Euro 2012: Know all about the tournament

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Euro 2012: Know all about the tournament
The 14th UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as EURO 2012 will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between June 8 and July 1, 2012. It is the first time that either nation has hosted the biggest tournament in the continent.

The competition features 16 teams (from 2016 onwards there will be 24 teams). Between August 2010 and November 2011, 51 nations participated to join the hosts and the winner will gain automatic entry to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Brazil.

UEFA selected eight cities as host venues, Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan in Poland while Kiev, Lviv Donetsk and Kharkiv have been chosen in Ukraine. six out the eight stadiums are brand new while the other two have undergone major renovations (Poznan and Kharkiv). Three of the stadiums will fulfill the criteria of UEFA's highest category stadiums.

Among the 16 teams ( Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France Germany Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland [co-hosts] , Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine [co-hosts] ), twelve teams participated in the previous tournament in 2008, with England and Denmark returning after competing in Euro 2004. Ireland return after an absence of 24 years to make their second appearance at the European finals. Ukraine, one of the co-hosts, make their debut as an independent nation, having previously won the inaugural
competition in 1960 as part of the Soviet Union.

Defending champions Spain will compete to win an unprecedented third consecutive major tournament, having won both UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

Sixteen teams are divided into four groups, A, B, C and D. A total of 31 matches will be played in 23 days. Group A will begin on 8 June 2012 end on 16 June 2012 which include co-host Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, Greece and Russia. Group B will start on on 9 June 2012, and will be completed on 17 June 2012. Known as the 'The Group of Death', the pool is made up of Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal. Group C will host former World and European champions and will begin on 10 June 2012 till 18 June 2012 which include Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland and Croatia. Finally Group D is scheduled to start on 11 June 2012 until 19 June 2012 which include co-host Ukraine, Sweden, France and England.

The knockout stge begins on 21 June 2012 and will be completed on 24 June 2012. Semi-finals will be held on 27, 28 June 2012 while the finals will take place on July 1, 2012

Each team are allowed to name 23 players in their squad, therefore a total of 368 players will get an opportunity to participate in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.

Creating History Together is the slogan for Euro 2012 while the logo is made up of flowers. The logo represents traditional form of paper cutting practised in rural areas of Poland and Ukraine known as Wycinanki or Vytynanky.

Adidas Tango 12 is the official match ball for the Euro 2012. Unlike the Adidas Jabulani, which was heavily criticised during the 2010 World Cup, Tango 12 is
designed for easy dribbling and better control.

Twins Slavek and Slavko are the official mascots of Euro 2012. Designed by Warner Bros., they represent the host nations Poland and Ukraine footballers in national colours.

The European Champions is named in honour of Henri Delaunay, also known as the Henri Delaunay Trophy. The first General Secretary of UEFA, Henri Delauney came up with the idea of European Championships but died five years prior to the first tournament in 1960. His son, Pierre, was in charge of conducting the tournament.

The trophy was slightly re-designed during Euro 2008. The silver trophy was made larger and now weighs 8 kilograms and is 60 centimetres tall. The name of the winners have been engraved on the back of the trophy.

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