Euro Cup Venue

UEFA to Choose 13 Cities as Hosts of Euro 2020

Recently, UEFA confirmed that the European Championships in 2020 will be hosted in 13 different cities across the continent in a one-off tournament. The competition will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first ever Euro Nations Cup.

Spain Win Euro 2012The first of its kind for a high profile football tournament, the idea UEFA have come up with will see 12 cities bid to host one knockout round and three group stage games each, and one city be the venue for both semifinals and the final of Euro 2020.

Recent European events have been held by joint countries such as Holland and Belgium, and Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012, but never over multiple countries and extended travelling distances.

There have been many doubts about the idea that UEFA have come up with, and it has certainly caused controversy as well as many talking points and doubts to its suitability in this format. Cities wishing to be one of 13 hosts will have until September 2013 to submit their bids and a decision will be made on the chosen countries in September 2014.

In the rough guidelines that UEFA issued regarding the multi-city tournament, there would only be one venue per country, such as London’s venue Wembley Stadium and Spain’s Camp Nou. The country and venue nominated for the semifinals and final will be the 13th city. In further change for the 2020 tournament, the host countries will not automatically qualify as has been the case in the past, however, the countries that host and qualify will be given two home matches in their group.

Here are the official guidelines for the newly-designed Euro Cup in 2020:

  • The matches will be split into 13 different packages, with 12 ordinary packages including three group matches and one knockout round (round of 16 or quarter-final), and one package for the semi-finals and the final;
  • There will only be a maximum of one venue per country, meaning one stadium for each of the available 13 packages. Both semi-finals and the final will be played in one stadium; and
  • Each association will be allowed to present up to two bids, one for the ordinary package and one for the semi-finals/final package. Each national association can decide to present the same city for these two bids or two different cities.

Euro Cup VenueCountries rumored to be favorited to host the final are England, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Scotland, whilst Dublin, Cardiff, Glasgow, Milan, Sofia, Brussels, and Lisbon are among those who are reportedly expressing an interest in hosting the group games. Istanbul, in Turkey, has been mentioned by UEFA President Michel Platini as a strong contender to host the semifinal and final, but much would depend on their bid for the Olympic Games the same year.

The Euro Cup in 2016 will be held in France, and will also be the first tournament to increase the number of participating countries from 16 teams to 24.

As much as the 2020 tournament format has caused controversy, some countries, providing they win their bids, will welcome this with open arms. It will be their chance to host international football in a tournament fashion, something never attempted before, and in the current financial climate, it maybe their only chance.

This is the timeline approved by the UEFA Executive Committee for the bidding process:

  •  28 March 2013: Approval of the bidding requirements and bid regulations
  • April 2013: Publication of the bid requirements and launch of the bidding phase
  • September 2013: Formal confirmation of their bid by the candidates
  • April/May 2014: Submission of bid dossiers and start of the evaluation phase
  • September 2014: Appointment of the host cities by the UEFA Executive Committee

It will certainly be an interesting spectacle that may have successes and failures. The worry I would have is of a disjointed tournament with teams not having a set base and training camp for long enough periods of time, however, most top European league teams use airplanes now as modes of transport within their own countries. Teams involved in European competitions are also used to travelling for away games. The biggest test may come of players who will have to get used to staying in different hotels for short periods of time, which could ultimately affect the results and even who lifts the Euro 2020 crown in the end.

Written by ChalkOnYaBoots

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La Furia Roja Recieve a Royal Welcome in Madrid

La Furia Roja travel through Madrid on an open-top bus with the tournament cup in celebration of their championship win.

The Spanish soccer team receive a warm welcome by their jubilant fans after yet another extraordinary tournament in Ukraine and Poland. The team flew home to Madrid after their amazing 4-0 final win against Italy. The logo “proud of our national team” was featured on the plane that brought them home. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Coach Vicente del Bosque came out of the plane first, showing off the tournament cup to their native land. Upon their arrival, Spanish King Juan Carlos, along with other royalty, congratulated the team with their victory and held a celebration at Palacio de la Zarzuela. After the reception, the Spanish royalty mingled with the team in the gardens while Prince Felipe’s twin daughters, Sofia and Leonor, watched the tournament cup and grabbed confetti out of its inside.

