The very first mascot was produced for the final tournament of the men’s European Championship in Italy
in 1980, known as Europa 80.
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Its purpose was to boost the event’s popularity, especially among younger fans. The obvious choice for Italy was Pinocchio, the wooden hero of a beloved children’s story known the world over. In France in 1984, when the Europa became the EURO, the mascot was a French national symbol – the rooster, called Peno, the colloquial French abbreviation for a penalty.
To this day, Peno remains, the only EURO mascot ever to have accompanied the team whose colours it bore all the way through victory in the final.
Four years later, in Germany, the tournament was represented by a rabbit by the name of Berni – a reference to UEFA’s then home city of Berne.
The idea caught on that the rabbit mascot should be a permanent feature of the tournament, merely changing its kit colours every four years to reflect those of the host country’s flag. Hence, in 1992, Berni swapped Germany’s colours for the yellow and blue of the host country, Sweden.
But that was to be the second and last outing of Berni. In 1996, England opted for a lion mascot called Goaliath, symbolising the three lions on The FA’s crest.
EURO 2000 featured a mythical beast, a cross between a lion and a devil – symbols of the two host associations, the Netherlands and Belgium. It was named Benelucky, a nod to the third Benelux country, Luxembourg, which was associated with the event as the host of that year’s UEFA Congress.
For Portugal 2004, the mascot was derived from the five blue shields – or Quinas – on Portugal's coat of arms, and featured Kinas, a smiling, energetic little boy whose mission was to share his love of the game with all football fans. Fittingly, as twin hosts of EURO 2008, Austria and Switzerland, decided on two mascots, Trix and Flix, each sporting the national colours of the host nations. Just like their predecessor, Kinas, they embodied the joy of playing football. In 2012, Poland and Ukraine followed their predecessors’ example and adopted another pair of twins, Slavek and Slavko, each sporting the colours of one of the hosts and even dying their hair to match. There was a distinct superpower theme to the mascot for EURO 2016 in France, which even had its own origin story. Sporting a magic cape and football boots, Super Victor became an unstoppable, flying footballer after discovering the final tournament ball while playing with friends.
Marking the event’s 60th anniversary, EURO 2020 was staged in 11 different cities across Europe. Such a special tournament required a very special mascot: freestyler Skillzy became a familiar face with fans after the tournament was delayed for 12 months by the pandemic. EURO 2024 sees a return to the animal kingdom, with Albärt, a bear named by UEFA’s online community and schoolchildren from all over Europe taking part in the UEFA Football in Schools programme. This mascot is a tribute to the timeless image of the faithful German teddy bear.