It doesn’t seem possible that almost four years have passed since Iker Casillas and Spain lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup in Vienna. But with the qualifying campagin completed, the draw for the finals made and most of squad being announced, the countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 has begun.
Since its inception in 2960, the UEFA European Championship has gone from strength to strength with every tournament. Only four nations competed at the first finals in France, but in 2016 the number of participating teams will have expanded to 24. UEFA EURO 2012, though, will have the same format we have become used to since Euro 96 with 16 nations fighting it out for the trophy.
UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria & Switzerland was a resounding success. Spain were worthy champions and the brand of football they played gave fans across the world great pleasure. It was also the second time the tournamnet had been successfully staged across two joint host countries, and Poland and Ukraine will provide another exciting dimension as the finals head east. Millions of football fans will be present in Poland and Ukraine this summer to watch the action unfold, and soak up the unique atmosphere. Billions more will be glued to television sets, cheering their countried on from homes, offices, and pubs throught Europe and the world.
With just 10 days remaining for the first match to kickoff in Warsaw, the anticipation for the finals is getting bigger and bigger day by day. Here we provide you with a complete guide to get you in the mood for the finals. I hope you enjoy the tournament and the complete guide.
The final tournament of the 14th UEFA European Football Championship will be held in Poland and Ukraine from 8 June to 1 July 2012. It will be the third time that the final tournament is jointly hosted by two countries (after Belgium/Netherlands in 2000 and Austria/Switzerland in 2008).
Sixteen national teams will compete in a total of 31 matches to be crowned European champions. The format of four groups of four teams will be used for the last time in this tournament. The competition format will change for the next edition in 2016 as the lineup of participants competing in the final tournament will be increased to 24.
The UEFA EURO 2012 matches will be played in eight stadiums, four in Poland – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw – and four in Ukraine – Donetsk, Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv. The opening match will take place in Warsaw on 8 June and the final on 1 July in Kyiv. No fewer than 1.4 million fans will be expected at the stadiums and the matches will be broadcast live in more than 200 territories around the world.
VENUES & STADIUMS
Eight cities have been selected by UEFA as host venues. In a return to the format used at Euro 1992, Euro 1996 and Euro 2008, each of the four groups will be based around two stadiums each. The host cities Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan, Kiev, Lviv are all popular tourist destinations, unlike Donetsk and Kharkiv (the latter having replaced Dnipropetrovsk as a host city in 2009). The obligatory improvement of the football infrastructure includes the building of new stadiums: Six of the eight venues are brand new stadiums just built for the tournament, while the remaining two (in Poznan and Kharkiv) have undergone major renovations to improve them. Three of the stadiums will fulfill the criteria of UEFA’s highest category stadiums.
National Stadium, Warsaw
Club to be confirmed
Built on the site of the old Tenth Anniversary Stadium on the eastern bank of the Vistula, the facade of the new National Stadium Warsaw resembles a waving Polish flag. It will host the opening match of UEFA EURO 2012 on 8 June and is expected to become the new home of the Poland national team.
Games Poland v Greece (8/6), Poland v Russia (12/6), Greece v Russia (16/6), 1 x QF (21/6), 1 x SF (28/6).
Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw
Club WKS Slask Wroclaw
Designed in the shape of a Chinese lantern, the newly built Municipal Stadium Wroclaw was official openined with a Geroge Michael concert on 17 September 2011. Two months later Italy’s Mario Balotelli scored the first international goal at the new ground in the 2-0 win against Poland.
Games Russia v Czech Republic (8/6), Greece v Czech Republic (12/6), Czech Republic (16/6)
Municipal Stadium, Poznan
Club KKS Lech Poznan
Renowned for its excellent atmosphere, the original stadium was inagurated in 1980 and has undergone major renovation work to bring it up to standard for UEFA EURO 2012. The new Municipal Stadium Poznan opened its door for the first for a Sting concert on 20 September 2010.
Games Republic of Ireland v Croatia (10/6), Italy v Croatia (14/6), Italy v Republic Ireland (18/6)
PGE Arena, Gdansk
Club KKS Lech Poznan
Located in Gdnask’s Letnica neighbourhood, construction of the PGE Arena began in 2008 and was completed in 2011. The exterior is designed to resemble amber, which has long been extracted along the Baltic coast. Poland’s 2-2 draw with Germany on 6 September 2011 was the first ever match played in the new stadium. The stadium will host three group C games and one quarter final.
