In a few days, Europe will be brought to a standstill when the ball starts rolling at the Stade de France. Then, the 2016 European Championship will begin. Football fans will enjoy a month full of excitement, matches, both joy and tears, victories and defeats within the sport of football, and only football. One pitch, one ball, two goals, 22 protagonists and thousands of people enjoying in the stands. Nothing more. From VAVEL we want to remind that the barbarism doesn't have a place in our world. Yes, that nightmare that started in the same stadium, the same city and same country in which the big tournament will be played, will be the backdrop for it.
France, Belgium, this one's for you.
Jorge Valdano once said “football is the most important among the less important things” and precisely in this edition of the EURO, this phrase will make sense. After a year in which football has suffered mercilessly from the violence of terrorism, the 24 teams present in France will attempt to honour this sport. The French country, recovered from a catastrophe without precedents and will host one of the most special European Championship in history, with honour. It all came down to the existing brotherhood between all European countries, fighting for the same objective: peace.
Let's enjoy football, let's enjoy one of the most important sporting events on international level. Let's hope the only stars that shine over the skies are the players. That the only roar we hear is the celebration of a goal. That the tears are of joy or sadness of seeing your national team eliminated, but never because of fear. Let's enjoy, dream and stay united. There's nothing to be afraid of.
The 15th edition of the European Championship will start in Paris next Friday, June 10. For the first time in the history of this competition, 24 national teams will take part in the final phase, instead of the 16 that used to participate in former editions.
This means that the competition grows with the appearance of teams, which can really complicate things for the eternal favourites. Big squads like Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, Wales by Gareth Bale, Turkey by Arda Turan, Poland by Robert Lewandowski or Croatia by Luka Modric, will attempt to surprise the European giants against whom they will fight without any pressure. England arrives to this rendezvous in the middle of a generational change which includes the likes of Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford, but even so, they still can provide a threat to other competitors.
English media has praised Roy Hodgson and the England squad of late, which includes Premier League champion Jamie Vardy, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. Will England be a candidate to lift the trophy on July 10? We’ll have to see. The Three Lions will attempt to redeem themselves from a poor World Cup in Brazil, where they failed to advance from their group.
On the other hand, the German team, current world champion, seems to be ready to defy the Spaniards by approaching the exploit they achieved between 2008 and 2012. Joachim Low's team lands in France with a squad easily capable of winning a tournament of such characteristics. If they do so, Germany will enter the Olympus of the competition with four wins, surpassing the Spanish team's three trophies.
In France, all eyes will be on the local team that has a fearsome squad, especially in the midfield. Even with the loss of important players such as Karim Benzema or Kevin Gameiro, the French are one team to be in fear of. Didier Deschamps has a solid team full of magic that will be led by Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, two young players that have found their place in the elite of world football.
Like it's usual in these big meetings, England starts as an eternal candidate to the European throne, which they have never been able to claim. On the other hand, Belgium wants to take advantage of their golden generation which includes the likes of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, who will grace the pitch with their fluid football.
Another one of the national teams that should never be underestimated in a tournament like the European Championship is the Italians. The team led by Antonio Conte - who will leave for England when the tournament ends - has a squad with less quality than in previous years, but equally competitive.
Without a doubt, the fight for the European throne is more exciting than ever, with numerous teams showing up as ‘favourites’ and sides that could perhaps cause an upset. With this new format, this European Championship is going to be a spectacle. In VAVEL, we have put together a plan with the 2016 European Championship called “EuroVAVEL” – an ambitious project we have been on since the closure of club football.
Maximum 'Euro 2016' coverage from VAVEL.com
We have formed a team of more than 40 people to try and offer our readers a guide with lots of details, like the maximum coverage of each and every single one of the 24 teams. In our website - already dressed up for the occasion - you will be able to find all the information you need, as well as interviews, previews, match reports and news of every match that will take place between June 10 and July 10.
This guide contains a total of over 50 pieces so our readers don't miss any detail. It's an interactive article, therefore to access the different coverages on every national team you only have to click the hypertext. For the analysis of the teams and the special reports, you just click on the respective picture to access the article. Let's begin!
VAVEL Guide of Euro 2016
Calendar - Group Stage
Calendar - Knockout Stages
Republic of Ireland
The following “vintage” articles are the crown jewels on this guide. VAVEL writers voted on the best player to grace European Championships, and the best goal in the history of the tournament.
Click the image to read more
Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona and Spain) was voted best player with 48.6% of the votes following his European triumphs between 2008 and 2012. Other candidates included Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and Gerd Muller.
Van Basten won the best goal for his sensational volley, which gained 41.7% of the votes ahead of Zlatan Inbrahimovic and Antonin Panenka.
Euro 2012, what happened?
To go with the above, VAVEL UK has given our viewers an insight with the following in-depth articles that we hope you enjoy, and share with your friends, family and colleagues.
Ball and Mascot for Euro 2016
Official song of Euro 2016
Image of VAVEL Euro 2016 Guide: For high resolution, click the image.