The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (formerly the European Nations Cup) is the 14th such competition organised by UEFA.
The joint hosts this year are Poland and Ukraine, who will stage the Euro 2012 Championship from the 8th June to the 1st July.
It’s the first time that either nation has hosted the tournament.
Sixteen nations will take part, 14 having qualified from a total of 51 others between August 2010 and November 2011, to join the two host nations in the tournament.
The winners of Euro 2012 automatically gains entry to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup which will be staged in Brazil.
I haven’t a clue which of the 16 nations will lift the trophy on the 1st July.
All I can say is that I am looking forward to the tournament immensely. It will certainly be interesting.
There will be some great action, plenty of goals I’m sure, a few sendings-off (there always is in major competitions), some dubious refereeing decisions (penalties awarded, some not), a lot of controversy and without doubt, there will be plenty to talk about in the bars and cafés as the days and weeks roll by.
At the time of writing, a handful of coaches/managers had not finalized their squads, but I have a good idea as to who will be out there on the pitch, giving everything he has for his country, striving to become a national hero.
Let’s hope we see some exciting football, especially from the countries who I and you expect to produce the goods, namely Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and hopefully England and perhaps the Republic of Ireland, who always tend to come up with something special!
By Tony Matthews