England's pride as football comes home again

England coach Roy Hodgson and FA president Greg Dyke are thrilled that London's "very beautiful" Wembley Stadium has been chosen to host the 2020 semis and final.

English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke after Wembley had been awarded the semi-finals and final of UEFA EURO 2020
English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke after Wembley had been awarded the semi-finals and final of UEFA EURO 2020 ©Getty Images for UEFA

UEFA EURO 2020 will be not only a "EURO for Europe" but also an occasion for football to come home again after today's announcement in Geneva that England has been awarded the final and semi-finals of the UEFA European Football Championship in six years' time.

The English Football Football (FA) will stage the denouement to the 24-team tournament to be held across 12 European cities, and the country's national team coach Roy Hodgson promised "incredible fanaticism and passion" as well as a "wonderful stadium" in Wembley, intended venue for the semis and final.

The decision by the UEFA Executive Committee means England can prepare to host a third major footballing championship after the 1966 FIFA World Cup and EURO '96. FA president Greg Dyke is already looking forward to his country being, once again, the epicentre of the international soccer scene. "We haven't done it for some years now, more than 20 years, and we have a great stadium in Wembley," he said. "Plus, the tournament seems to get bigger and better every time. We are delighted to host the semi finals and the finals – let's hope we're there."

Hodgson too is relishing the occasion in prospect, telling UEFA.com: "The one thing that we can definitely promise is that incredible fanaticism and passion of the fans. England is very, very much a football country – I knew that before I became national team manager [and] in the last two years I've experienced it even more."

Wembley, totally reconstructed then reopened in 2007, will be a perfect setting for the EURO's climactic matches according to Hodgson: "It is a wonderful stadium – you'd fill Wembley every game, whoever happened to be playing. It wouldn't depend on England – people would turn up for the games."

For FA president Greg Dyke, the 'new' Wembley's experience of organising the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League finals also enhances its hosting credentials. "We built a very large, very beautiful but unfortunately very expensive stadium. And we want to host big matches there – we welcome hosting matches there, which is why we took the bid very seriously. And it's gratifying to find that we were, in technical terms, at the top of the list."

London also needs no introduction as a sporting centre of excellence, as witnessed during the 2012 Olympic Games in the English capital. "It's very exciting," Dyke said. "What you always find, and you saw with the Olympics, is that these events in London, people turn out en masse. It will be a massive success. We're really proud and we want to thank UEFA for giving it to us."

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