 FIFA World Cup average attendance of 51,000, thanks to the large seating capacities the stadiums in the United States provided for the spectators in comparison to the smaller venues of Europe and Latin America. To this day, the total attendance for
1954 FIFA World Cup
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946; the tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title. Switzerland was awarded the tournament unopposed on 22 July 1946, the same day that Brazil was selected for the 1950 World Cup, in Luxembourg City; the hosts and the defending champions qualified automatically. Of the remaining 14 places, 11 were allocated to Europe, two to the Americas, one to Asia. Scotland and South Korea made their World Cup debuts at this tournament. South Korea became the first independent Asian country to qualify for the World Cup. Austria appeared for the first time since 1934. Turkey would not participate at a finals again until the 2002 competition, while South Korea's next appearance would be in 1986.
The third and fourth place teams from 1950, Sweden and Spain, both failed to qualify. In a shock result, Spain was eliminated by Turkey: after the two countries had tied a three-game series, Turkey progressed by drawing of lots by a blindfolded Italian boy. German teams as well as Japan were allowed to qualify again, after having been banned from the 1950 FIFA World Cup. West Germany qualified against fellow Germans from the Saarland, while East Germany had not entered, cancelling international football games after the East German uprising of 1953. Argentina declined to participate for the third World Cup in succession; the following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament. The 1954 tournament used a unique format; the sixteen qualifying teams were divided into four groups of four teams each. Each group contained two unseeded teams. Only four matches were scheduled for each group, each pitting a seeded team against an unseeded team; this contrasts with the usual round-robin in which every team plays every other team: six matches in each group.
Another oddity was that extra time, which in most tournaments is not employed at the group stage, was played in the group games if the score was level after 90 minutes, with the result being a draw if the scores were still level after 120 minutes. Two points were awarded for one for a draw; the two teams with the most points from each group progressed to the knockout stage. If the first and second placed teams were level on points, lots were drawn to decide which team would top the group. However, if the second and third placed teams were level on points, there was a play-off to decide which team would progress to the next stage, it turned out that two of the four groups required play-offs, the other two required drawing of lots between the two top teams. The play-offs were between Switzerland and Italy, Turkey and West Germany: in both matches the unseeded teams repeated earlier victories against the seeds to progress. In the other two groups, lots were drawn to determine the first-place teams, resulting in Uruguay and Brazil finishing above Austria and Yugoslavia, respectively.
A further unusual feature of the format was that the four group-winning teams were drawn against each other in the knockout stages to produce one finalist, the four second-placed teams played against each other to produce the second finalist. In subsequent tournaments it has become customary to draw group winners against second-placed teams in the first knockout round. In any knockout game tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time were played. If the scores had still been level after extra time, in any knockout game other than the final, lots would have been drawn to decide which team progressed. However, if the final had been tied after extra time, it would have been replayed, with lots deciding the winner only if the replay was tied after extra time. In the event, all the knockout games were decided in either normal time or extra time, with no replays or drawing of lots being required. Before qualification was complete, the eight seeded teams were determined by FIFA based on world rankings.
They were Austria, England, Hungary, Italy and Uruguay. These seedings were thrown into disarray when, in an unexpected result, Turkey eliminated Spain in qualification. FIFA resolved this situation by giving Turkey the seeding, allocated to Spain. West Germany, reinstated as full FIFA members only in 1950 and were unseeded, convincingly won the first of two encounters with the seeded Turkish side at Wankdorf stadium in Berne; the South Koreans, the other unseeded team, lost 7–0 and 9–0, with West Germany being denied the chance to play such an easy opponent. Sepp Herberger, the West German coach, gambled against the seeded team of Hungary by sending in a reserve side, lost 8–3. Hungary's team captain Ferenc Puskás, considered by many as the best player in the world in that time, was injured by West German defender Werner Liebrich, had to miss Hungary's next two matches. Puskás played for Hungary despite still being in a questionable condition. In the quarter-finals, the favourites Hungary beat Brazil 4–2 in one of the most violent matches in football history, which became infamous as the Battle of Berne.
