The European Championships are one of the biggest sporting tournaments in the world but it has a few weird facts and stats along the way. It also throws some of the smallest footballing nations against the biggest… But maybe, just maybe the Faroe Islands could ‘do a Leicester’? Stranger things have definitely happened in the world of football.
1. Size Matters
The smallest UEFA member is Gibraltar with a population of just 30,000. But they’ve never been beaten by Brazil.
2. Premier Price
The cheapest tickets at the Euros will be just €25 (£19) and will be in place at 43 of the 51 games which make the games truly inclusive. You can’t even buy a ticket for that at Premier league grounds.
Germany and Spain are both going for a record 4th European title.
4. Mini World Cup
The European Champions will qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup (known as the ‘mini world cup) which will also feature;
Germany – World Champions
Australia – Asian Champions
Final Winner – Copa America Champions
Ivory Coast – Africa Cup of Nations Champions
Russia – Hosts
5. La Doble
Spain are the only country to have retained the trophy.
The first finals in 1960 featured just 4 teams. The last increase was in 1996 when the tournament grew to 16 teams. Until 2016 which features 24 times.
7. Old Enemies
The highest attendance for a UEFA fixture was Scotland vs England in 1968 which was attended by 130,711 fans.
8. Lucky Tossers
The result of the semi-final between Italy and USSR of the 1968 Championship was decided by the toss of the coin. Italy guessed it right to make it through to the final.
9. Don’t Come Home Too Soon
Scotland have never made it through the group stages of either the Euros or World Cup.
10. Great Danes
Denmark failed to qualify for the 1992 tournament, however after war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Denmark were called in to replace them. The sneaky Johnny Come-latelys went on to win the whole competition!
11. Hat Trick
Banned former UEFA president Michel Platini is the only player to have scored two hat tricks at one tournament.
12. Champions League
Previous European Champions are;
Germany – 3
Spain – 3
France – 2
Holland – 1
Czechoslovakia – 1
USSR – 1
Italy – 1
Denmark – 1
Greece – 1
13. Sans Frontiers
The 2020 tournament will take place across 13 different cities in 12 countries to celebrate the tournaments 60th anniversary.
More Weird Football Facts
1. “F*ck Me!”
After the whistle to start the game, soccer player Lee Todd said “F*ck me, that was loud!” and received the fastest red card in history; 2 seconds.
2. While my Qatar gently weeps
Questions still remain over Qatar’s hosting the 2022 World Cup. One alarming worry is that there have been more deaths during the building of Qatar’s new stadiums than in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
3. Ol’ Bighead
No, not Cloughie, the other one. Christiano ‘Just call me God’ Ronaldo has opened a museum (Museu CR7) dedicated entirely to himself in his native Funchal on the island of Madeira.
4. Sore Losers
Korean soccer player, Ahn Jung-hwan, was sacked by Italian club Perugia after he scored in the game that knocked Italy out of the 2002 World Cup.
5. Mug’s Game
8 of the 12 host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Brazil are among the 50 most violent cities in the world.
6. Bit of a Building Site
The city of Lusail, host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final game, doesn’t actually exist. This entire city is being built purely for the World Cup.
7. Old Father Arse
The first ever televised match was a friendly between Arsenal’s first and second team in 1937. A youthful looking Arsene Venger was in the crowd but he didn’t see anything.
8. Holy Goalpoasts!
The Vatican has its own soccer team. Being an independent country that makes them a national side. The Vatican City is one of just a handful of countries that aren’t UEFA or FIFA members.
9. It’s the Real Thing
Real Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo’s sponsorship deal with Coca-cola was dumped after he was caught sipping a Pepsi during a news conference.
10. The Biggest Party
Don’t have a meeting, if you want to get the world’s attention have a football match. FIFA has more member countries than the U.N.
11. Big Spenders
Madrid might have flashed financial muscle when bringing in Ronaldo and Gareth Bale but it was once the mighty Falkirk who were the record holders when they paid a massive £5,000 for West Ham forward Sydney Puddefoot.
12. Sparky’s Double
Mark Hughes once played two games in a single day. In the morning he appeared for Wales against Czechoslovakia in Prague, then drove across the border, to play for Bayern Munich in the afternoon.
13. Back of the Net!
In October 2002 Madagascan side Stade Olympique L’Emryne scored 149 own goals during a game against AS Adema in protest to a controversial decision in the previous game.
14. That’s Just Scilly
There are only two football teams in the Isles of Scilly – The Gunners and the Wanderers. They play each other every week in the league, the only break being when they meet in the Cup.
15. Crime Plays
Police in Mexico City found that crime rates dropped during games when Mexican Javier Hernandez played for Man Utd.
16. Boo Boys
Famous Arsenal fans have included Jay-Z, Piers Morgan and Osama Bin Laden.
17. No ****ing Swearing!
St Mirren once sacked a bloke called Alex Ferguson for swearing at a lady. Whatever happened to him?