Games Spain v Italy (10/6), Spain v Republic of Ireland (14/6), Croatia v Spain (18/6), 1 x QF (22/6)
Olympic Stadium, Kyiv
Club Ukrainian national team
With a 60,000 capacity and a striking new transparent roof, the new-look Olympic Stadium is UEFA EURO 2012’s largest venue and will host the final on 1 July. Ukraine’s first match at the renovated groud was a thrilling 3-3 draw against Germany on 11 November 2011.
Games Ukraine v Sweden (11/6), Sweden v England (15/6), Sweden v France (19/6), 1 x QF (24/6), Final (1/7)
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
Club FC Shakhtar Donetsk
The Donbass Arena was opened in August 2009 and boasts UEFA elite status, qualifying it to the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League finals. Home to UEFA Champions League regulars FC Shakhtar Donetsk, it will stage five matches during UEFA EURO 2012, including a semi-final.
Games France v England (11/6), Ukraine v France (15/6), England v Ukraine (19/6), 1 x OF (23/6), 1 x SF (27/6)
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
Club FC Metalist Kharkiv
First build in 1926, the stadium has undergone several facelifts down the years, none more striking that its current guise. Known locally as the Spider Arene because of its roof supports resemble an arachnid’s legs, it was first known as the Traktor Stadium, named after a local tractor production plant.
Games Holland v Denmark (9/6), Holland v Germany (13/6), Portugal v Holland (17/6)
Arena Lviv, Lviv
Club to be confirmed
Constructed specifically for the finals, this two-tired stadium offers fans perfect slightlines, while a walkway at the back of the lower tier provides a sense of space. The Arena Lviv, which opened on 29 October 2011, will host three Group B matches.
Games Germany v Portugal (9/6), Denmark v Portugal (13/6), Denmark v Germany (17/6)
LOGO & SLOGAN
The purpose of the logo and slogan is to give UEFA EURO 2012 its own personality, to help promote the tournament and to enhance the prestige of one of the world’s biggest sporting events by providing an easily recognisable identity, while at the same time bringing in a distinctive flavour of the host countries. The official logo and slogan for UEFA EURO 2012 were launched at a special event in Kyiv’s Mykhailivska Square on 14 December 2009.
The logo takes its visual lead from wycinanka art, a traditional form of paper cutting practised in rural areas of Poland and Ukraine. The wycinanka art form symbolises the fauna and flora of the local regions in a tribute to mother nature, representing the worship of the land and true respect for continuous growth, prosperity and fertility.
The slogan – Creating History Together
UEFA EURO 2012 is the next chapter in a story that started back in 1960 with the first edition of the UEFA European Football Championship. The staging of the final tournament in Poland and Ukraine, the first in central and eastern Europe, will definitely have a prominent place in history books.
Everyone involved in UEFA EURO 2012 including organisers, host countries, host cities, players, travelling supporters and fans at home are all contributing to another chapter of European and football history.
Following the footsteps of Trix and Flix at UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, Slavek and Slavko are dterminded to prove once more that two are better than one. A mascot introduced for the first time in a UEFA European Championship in 1980 when Pinocchio took to the pitch for Italy and they have been mainstay ever since. Slavek and Slavko have alreadt made their mark with nearly 40,000 people voting in a poll to choose their names. UEFA EURO 2012 ambassador Zbigniew Boniek believes Slavek, wearing the white of Poland in a No20 shirt, could be something of a luck charm for his nation. “This number was good for the national team, it brought me a lot of luck,” he said. “As No20 I scored three famours goals against Belgium at the 1982 World Cup while Grzegorz Lato had this number too.” His Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Shevchenko added: “I have seen that the mascots can play good football too and that is good sign for the tournament.”
