UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off tonight and whether you like football or not, you're not going to be able to avoid it. So while all your friends are watching the matches, cheering on the teams they picked out in their sweepstake (I got Northern Irleand, Ukraine and Spain FYI), you can impress them with these fun facts about the competition, teams and players of Euro 2016!
First of all, if you don't know how the competition works, let me give you a little run down so you don't get completely lost. 53 teams have been competing since September 2014 for a place in the tournament. 24 teams qualified for the tournament and will now play each other in the 'Group Stage'. The 24 teams are split into 6 groups of 4 teams who will all play each other in the matches that are starting now. The winners and runners up from each group, plus the three best third place teams will advance to the 'Round of 16' which is a knockout stage, so the loser of each game in this round will be out.
The winning 8 teams will go on to the quarter finals where there will be 4 matches. The 4 winning teams will move onto the semi finals, and the two winners of the stage will be the Euro 2016 finalists and compete for the trophy.
PHEW! So now you understand how the competition is going to work, let's get on to some fun Euro 2016 facts to impress you friends/boyfriend/cat with while you are watching! (Note: there are also some pictures of footballers that are quite nice to look at...)
|Olivier Giroud plays for Euro 2016 host nation, France, as well as Arsenal. And he looks quite nice.|
1. This is the first year that 24 teams are competing
Since 1996 there have been 16 teams competing in the Euros, so this year we are getting a whole 8 extra teams. That's a whole two extra groups and a whole load more games for us to
2. 5 teams have never qualified for Euro 2016 before
Adding the extra teams has given some teams who have never qualified before the chance to play in the competition! Albania, Iceland, Slovakia, Northern Ireland and Wales have managed to get through the qualifying stages for the very first time, so good luck!
|Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Portugal. He's quite good at football and also very nice to look at.|
3. Cristiano Ronaldo could set a record
If When Cristiano Ronaldo scores during the Euro 2016 competition, he will be the first player to score in four European championships
|Jack Wilshere plays for England. He gets injured quite a lot apparently but it's okay because he's pretty.|
4. England are the only country to have won a World Cup but not a European Championship
We are also the only team to qualify this year with a 100% record. Without wanting to jinx things, could this be our year?
5. David Guetta is in charge (musically)
He's not actually in charge of the tournament, but he has produced the official tournament song (it features Zara Larsson and is called 'This One's For You'), as well as some tracks for title sequences to be used across the world and his music will be played in all the stadiums. So if you don't like David Guetta, maybe hit the mute button.
|Cristiano Ronaldo. Again.|
6. Cristiano Ronaldo could set another record
Okay, maybe making this two points could have just been an excuse to post another Ronaldo photo ;) But if Cristiano scores more than 9 goals in this competition he will have scored the most goals in a European Championship, beating current record hoder Michel Platini from France.
Bonus fact - Michel Platini used to be the President of UEFA until December last year where he got caught up in that FIFA ethics scandal and has been banned for 4 years. I thought I'd give you that one for free!
7. People other than Cristiano Ronaldo could also set a record
Spain and Germany have won the Euros 3 times each. If one of them wins this year, it will give them their 4th victory, which nobody has ever done before!
|Emre Can plays for Germany. You get where I'm going with this... he's hot too.|
8. I most definitely did not just write this post as an excuse to post photos of quite handsome footballers
Or maybe I did. Either way, you've learned some fun facts about the competition and your friends/boyfriend/cat will most definitely be impressed!
Have you got any fun Euro 2016 facts, or did you just come here to look at footballers too? Let me know in the comments!
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