Euro 2012 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting European Championships in recent times. Following a successful bid, Euro 2012 will be hosted jointly between Ukraine and Poland.
The European championships have a long and illustrious history, and some of the greatest players and managers in the world have battled it out over the years to be crowned as Champions of Europe.
Players such as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of Germany, Michel Platini of France, and Brian Laudrup of Denmark can count themselves among those players who have earned the right to call themselves the Champions of Europe, joined by such names as Rinus Michels and Berti Vogts, who have managed their squads to wins in the European Championship.
The early years of the European Championships were not without event. Some nations, such as West Germany and Italy declined to enter a team. In the 1960 European Championships, Spain were drawn against the Soviet Union, and for political reasons, refused to travel to the Soviet Union, meaning that the USSR were awarded a win.
The teams would eventually meet, in the 1964 European Championships, which were held in Spain. The USSR, who were the defending champions at the time, would eventually lose to Spain in the final.
The 1968 European Championships were won by Italy, who beat Yugoslavia in the final. This tournament was noted for the fact that it included a game which whose result was determined by the toss of a coin, when the USSR and Italy semi-final ended up in a draw. The resultant toss of a coin led to the elimination of the USSR, and the progression of Italy to the final.
In 1980, the tournament was expanded to a total of eight teams taking part. Taking place in Italy, the European Championships were won by West Germany, as the beat Belgium in the final.
The 1984 European Championship was held in France, and it was to be a tournament in which the hosts excelled. France captain Michel Platini was in outstanding form for this tournament, scoring a record total of 9 goals in only 5 games.
The following tournament was held in West Germany, and was eventually won by the Netherlands, as they beat the USSR 2-0. The match itself is probably best remembered for a goal scored by Netherlands forward Marco van Basten, an outrageous volley which beat the keeper.
Looking forward to the future, Euro 2012 looks as if it is shaping up to be one of the best ever.
Hosts Poland and Ukraine will be joined by the cream of Europe's elite footballing nations. Footballing giants like Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands will be in attendance, making Euro 2012 likely to be one of the best yet.