First played for in 1960 in France, the European Championship is a curious relative of the FIFA World Cup.
The idea of such a tournament was first put forward by Henri Delaunay of the French Football Federation in 1927, but it was his son Pierre who saw the tournament into being, primarily as General Secretary of UEFA (following his father's death) and subsequently as secretary of the tournament's organising committee.
Prior to 1980 only four teams took part in the tournament element of the competition, the rest of the competition being held over the proceeding 2 years. The expansion in 1980 to eight teams, saw a more authentic tournament style championship. This number was increased again to 16 when it was held as Euro 96 in England.
Germany is the most successful team in the competition, having won it three times (1972, 1980 and 1996) and also finishing as runner-up in three further years (1976, 1992 and 2008).
Next comes Spain (1964, 2008) and France (1984, 2000) with two each and then Soviet Union (1960), Czechoslovakia (1976), Italy (1968), Netherlands (1988), Denmark (1992) and Greece (2004) all have one victory each.
|1971 ENGLAND v GREECE (EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP) FOOTBALL PROGRAMME|
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|GB PRESTIGE BOOKLETS DX1---DX29 1972---2002|
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|JERSEY "EUROPEAN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP,ENGLAND"SET 1996 SG.741-745 FINE USED|
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|Bulgaria 8th European Football Championship West Germany 4v SG#3529/32|
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|Gibraltar European Football Championship Belgium MS SG#MS911 SC#835a|
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