UEFA President Michel Platini is anticipating a magnificent week of football at Wembley in London – a "marvellous venue" – to bring UEFA EURO 2020 to an unforgettable climax.
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UEFA President Michel Platini and the president of the English Football Association (FA) Greg Dyke are confident that London – a football stronghold with such a proud history in the game – will stage a final phase to remember at UEFA EURO 2020.
The UEFA Executive Committee unanimously chose the English capital to stage three group games, one round of 16 tie, the semi-finals and final of European national team football's flagship competition in six years' time. The setting of Wembley Stadium is considered as a special venue for what will doubtless be a unforgettable climax to the 'EURO for Europe' in 12 cities across the continent.
"[UEFA EURO 2020] is an idea that I put in place some years ago," Michel Platini told media in Geneva. "I absolutely wanted the last week to be a week of national team football. I also wanted this competition to take place throughout Europe, and you saw today that it will go from east to west.
"There will be a week of football in a great capital, London. I know the festive aspect there, and how the English welcome [people]. I hope London will be equal to the task, so that all those who love football will spend a magnificent week there, and see exceptional matches in a very fine stadium – [Wembley] is a marvellous stadium. We know it well, because we have staged two recent UEFA Champions League finals there [in 2011 and 2013]."
"We're obviously delighted; I'd like to thank the government and the mayor of London who have helped us to put this together," added Greg Dyke. "Wembley is a great stadium – you go back to EURO '96 [in England], and Wembley has been completely rebuilt since then.
"I'd like to congratulate UEFA," he added. "You look at all these capital cities across Europe, and you think to yourself: 'What a good idea [UEFA EURO 2020] is'."
The choice of Wembley Stadium was unanimous after Munich decided to withdraw its candidature just prior to the vote. Mr Platini explained why the 12 cities in question had been chosen. "We now have the time to put things in place so that the fans can participate in this great adventure," he said. "Here you have cities with major international airports. The vote wasn't based on national teams and the beauty of the country – there were criteria linked to airports, transport, and accommodation.
"When you look at the quarter-finals, two are in the east and two are in the west," he added. "I think the Executive Committee members tried to find a balance: the [south] with Rome and Bilbao, while up north, there is Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg."
"The European map [for 2020] looks great," added UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino. "It will be easy to make up the groups in a way to meet the objective, which is that even for those matches where fans have to travel away, the distances will not be that big."