La Furia Roja then proudly paraded their trophy through the streets of Madrid for 2 1/2 hours, adding large smiles to the faces of the Spaniards despite the country’s economic struggles. The city was packed with thousands of excited fans and was covered in the Spainish colors: yellow and red. After the bus ride, the team went up on the stage in Cibeles plaza, danced to music, and splattering wine at each other in celebration of their wonderful victory.

Written by FutbolPulse

Spain: Road to the Top of Euro 2012

Spain has once again gained the title of European Champion, and in this post, I will talk about their “road to the top.” Spain had a very good start, winning all of their qualifiers with flying colors. They started Euro 2012 as being the favorite team, having previously won the Euro Cup in Austria and the World Cup in South Africa. They had a slightly bumpy first game against Italy, but the Spanish managed to equalize the score before full-time, ending the game at 1-1. Little did either team know that they would play again in the finals with a completely different outcome. The next game against the Irish was a breeze for the Spanish. Spain managed to outscore Ireland 4-0 without breaking a sweat, and if they tried harder, the goal margin would have probably been even larger. Spain’s mistake when playing their last group stage game was that they underestimated Croatia. Throughout the game, the Spanish kept telling themselves that the goal will come eventually, and that it won’t be much of a challenge to score. By the end of the 1st half, Spain finally understood what they were up against. They began shooting every chance they got, but without success. Dangerously close to full-time, Spain finally broke through the Croatian defense and scored, giving themselves a ticket to the quarter-finals after their 1-0 win. Spain had a nice beginning to the knockout stage of Euro 2012. They secured a firm win against France (runner-up in Group D) with a score of 2-0. The two goals from Xabi Alonso were a great way to celebrate his 100th international appearance. Spain’s semi-final against Portugal was like a war without an end. No matter how many times either team attempted to score, the ball just wouldn’t touch the back of the net. After the 120th minute ended without a single goal, the game went on to a penalty shootout. When Bruno Alves missed his penalty, Cristiano Ronaldo realized that his “winning goal” will never come, and Cesc Fàbregas awarded Spain one more game in Euro 2012 after his spectacular goal. The Spanish were sure they could pull it off again in Kiev, Ukraine, and their confidence proved to serve them well. The ball stayed primarily in Italy’s half throughout the duration of the game. The few breakaways made by the Italians were ineffective, and their defenses were often broken. The Spanish proved that they owned the game with 2 beautiful goals in the first half, leaving the Italians trailing at 2-0. By the end of second half, Spain scored 2 more goals, breaking the record for largest Euro Cup final win (4 goal margin). After Spain’s 4th goal, users set a new sports-related record on Twitter, posting over 15,000 tweets per second. In conclusion, this final is a game that will never be forgotten by soccer fans worldwide, and La Furia Roja rightfully celebrated their triumph against Italy and the acquirement of their 3rd Euro Cup after the match.

Written by FutbolPulse

Euro 2012 Final Post Game Report

The Spanish celebrate as they are once again crowned the European Champions after their 4-0 win against Italy.

History was made in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine this past Sunday. Spain battled Italy in the fight for the Euro Cup, but the Spainish renewed their title as the European Champions after their amazing 4-0 win. In this game, Spain had 52% possession and shot the ball 14 times (9 on target), while Italy had 48% possession and 11 shots (6 on target). Interestingly, even though most of the match statistics were almost equal for both teams, this was probably one of the most one-sided games of the whole tournament. It was a significantly different game compared to the one these teams played in the group stage. In general, the Spanish offense was unstoppable, while their defenses could not be broken. Spain had a great tournament as well as a very successful final, and the team’s hard work surely paid off after being handed their 3rd straight major title. The Spanish definitely went into the game feeling confident, despite the history between these two teams. The game started off with a beautiful chance for Xavi in the 10th minute after running into an open space inside the box, but the ball flew slightly above the goal. The first goal came just 4 minutes later, when the ball was knocked forward to Cesc Fàbregas inside the box. He then made an areal pass to David Silva who shot the header into the back of the net. On the 38th minute, Balotelli had a fairly good chance to score, but he was too eager and shot the ball high from outside the box. In less than a minute, Jordi Alba (Spanish defender) dashed at the speed of a bullet into the offensive half. While avoiding all of the defenders but staying onside, the ball was passed forward to him, and he shot the ball above Buffon and into the net; this is his first ever international goal. When Antonio Di Natale went out on the field in the beginning of the second half, he had two golden chances to score. Unfortunately, his header went a bit high, and his kick was blocked by Casillas. In the 61st minute, Thiago Motta (who was previously substituted in) was injured, and with no Italian subs remaining, the Italians played with only 10 players. The choice to substitute Torres for Fàbregas quickly proved to be effective. He had a nice breakaway and scored against Italy in the 84th minute. But the Italian’s bad luck didn’t end there. In just 4 minutes, a similar breakaway was made, and Fernando Torres made an assist to Juan Mata who scored yet another Spanish goal, ending the game at a 4-0 win for Spain. After the historic game ended, Fernando Torres was given the Golden Boot Award for scoring the most goals (3) in the least amount of time (187 minutes), and Andrés Iniesta was named Man of the Tournament.

