Held once every four years, The UEFA European Football Championship is the premiere tournament of European national soccer teams. The Euro 2012 Group Stage begins Friday June 8 with 16 teams and ends with the final match on Sunday July 1. The final teams spent 2 years qualifying and outlasted 45 other teams.
SEMIFINAL 1: Weds 6/27
Winner 6/21 Match vs. Winner 6/23 Match
SEMIFINAL 2: Thurs 6/28
Winner 6/22 Match vs. Winner 6/24 Match
CHAMPTIONSHIP: Sun 7/1
Met sweet victory in their rematch against Turkey, after their UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals loss. After the playoffs the team now heads toward the finals, leaving Turkey in the dust.
The Czech Republic is proud to continue their record of gracing every EUFA European Championship final tournament since independence. With a scary start to UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, losing to Lithuania, they ultimately succeed in excelling to the finals.
The 1992 champions, Denmark, defeated Portugal to qualify automatically. Now in Group B, Denmark enters their eighth UEFA European Championship final tournament, facing Portuguese once again.
Finishing first place in their qualifying section, England is making a big improvement since their last major championship showing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Qualification for the tournament went smoothly as they topped their section with an unbeaten record with their new coach, Roy Hodgson.
With the hope to add to their 1984 and 2000 victories, France is appearing at their teams sixth successive finals. “It’s a great satisfaction to be through to EURO,” said coach Blanc.
Runners-up to Spain in 2008, Germany is the EUFA European Championship’s most successful team in history. Qualifying for the finals with a perfect record, the team is looking for a fourth title.
A team that remained undefeated in qualification, Greece struggled with a series of narrow victories leading them to finish first in Group F. Although the team lacks star names, the emphasis on team spirit will help them complete their goal to repeat their 2004 success.
Gaining top spot in Group C, Italy enjoyed an impressive qualifying round. Hoping to add a second European crown to their 1968 success, the team finished their qualifying campaign undefeated.
With the 1988 UEFA European Championship being the Netherlands pride and joy over the past 4 decades, the team is ready for some new silverware. The anticipation for the team’s success is high after they stormed through qualifying.
Making it to their second UEFA EURO championship final tournament since 2008, Poland will be a force to recon with as the team plays on their home soil. Having struggled with some inconsistency over the past 18 months, especially in their game against Lithuania, we will see how the co-hosts handle their competition.
Portugal may have started out slow, but after their six straight wins the team was able to secure second place as the runner-up in Group H. The team hopes to improve after their near misses in recent tournaments.
Republic of Ireland
Facing tough competition, the Republic of Ireland will make their second appearance at a UEFA European Championship finals. The team will need to place Spain and Italy to progress from Group C.
Russia approaches UEFA EURO 2012 confidently after topping a major tournament qualifying group for the first time in five attempts. Suffering from criticisms toward the national team, coach Advocaat hopes that the criticism will die down due to a difficult ten-match competition that was deservedly won.
Defending champions, Spain will attempt to become the first team in history to win three major tournaments in succession. Coach Del Bosque stated: “Nobody has ever won a sequence of EURO, World Cup, EURO, that’s the huge goal we have ahead of us; now let’s see if we can pull it off.” They are the team to beat.
Sweden gained their place at EUFA EURO 2012 as best runners-up in qualifying. The team beat the undefeated Netherlands on their last-day, despite their lack of star Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was suspended for the game.
Ukraine, one of the co-hosts at UEFA EURO 2012, is making their first major appearance since the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals. Coach Oleh Blokhin’s minimum target of advancing from Group D will be exciting to watch as Ukraine prepares for their first finals as an independent nation.