For soccer fans this is great news as they get a major soccer event happening every 2 years. Sort of like how we get a winter or summer Olympics every two years. This ensures they don’t need to wait to long before another tournament begins. It’s also a great opportunity for some countries to redeem themselves especially if the performed bad in the FIFA world cup as many of these also compete in the Euro Cup as well. So how did this last tournament play out? Who were the big winners and who were the big losers this year?
A little history on the Euro Cup
Although some Canadians may be less familiar with the Euro Cup compared to it’s more popular and well-known cousin the FIFA world cup the tournament has been around for many years. The idea to create a pan-European soccer tournament was first thought up by France’s Soccer Federation’s secretary general Henri Delaunay in 1927 however it wasn’t until 1958 that the idea for this tournament would begin to take shape. The first tournament known back then as the European Nation’s Cup was initially played in 1960 after 2 years of preliminary matches were held before between 17 different countries. The final tournament was played between four teams but over the years this number grew. In honor of the man who came up with the idea for this tournament the winner of the Euro receives the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
The final match of the tournament pitted fierce rivals U.S.S.R (known today as Russia) vs. Yugoslavia. This intense match was eventually won by the U.S.S.R with a final score of 2-1. In 1980 the number of teams in the final tournament was expanded to eight while in 1996 it was further increased to 16 teams. Finally in 2007 The Irish Football association and the Scottish Football association proposed expanding the tournament to include more countries. One year later EUFA approved the request and agreed to expand the tournament to 24 teams in total. This marked a big increase in the number of eligible countries that could earn a spot to participate in the Euro Cup which is only second in size and prestige in the soccer world behind the FIFA world cup.
So how do eligible countries qualify to the Euro Cup?
Just because your live in an eligible country which happens to be a member of UEFA, or the Union of European Football Associations does not guarantee your country will be able to participate in the upcoming event. Like the world-famous FIFA world cup and just like the Olympics most countries will need to qualify prior to the tournament. The qualification process takes place 2 years prior when eligible members will play games against other members with the winners advancing onward to earn their place in the tournament. Like other major world-wide sporting events the Euro Cup is usually played in a host country. The host country will automatically gain entry to the tournament forgoing the need to play in qualifying matches. In addition, the winning country from the previous tournament gets to return to defend their title without the need to participate in any qualifying matches.
Placing bets on this year’s Euro Cup
Many eager fans were eagerly waiting the start of the tournament in order to place their bets. Depending on which country you’re from you could probably find an online sports betting site to place your bets at. Most sportsbook sites were heavily promoting this tournament with deposit bonuses and new welcome offers to bring in new players. With England heavily favoured to win this year’s tournament there is no surprise the United Kingdom saw a big rise on bets placed. While some gamblers like to bet on long shots many placed bets on the heavy favourites such England and Italy. There were some pleasant surprises like in most tournaments which allowed some lucky gamblers to win big. The Euro Cup was seen around the world and had sports betters riding the edge of their seats.
The Euro Cup tournament initially began on June 11th of this year with the group stage. This lasted about 3 weeks and the top 2 winners from each group and the 4 best third place teams advanced to the next round. From there 16 teams competed until only two teams were left, England and Italy. At the start of the match England was initially favoured to win the tournament which they have never been able to do. England experienced soccer fever as the nation hoped to bring back it’s first ever Henri Delaunay Trophy. After 2 long halves and a full overtime being played, Italy was able to win the cup with during the penalty kick shootout with a final score of 3-2. This effectively ended England’s hopes for a first title.
With so much excitement around this global sporting event it’s no surprise sportsbook sites were extremely profitable with a record number of bets being placed. This was a clear sign gamblers who prefer to bet on sports were eager to place bets throughout the tournament. With the Tokyo Olympics now taking place many sportsbook sites are hoping to see another increase in bets placed. Will the Olympics have the same level of excitement and bets placed? We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out once the Olympics are done.