Written by FutbolPulse

Euro 2012 Final Preview

Spain and Italy will square off on July 1st at the end of their Euro 2012 journey.

The highly anticipated Euro 2012 final has almost arrived! In this post, I will talk about each team’s history and what could affect the outcome of the game. First of all, Spain and Italy have played each other 30 times in the past. Out of those games, 10 resulted in a win for Italy, 8 were won by Spain, and 12 ended in a draw. Also, Italy is undefeated against Spain in major tournaments that did not end in a penalty shootout. This final will be Italy’s 9th at any major tournament, and they have won 5 of them in the past. Also, Italian forward Mario Balotelli has had the most attempts on goal in Euro 2012 so far. Cesc Fabregas said previously that Balotelli will be the biggest threat to their win at the final. If Spain wins the title, they will become the 1st team to win the European Cup 2 times in a row, as well as becoming the 1st national team to win 3 major titles in succession (Euro Cup 2008, World Cup 2010, and Euro Cup 2012). Also, Spain has had dominant possession of the ball in all games of World Cup 2010 and Euro Cup 2012 (so far). In Euro 2012, neither team has had a perfect record. Spain has tied twice, against Italy (group stage) and Portugal (semifinal). La Furia Roja have made 8 goals, and only conceded 1. Also, 88.5% of all their passes have been accurate. On the other hand, the Azzurri have scored only 6 times, and they have conceded 3 goals. 84% of their passes have been accurate, which is a fairly good amount. Although Italy feels confident, Spain has had a slightly more successful tournament. You must keep in mindthat the only goal Spain conceded was in their 1-1 game with Italy. This game was their first in the tournament, and it took place in Gdansk, Poland on June 10th. In this game, Italy surprisingly was the first to take the lead, but Cesc Fabregas quickly equalised the game. Both teams had their fair share of shots, but Buffon and Casillas were able to keep the rest of them out of the net. I have noticed that although both teams have a very strong defense, they sometimes seem to fail. The opposing team usually scores after finding wide openings, not in tight spaces. The attack on both teams are very efficient, but it is always a matter of whether or not the ball gets in the net. As a result of how each team has performed so far, I feel that Spain will be the driving force in the final game. But Spain must not underestimate the Italians, especially after their 2-1 win against Germany in the semifinals. My prediction is that the game will be action-filled, with many nice shots and saves, but Spain will maintain their title as the European Champions with a score of 2-1 against Italy on July 1st in Kiev, Ukraine.

Written by FutbolPulse

Germany vs. Italy Recap

After finding the perfect opportunity, the ball is passed to Italy forward Mario Balotelli, who outruns defender Philipp Lahm and scores.

