This year will see the start of the 14th UEFA European Football Championship, known as Euro 2012 for short, which will for the first time in the tournament's history be hosted by Poland and the Ukraine from June 8 until July 1, and will feature the national teams of 16 of Europe's best football-playing nations.
UEFA Euro Championship History
Although the idea for a European-wide football tournament was suggested in the late 1920s by Henri Delaunay of the French Football Federation, it was only in 1958 that the first UEFA Euro Championship was played. And in honor of Delaunay, from then until now, all winners of the Championship are presented with the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
Held every four years like the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro Championship has greatly evolved. For instance, the 1960 Euro in France attracted 17 nations, the 1964 Euro in Spain 29, and the 1968 Euro in Italy 31. Then, like now, teams are whittled down for the finals through a series of qualifiers in the two years preceding each tournament.
Up until the 1980 Euro, only four teams progressed to the finals, but from 1980, eight progressed, and a group stage was introduced. The winners of each stage played in the finals and the runners-up competed in a playoff to determine the third place team. This was changed in the 1984 Euro, where the top two group teams met in the semifinals stage, eliminating the need for a third place playoff. In the 1996 Euro, sixteen teams progressed to the finals.
And since then, the format of the UEFA Euro Championship has remained unchanged. In terms of the nation with the most Championships under its belt, that honor belongs to Germany, with three, earned in 1972, 1980 and 1996.
Euro 2012 Overview
After almost two years of qualifiers contested by 51 nations, the sixteen teams that will compete in the final Euro 2012 tournament are Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.
They have been split into four groups or pots: Pot 1 - Ukraine, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands. Pot 2 - Germany, Italy, England and Russia. Pot 3 - Croatia, Greece, Portugal and Sweden. Pot 4 - Denmark, France, Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday, June 8 with a match between Poland and Greece.
Euro 2012 Betting Opportunities
Being such a premier European football tournament, there are a wide range of Euro 2012 betting opportunities thanks to the many international online sports. And you can rest assured that they will each offer a multitude of Euro 2012 betting lines and markets, including outrights, matches, prop bets, specials and much more.
For instance, the kinds of betting Euro 2012 betting markets you can expect to find right now include Outright Winner, Group Betting, Top Goalscorer, Winner/Top Goalscorer Doubles, Name the Finalists, Qualify From Group, Not to Qualify From Group, Group Straight Forecast and many more, depending on the respective online sportsbook.
But to make all your Euro 2012 betting decisions easier than ever, on this site we'll publish all the most competitive Euro 2012 betting lines and odds - including Live Odds from our premier partners, the latest Euro 2012 news, as well as regular and in-depth Euro match previews to give you an idea of which teams will likely prove victorious.
Our 2012 UEFA European Football Championship section will also offer Euro 2012 tips and highlight all the betting opportunities you cannot afford to miss out on.