Some of the biggest names in Polish and Ukrainian football are helping to promote the tournament as UEFA EURO 2012 ambassadors. Former internationals Zbigniew Boniek and Andrzej Szarmach are flying the flag for Poland, while FC Dynamo Kyiv and Ukraine greats Oleh Blokhin and Andriy Shevchenko are doing everything they can in Ukraine, both on and off the pitch, to help ensure the championship’s success. “It is very important for Ukraine, not only in terms of football development but also for the development of the country and its poeple,” said Shevchenko, who will captain Blokhin’s national side next summer. Boneik, capped 80 times by his country and a member of the Poland team that finished third at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, is looking forward to showing his native land in the best possible light. “It is a fantastic opportunity to show the world what a great country we are,” he said. “I would say to all the fans: come to Poland and see what we have to offer – amazing historical sities and extraordinary countryside and cities.”
A competition record 23,965 people from across the world have applied to work as volunteers during the tournament from which number 5,500 have been selected to provide support for UEFA’s staff at the event. Volunteering is vital to ensure the smooth running of a successful EURO, and all positions had been made available in 20 different areas of operations from ticketing to transport and accommodation. Former Poland and world heavyweight boxing champions Vitaliy Klitschko both gave their backing to the recruitment drive, with the latter declaring: “I know how many people expect a miracle from EURO 2012, but it will not happen unless each of us contributes to the success of the football festival.”
The official match ball for UEFA Euro 2012 is the Adidas Tango 12, which is designed to be easier to dribble and control than the reportedly unpredictable Adidas Jabulani used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Complete detailed information about the ball over here.
The official UEFA EURO 2012 song is “Endless Summer” by the German singer Oceana – whose 2009 hit Cry Cry topped the charts in Poland and Ukraine as well as other European countries, and featured a video shot in Kyiv. In addition, UEFA has retained the melody that was composed by Rollo Armstrong of Faithless on its behalf for the 2008 tournament. The official Polish song for the tournament is “Koko Euro Spoko” by the folk band Jarzebina. The Republic of Ireland has also produced an official song: “The Rocky Road to Poland” recorded by a collaboration of Irish performers has already reached number 1 in Ireland.
Tickets were sold directly by UEFA via its website, or are to be distributed by the football associations of the 16 finalists. Applications had to be made during March 2011 for the 1.4 million tickets available for the 31 tournament matches. Over 12 million applications were received, which represented a 17% increase on the 2008 finals, and an all-time record for the UEFA European Championship. Owing to this over-subscription for the matches, lotteries were carried out to allocate tickets. Prices varied from €30 (£25) (for a seat behind the goals at a group match) to €600 (£513) (for a seat in the main stand at the final). In addition to individual match tickets, fans could buy packages to see either all matches played by one team, or all matches at one specific venue. In May 2012 UEFA will start sending tickets to fans which bought tickets also immediately UEFA will start selling additional tickets on ticketing website.
Spain’s Iker Casillas had the pleasure of becoming the first captain to lift the updated version of the Henri Delaunay Cup in June 2008, with the new trophy a fitting replacement for the prize that has been synonymous with the UEFA European Championship. The second version of the trophy is based on the original designed by Arthus-Bertrand in 1960 and named after Henri Delaunay, the former president of the French Football Federation and UEFA’s first general secretary, from the body’s founding on 15 June 1954 to 9 November 1955. It is 18cm higher and 2kg heavier than the original, made of sterling silver, and has retained its historical name. The trophy was reincarnated to reflect the scale and size of Europe’s most prestigious international tournament.
The responsibility for creating the original went to Pierre Delaunay, son of Henri, the visionary behind the competition. Henri Delaunay died in 1955 before seeing his idea come to fruition, but the updated prize is testament to his enduring legacy, maintaining its classic style. Minor differences between the original and updated version include the silver base being enlarged to make it stable. In addition, the names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plinth have been engraved on the back of the trophy, which weighs 8kg and is 60cm tall. Unlike the original, which was the work of the Chobillon goldsmith and was later bought by Arthus-Bertrand in Paris, the making of the modern equivalent was entrusted to Asprey London. Asprey, renowned silversmiths, jewellers and goldsmiths, have a long history of trophy-making stretching back to the America’s Cup, which their sister company Garrard produced in 1848. UEFA wanted to improve on the quality but also the scale of the trophy, and have a focal point for the event – it was felt that the original trophy was too small to do this.