This post is probably one of the harder ones for me to write. Even though the Germany National Team is my favorite during international championships, I must say that they did not play as they usually do at their semifinal against Italy in Warsaw, Poland. In the past, Italy and Germany have met 7 times at international tournaments, and Italy has one every single game. Lukas Podolski, a German forward, vowed that he would help the team break this “curse.” By the end of the second half, Germany realized that their dream has not come true, and their curse has not been broken. The game stats were pretty well balanced, with Germany having 54% possession and 15 shots (8 on target), and Italy having 46% possession and 10 shots (5 on target). Germany had some few promising chances in the first half from Hummels, Kroos, Özil, and Khedira, all which were blocked by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. For Italy, some of the attempts proved to be successful. In the 20th minute, Antonio Cassano avoided a challenge and chiped the ball into the penalty area, where Mario Balotelli delivered an excellent header past German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Just 16 minutes later, a long distance pass was given to Mario Balotelli. Even with the German captain Philipp Lahm at his feet, Balotelli ran toward the net and whipped the ball over Neuer, which sailed into the top-right corner. Other than that, not many shots from the Italians were fired at the goal. In the second half, Germany once again managed to make some nice set-ups for goals, but the balls did not get past Buffon. Marco Reus almost scored off of a free kick, but the goalkeeper deflected the ball with his fingers. Italy also had some good chances, but they couldn’t make a third goal. Finally, after the 90th minute, the ball was handled by Balzaretti in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick. Even after Mesut Özil scored, they were unable to score in the last two minutes, resulting in a 2-1 win for Italy. Italy advances forward and will play Spain in the Euro 2012 Final on July 1st.

Written by FutbolPulse

Portugal vs. Spain Recap

The Spanish rejoice after their win agianst Portugal when Cesc Fábregas makes the final penalty kick.

In many ways, the Portugal-Spain game was like the one between Italy and England. In both games, all 120 minutes passed without a single ball getting in the net. During the penalty shootout, both games ended in a 4-2 win for Italy and Spain. The last quarterfinal was mostly a one-sided game, with Italy having dominant possession of the ball and significantly more chances on goal. On the other hand, in the first semifinal game, the match was very well balanced, with more-or-less equal possession and about the same number of shots. Both teams in the Protugal-Spain game got some very nice chances. Spain had 57% possession of the ball and 11 shots (5 on goal), while Portugal had 43% possession and 10 shots (2 on goal). By the 30th minute, Spain had two great opportunities to get the ball in the net, but the shots from inside the penalty area by Álvaro Arbeloa and Andrés Iniesta went above the crossbar. In the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo had two chances, one from a free kick and one from inside the box; both sailed over the goal. Extra time was completely owned by the Spanish, with some nice breakaways and very close shots from Iniesta and Ramos. The first two PKs from Xabi Alonso and João Moutinho were saved. When it was time for Portugal’s 4th kick, Bruno Alves’ kick hit the post, giving Spain the victory after Cesc Fábregas’ goal. I feel that it was a big mistake by Portugal for not having Ronaldo shoot earlier in the PKs. Out of all the people on the team, they should have let the world-class forward kick the first penalty. He could have changed the entire game by making the first penalty and giving hope to the Portuguese. In the end, Spain finally sealed their well-deserved win, and they will play Italy in the Euro 2012 Final on July 1st.

Written by FutbolPulse

England vs. Italy Recap

The Italians secure their win after Alessandro Diamanti whips the final penalty into the goal as Joe Hart dives in the other direction.

Probably one of the most bizarre and funny games in the Euro Cup thus far has been the quarter-final between England and Italy. Although both teams had some good chances, neither team was able to place the ball in the net (without being offside!) by the end of extra time. Though both sides were fairly even in the beginning of the game, Italy soon took complete ownership of the game, having a 64% possession of the ball. Italy had 35 shots in all (20 on target) and England had only 9 (4 on target). On the 5th minute, England created a great set-up for a goal, but Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon got his hand up there to block the shot from going in. After that moment, England did not have any significant breakaways or shots, and Wayne Rooney looked all but ineffective. On the other hand, the Italians shot balls from every angle and distance, but they also could not seem to make a goal. On the 3rd minute, Daniele De Rossi kicked a ball from 25 yards away that shot past English goalkeeper Joe Hart and hit the left-hand post. Later, Mario Balotelli got many chances inside the box to make a shot, but they were often off-target or they were deflected by English defenders. I feel that he should have been substituted toward the end of the second half, for his shots were getting less and less accurate. The surprise goal made by Italy in the 115 minute was found to be offside, so the joy of the Italians died down in a moment of seconds. The first Euro 2012 0-0 game moved on to penalty kicks. Although England was ahead, Ashley Young and Ashley Cole couldn’t make their shots, giving Italy the win which they so rightfully deserved. Italy now advances to the semi-finals and will play Germany on June 28th.

Written by FutbolPulse