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A to Z of UEFA EURO 2012

From attendances to zoos via Błaszczykowski and Shevchenko, UEFA.com looks back over the highlights of Ukraine and Poland's 24-day football festival.

A to Z of UEFA EURO 2012 ©Sportsfile

Attendances: Over 1.4 million people attended the matches in the stadiums, ensuring a tournament average of 46,471. The largest single attendance was 64,640 at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv for the match between Sweden and England.

Błaszczykowski: Poland's captain and poster boy Jakub did as much as anybody for the home cause, scoring one of the goals of the tournament with his screaming finish against Russia.

Centurions: The Republic of Ireland's Damien Duff, Germany's Lukas Podolski and Spain's Xabi Alonso all reached the 100-cap mark at the tournament – with the latter two celebrating the occasion by scoring. Already a century-club member, Iker Casillas posted an incredible record 100th win with Spain in the final.

Deluge: A spectacular thunderstorm stopped the Ukraine-France match after just over four minutes and the Biblical torrent meant the contest did not resume until 58 minutes later.

East: As the first EURO staged in eastern Europe, 'Creating history together' was Poland and Ukraine's motto for a tournament that gave fresh confidence to the two host countries as well as introducing visiting fans to new cultures and histories.

Fan zones: Crowds totalling over 5 million enjoyed the action in fan zones across the eight host cities.

Goals: 76 scored in 31 matches, to be precise.

Headers: From Robert Lewandowski's first goal of the finals via Andy Carroll's thumping effort against Sweden to David Silva's final opener, there was an abundance of headed goals – 22 in all, or 29% of the overall total.

Irish: Back on the EURO stage after a 24-year absence, the Republic of Ireland were the first team eliminated, but their fans left a lasting impression with their unrelenting chorus of support in the defeat by Spain.

Junior: The Netherlands' Jetro Willems became the youngest player in EURO finals history when appearing against Denmark aged 18 years and 71 days. England's 21-year-old Danny Welbeck was this tournament's youngest goalscorer.

Keepers: Poland's Przemysław Tytoń came off the bench to save a penalty with his first touch in the opening match, a fitting start for a tournament featuring some fine goalkeeping displays not least from Gianluigi Buffon and Casillas, the two captains on final night. Both underlined their enduring class with key saves in shoot-outs, while Casillas's stop from Croatia's Ivan Rakitić's header quite possibly spared Spain an early exit.

Legacy: Poland and Ukraine have four world-class stadiums each in addition to the improved infrastructure put into place for the EURO. On the pitch there were encouraging signs too – and invaluable experience for the young players of the two countries.

Mascots: Slavek and Slavko were an ubiquitous presence.

Nul points: The Netherlands' tally at the foot of Group B. It was the first time the Dutch had exited a major tournament without a single point and a dramatic reversal of fortune for the 2010 FIFA World Cup runners-up.

Oldies: Greece had the oldest player in 38-year-old goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias and second oldest scorer in Giorgos Karagounis – second only to fellow 35-year-old Andriy Shevchenko.

Penalties: Andrea Pirlo's Panenka-style effort was an unforgettable touch of class that seemed to give Italy the psychological upper hand in their quarter-final shoot-out with England. Sergio Ramos produced something similar for Spain against Portugal.

Quitting: Slaven Bilić and Dick Advocaat were already leaving Croatia and Russia respectively, but Laurent Blanc and Bert van Marwijk resigned their posts with France and the Netherlands soon after departing the EURO.

Record-breakers: Spain became the first team to retain the Henri Delaunay Cup and, moreover, the first to win three successive major titles, completing an unprecedented EURO-FIFA World Cup-EURO hat-trick. Vicente del Bosque became the first coach in history to clinch the EURO, World Cup and European Cup.

: Ukrainian football's favourite son rolled back the years with the two headed goals that earned Ukraine an opening win against Sweden – and ensured two of the loudest roars Kyiv's Olympic Stadium will ever hear.

Twitter: There were 16.5m tweets relating to the UEFA EURO 2012 final, with a peak of 15,358 tweets per second – a record for a sports event – the moment Spain scored their fourth goal.

Unexpected: There were no tales of the unexpected to rival Denmark winning in 1992 or Greece in 2004, but those two countries still provided arguably the two biggest upsets – the Danes beating the Netherlands 1-0 in their opening fixture and Greece overcoming Russia through a goal from captain Karagounis to send Fernando Santos's team into the last eight.

Viewers: The EURO had football lovers glued to their TV sets across Europe and beyond. Poland's battling home draw with Russia earned an all-time record TV audience (14.7 million average) in the co-host country; the England-Italy match was the most watched quarter-final in EURO history; and Spain's final triumph earned the highest Spanish TV audience in history (15.5 million average; 17.9m peak).

Wow: What else could we say after some of the spectacular goals witnessed: Błaszczykowski v Russia, Mario Gomez's first v the Netherlands, Zlatan Ibrahimović v France, Sami Khedira v Greece and Mario Balotelli's second v Italy, to name but a few.

X-factor: Cristiano Ronaldo fired Portugal into the last four, Pirlo shone for Italy but ultimately even they were outshone by Spain's history boys, starting with pass masters Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta and a defence that conceded just one goal.

Youth: Joachim Löw's exciting Germany team were the youngest at the EURO and completed a world-record 15-match winning run in competitive matches with their quarter-final win against Greece. Their last four tournament appearances have yielded three semi-final losses and a runners-up spot, but youth is on their side.

Zoo: From Fred the Ferret in Kharkiv Zoo to Citta the Elephant in its Krakow counterpart, via Funtik the Pig in Kyiv, there were several contenders bidding to match the soothsaying feats of Paul the Octopus at the 2010 World Cup. The animal magic only went so far this time, though ...