The European Championship for National Squads (a.k.a. Eurocup) has been going on since 1960. During its two first editions (1960, 1964) it was called Nations Cup. The main boost to create this competition came from Henri Delaunay, former Secretary-General of the French Football Federation, who proposed a European tournament similar to America Cup (its correlate in South America) in order to fill out the 4-year period between World Cups. Germany (former Federal Republic of Germany) and Spain are the countries with most European Championship titles (3).
This tournament has had a constant evolution: in the beginning it was played under a knock-out system, leading to a final stage with only 4 teams, who played semifinals and then the final in a single country (France 60 and Spain 64); later on, the national teams had to compete in a qualifying stage, distributed in 8 groups, whose champions entered a quarterfinal round in order to yield the 4 participants in the final stage (Italy 68, Belgium 72, Yugoslavia 76). From Italy 80 on, the host country qualified for the final stage without playing the preliminary rounds; another novelty was the extension from 4 to 8 teams in the final tournament, distributed in 2 groups. England 96 introduced 4 groups of 4 teams each in the final stage, so that winners and runners-up access a quarterfinal round and play under a knock-out system until reaching the final. The year 2000 had as a main novelty a joint organization by two host countries: Belgium and Netherlands.
• Official UEFA scores and statistics extended and corrected with multilingual edition. All the names of players, referees, stadiums, and cities are written in their original spelling (or a standard transcription into Latin characters, in the case of other alphabets). This is the reason why some names may slightly differ in form with respect to other unstandardized information sources.
• Special acknowledgment to Eduardo Mendoza for his corrections and historical research on the European Championship.