Meanwhile, the World Cup holders Uruguay sent England out of the tournament by 4–2. West Germany dispatched Yugoslavia 2–0, Austria beat the host nation Switzerland in the game that saw the most goals in
1974 FIFA World Cup
The 1974 FIFA World Cup was the 10th FIFA World Cup, was played in West Germany between 13 June and 7 July. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded; the previous trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, had been won for the third time by Brazil in 1970 and awarded permanently to the Brazilians. This was the first out of three World Cups to feature two rounds of group stages; the host nation won the title. The victory was the second for West Germany, who had won in 1954. Australia, East Germany and Zaire made their first appearances at the final stage, with East Germany making their only appearance before Germany was reunified in 1990. West Germany was chosen as the host nation by FIFA in London, England on 6 July 1966. Hosting rights for the 1978 and 1982 tournaments were awarded at the same time. West Germany agreed a deal with Spain by which Spain would support West Germany for the 1974 tournament, in return West Germany would allow Spain to bid for the 1982 World Cup unopposed.
Ninety-eight countries took part in the qualifying tournament. Some of football's most successful nations did not qualify, including 1966 champions England, France and quarter-finalists of the 1970 tournament Mexico, Spain, 1966 third-place finishers Portugal, 1970 quarter-finalists Peru, Czechoslovakia and Romania; the USSR was disqualified after refusing to travel for the second leg of their playoff against Chile as a result of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. The Netherlands and Poland qualified for the first time since 1938. Scotland was back in the Finals after a 16-year absence. Argentina and Chile were back after having missed the 1970 tournament and Yugoslavia was back after missing both the 1966 and 1970 tournaments. First-time qualifiers were East Germany; as of 2018, this was the last time Haiti and Zaire qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals, as well as the last time Spain failed to qualify. This was the first tournament in which the defending champions played in the opening game as opposed to the hosts, although this was changed back to the hosts for the 2006 tournament, held in Germany.
The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament. The tournament featured a new format. While the competition once again began with the sixteen teams divided into four groups of four teams, the eight teams which advanced did not enter a knockout stage as in the previous five World Cups but instead played in a second group stage; the winners of the two groups in the second stage played each other in the final, with the respective runners-up from each group meeting in the third place play-off. This was one of, it was decided in advance that if the host nation progressed to the second stage their matches would not take place simultaneous to the other matches but instead be held in the other timeslot. The tournament was held in bad weather, the stadia had few protected places. Few western European nations had qualified, of which only The Netherlands, West Germany and Sweden made it past the Group Stage. Fans from the Eastern Communist neighbour states such as East Germany were hindered by political circumstances.
Carlos Caszely of Chile became the first player to be sent off with a red card in a World Cup match, during their match against West Germany. Red cards were formally introduced in World Cup play in 1970, but no players were sent off in that tournament. Two teams made a powerful impact on the first round; the Netherlands demonstrated the "Total football" techniques pioneered by the top Dutch club Ajax, in which specialised positions were abolished for the outfield players, individual players became defenders, midfielders or strikers as the situation required. The Dutch marked their first World Cup finals since 1938 by topping their first-round group, with wins over Uruguay and Bulgaria and a draw with Sweden. Sweden joined the Dutch in the second group round after beating Uruguay 3–0. Poland, took maximum points from a group containing two of the favourites for the tournament, they beat Argentina 3–2, trounced Haiti 7–0 beat Italy 2–1 – a result that knocked the Italians out of the Cup and resulted in Argentina qualifying for the second group round on goal difference.
