Google, via its doodle on Friday, marked the start of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. It kicks off with a match between Turkey and Italy in the largest sports facility in Rome: Stadio Olimpico.
The tournament, to be held in 11 cities in 11 UEFA countries, was originally scheduled from June 12 to July 12, 2020. It was, however, postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rescheduled for June 12 to July 12, 2021. But the tournament continues to retain the same name “UEFA Euro 2020”.
Italy vs. Turkey will be the curtain-raiser for UEFA Euro 2020, with Roma’s Stadio Olimpico playing host to the Azzurri and Crescent-Stars in a game that would have been played almost 12 months ago. It also signals the first time that many European fans will be able to return to stadia — albeit in a limited capacity.
For the first time in history, UEFA Euro, a staple tournament for football fans worldwide since 1960, is spread across 11 different venues in Europe. All the teams, including defending UEFA Euro champions Portugal and FIFA World Cup winners France, are divided into six groups with four teams each. The top two teams of each group and four best third-placed teams will qualify for the last-16 stage of the competition, which will start from June 26.
Of the eleven host countries, seven — Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, and Spain — have qualified for the tournament. Two others — Hungary and Scotland — made it via the play-offs, while Romania and Azerbaijan missed out. Two teams are making their debut — Finland and North Macedonia.
The pandemic’s shadow definitely looms large over the second-largest international football event in the world, with the organisers having laid down multiple rules to this effect.
The live streaming of all the UEFA Euro 2020 matches will be available on SonyLIV. The entire tournament will be telecast on SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 3 in India.