The final tournament of the UEFA European Championship returns to France for a record third time between 10 June and 10 July 2016 – only Belgium and Italy have hosted the competition more than once. The birthplace of the competition, France staged the inaugural tournament in 1960 and lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup on home turf in 1984.
For the first time, 24 teams will compete to be crowned European champions in this the 15th edition. As hosts, France qualify automatically for the final tournament. They will be joined by 23 qualifiers (out of a record field of 53) and the teams will be drawn into groups of four, with the six group winners, six group runners-up and the four best third-placed teams advancing to the round of 16 when it becomes a knockout competition.
It replaces the format for the past five tournaments, with four teams of four and knockout stages from the quarter-finals onwards. When France first hosted the tournament, in 1960, they were one of four sides involved. It expanded to eight in 1980 and doubled in size again in 1996 to 16.
UEFA EURO 2016 matches will be played in ten stadiums – in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
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