If you have just come out of your cave, yes, Euro 2020 is being played in 2021! Due to a health context turned upside down by the explosion of covid-19, the 2020 European Nations Championship, which was to be held from June 12 to July 12 of the same year, was postponed to March 17, 2020. , one year. This is how this Friday, June 11, 2021, Euro 2020 starts with the inaugural Turkey – Italy.
If the competition could, however, have been held that summer, UEFA had specified that the stake lay above all in helping “to go to the end of all national competitions”, suspended, for two to three month, at the height of the pandemic, in the spring of 2020.
They were supposed to be twelve, will ultimately be eleven, and this represents, despite everything, a sacred logistical challenge: the Euro will take place in eleven stadiums and eleven countries. It is the first time in the history of the competition that the Euro will take place in so many nations. Dreamed by Michel Platini when he presided over UEFA, in order to unite the continent, this tournament, which will take teams, media and spectators from London (England) to Baku (Azerbaijan), via Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Seville (Spain), advances in an unprecedented format to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
It is a small event and a fear raised: while the domestic championships took place behind closed doors, the Euro will be played in front of the public. Indeed, UEFA has required, upstream, the host cities to guarantee an audience for each match, despite a health context which remains fragile, and varies, above all, from one country to another. For which, in particular, had to withdraw Dublin (Ireland) and Bilbao (Spain), the second being replaced by Seville. Spectator gauges have thus been set up for each stadium by the local authorities. For example, the Ferenc-Puskas stadium in Budapest, in agreement with the Hungarian authorities, will be able to accommodate up to 100% of its maximum capacity, i.e. 68,000 spectators, when, on the contrary, Hampden Park, in Glasgow ( Scotland), will only be able to accommodate 25% of its total capacity, ie 12,000 spectators.
Due to a season that never ends and is testing the players physically, the UEFA board has extended the rule of five changes during a match, in force this season in the domestic championships. But it also, above all, allowed the coaches to call 26 players, rather than 23 usually!
On the meadow, video refereeing assistance (Var), which appeared at the World Cup for the first time, will punctuate, support, for the first time in a European championship, the decisions of the men in black, since only “goal-line technology” had been used in 2016.
Reigning world champion, France logically advances as one of the big favorites, neck-to-neck with England, who play, almost, at home. Officially the goal set by the French Football Federation is to reach the last four of the Euro, even if the French public claims better.
Portugal, reigning European champion, masked advance, while Belgium, semi-finalist of the last World Cup, remains on a taste of unfinished business after its defeat in the last four in Russia against the Blues and presents a quality group. Finally, Germany will want to take care of the end of the mandate of its historic coach, Joachim Löw and Italy, absent from the 2018 World Cup, scored in the playoffs (10 wins) and arrives launched.
Finland and North Macedonia have qualified for the first Euro finals in their history. Second in their group behind the untouchable Italy (10 victories), the Finnish Owls notably finished ahead of Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with their six victories. Third in the group of Poland (1st) and Austria (2nd), veteran Goran Pandev (37) and his Macedonian teammates, for their part, snatched their qualification in play-offs at the expense of Kosovo (2-1), then Georgia (1-0).
Fabulous five years ago, Iceland and will not thrill its 350,000 inhabitants this summer, having failed to repeat its feat. Slightly more surprising, the Norway of the prodigious Erling Haaland missed his meeting, third in a hen of qualifiers raised including Spain (1st), Sweden (2nd) and Romania (4th), beaten in dams by Serbia. Finally, the two Irish, including Eire, eighth-to-finalist against the Blues five years ago, were beaten, one after the other, by Slovakia, in a barrage.
In the radius of the returns, finalist of the Euro in 2012 and big absent from the last World Cup, Italy makes a thunderous comeback, after a clear round in the qualifiers (100%), while the Netherlands, absent from mark of the last World Cup and the last Euro, won their qualification ticket within the same group as Germany.
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