Argentina would not fail to win either of their opening two games of a World Cup again until 2018. While Haiti didn't do well in their first World Cup finals they did have one moment of glory. In their opening game against Italy, they managed to take the lead with a goal from Emmanuel Sanon, before losing 3–1; that goal proved to be a significant goal as it ended Dino Zoff's run of 1142 minutes without conceding a goal. Group 2 was a close group. With Brazil and Scotland drawing all their games against each other, it was decided by the number of goals these three teams scored when defeating Zaire. Yugoslavia hammered the African nation 9–0, equalling a finals record fo
1930 FIFA World Cup
The 1930 FIFA World Cup was the inaugural FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Uruguay from 13 to 30 July 1930. FIFA, football's international governing body, selected Uruguay as host nation, as the country would be celebrating the centenary of its first constitution, the Uruguay national football team had retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. All matches were played in the Uruguayan capital, the majority at the Estadio Centenario, built for the tournament. Thirteen teams entered the tournament. Only a few European teams chose to participate because of the difficulty of travelling to South America; the teams were divided into four groups, with the winner of each group progressing to the semi-finals. The first two World Cup matches took place and were won by France and the United States, who defeated Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0, respectively. Lucien Laurent of France scored the first goal in World Cup history, while US goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas posted the first official "clean sheet" in the tournament.
Argentina, the United States and Yugoslavia each won their respective groups to qualify for the semi-finals. In the final and pre-tournament favourites Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 68,346 people, became the first nation to win the World Cup; the first World Cup was the only one without qualification. Every country affiliated with FIFA was invited to compete, given a deadline of 28 February 1930 to accept. Plenty of interest was shown by nations in the Americas. A total of seven South American teams more than in any subsequent World Cup Finals. However, because of the long and costly trip by ship across the Atlantic Ocean, the length of absence required for players few European teams were inclined to take part; some refused to countenance travel to South America in any circumstances, no European entries were received before the February deadline. In an attempt to gain some European participation, the Uruguayan Football Association sent a letter of invitation to The Football Association though the British Home Nations had resigned from FIFA at the time.
This was rejected by the FA Committee on 18 November 1929. Two months before the start of the tournament, no team from Europe had entered. FIFA president Jules Rimet intervened, four European teams made the trip by sea: Belgium, France and Yugoslavia; the Romanians, managed by Constantin Rădulescu and coached by their captain Rudolf Wetzer and Octav Luchide, entered the competition following the intervention of newly crowned King Carol II. He selected the squad and negotiated with employers to ensure that the players would still have jobs upon their return; the French entered at the personal intervention of Rimet, but neither France's star defender Manuel Anatol nor the team's regular coach Gaston Barreau could be persuaded to make the trip. The Belgians participated at the instigation of German-Belgian FIFA vice-president Rodolphe Seeldrayers; the Romanians boarded the SS Conte Verde at Genoa, the French were picked up at Villefranche-sur-Mer, France on 21 June 1930. The Conte Verde carried Rimet, the trophy and the three designated European referees: the Belgians Jean Langenus and Henri Christophe, along with Thomas Balway, a Parisian who may have been English.
The Brazilian team were picked up when the boat docked in Rio de Janeiro, D. F. on 29 June before arriving in Uruguay on 4 July. Yugoslavia travelled via the mail steamship Florida from France. In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia there were doubts about their participation at first. Since the Croatians decided to boycott the national team, King Alexander I did not want to finance the whole idea, but in the end they found a solution. Belgrade, Yugoslavia football association officials decided to round up only domestic star players from two rival Belgrade clubs, BSK and SK Jugoslavija, with an additional three Serbs who played for French clubs. Therefore, the Yugoslavia team was made up of Serbian players; the Yugoslavians were the youngest team in the World Cup. After their first match, against Brazil, they received a new nickname "The Ich-es" or "Ichachos" by the Uruguayan press, they achieved the joint–biggest success in both Yugoslav and Serbian subsequent World Cup footballing history, by earning fourth place, a result that would be repeated in 1962.
Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Uruguay all lodged applications to host the event. Uruguay's bid became the clear selection. All matches. Three stadiums were used: Estadio Centenario, Estadio Pocitos, Estadio Parque Central; the Estadio Centenario was built both for the tournament and as a celebration of the centenary of Uruguayan independence. Designed by Juan Scasso, it was the primary stadium for the tournament, referred to by Rimet as a "temple of football". With a capacity of 90,000, it was the largest football stadium outside the British Isles; the stadium
UEFA European Championship
The UEFA European Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations, determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was called the UEFA European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are referred to in the form "UEFA Euro ". Prior to entering the tournament all teams other than the host nations 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 15 European Championship tournaments have been won by ten national teams: Germany and Spain each have won three titles, France has two titles, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Denmark and Portugal have won one title each. To date, Spain is the only team in history to have won consecutive titles, doing so in 2008 and 2012.
It is the second most watched football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. The Euro 2012 final was watched by a global audience of around 300 million; the most recent championship, hosted by France in 2016, was won by Portugal, who beat France 1–0 in the final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis after extra time. The final attracted 284 million viewers, the second most viewed game in European tournament history; the idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the French Football Federation's secretary-general Henri Delaunay in 1927, but it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started, three years after Delaunay's death. In honour of Delaunay, the trophy awarded to the champions is named after him; the 1960 tournament, held in France, had four teams competing in the finals out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the Soviet Union. Spain withdrew from its quarter-final match against the USSR because of two political protests. Of the 17 teams that entered the qualifying tournament, notable absentees were England, the Netherlands, West Germany and Italy.
Spain held the next tournament in 1964, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering. The hosts beat the Soviet Union, 2 -- 1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid; the tournament format stayed the same for the 1968 tournament and won by Italy. For the first and only time a match was decided on a coin toss and the final went to a replay, after the match against Yugoslavia finished 1–1. Italy won the replay 2–0. More teams entered a testament to its burgeoning popularity. Belgium hosted the 1972 tournament, which West Germany won, beating the USSR 3–0 in the final, with goals coming from Gerd Müller and Herbert Wimmer at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels; this tournament would provide a taste of things to come, as the German side contained many of the key members of the 1974 FIFA World Cup Champions. The 1976 tournament in Yugoslavia was the last in which only four teams took part in the final tournament, the last in which the hosts had to qualify. Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in the newly introduced penalty shootout.
After seven successful conversions, Uli Hoeneß missed, leaving Czechoslovakian Antonín Panenka with the opportunity to score and win the tournament. An "audacious" chipped shot, described by UEFA as "perhaps the most famous spot kick of all time" secured the victory as Czechoslovakia won 5–3 on penalties; the competition was expanded to eight teams in the 1980 tournament, again hosted by Italy. It involved a group stage, with the winners of the groups going on to contest the final, the runners-up playing in the third place play-off. West Germany won their second European title by beating Belgium 2–1, with two goals scored by Horst Hrubesch at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Horst Hrubesch scored early in the first half before René Vandereycken equalised for Belgium with a penalty in the second half. With two minutes remaining, Hrubesch headed the winner for West Germany from a Karl-Heinz Rummenigge corner. France won their first major title at home in the 1984 tournament, with their captain Michel Platini scoring 9 goals in just 5 games, including the opening goal in the final, in which they beat Spain 2–0.
The format changed, with the top two teams in each group going through to a semi-final stage, instead of the winners of each group going straight into the final. The third place play-off was abolished. West Germany hosted UEFA Euro 1988, but lost 2–1 to the Netherlands, their traditional rivals, in the semi-finals, which sparked vigorous celebrations in the Netherlands; the Netherlands went on to win the tournament in a rematch of their first game of the group stage, beating the USSR 2–0 at the Olympia Stadion in Munich, a match in which Marco van Basten scored one of the most memorable goals in football history, a spectacular volley over the keeper from the right wing. UEFA Euro 1992 was held in Sweden, was won by Denmark, who were only in the finals because UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia to participate as some of the states constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were at war with each other; the Danes beat holders the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals defeated world champion Germany 2–0.
This was the first tournament in which a unified Germany took part a