A staple tournament for football fans worldwide since 1960, this year is the first time in history that the tournament’s 51 matches will be held in host cities across Europe—a dozen in total.
The delayed Euro 2020 which finally begins on Friday, is a year behind schedule, with Covid still set to cast a shadow over the tournament.
The continent-wide event, first envisaged by then-UEFA president Michel Platini when he announced the tournament would be held across Europe, will be played in front of limited crowds and with strict health restrictions in place.
The action kicks off at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where Italy take on Turkey in front of 16,000 fans.
The majority of the 11 venues, all in different countries, will only be partially-filled for matches, although Denmark on Thursday announced it would lift mask rules and allow 25,000 fans, instead of 16,000, to attend games in Copenhagen.
Munich aims to host a minimum of 14,500 fans — around 22 percent of the Allianz Arena’s capacity, the lowest of the stadiums being used.
Dublin and Bilbao were dropped from the list of hosts after being unable to give guarantees they could meet UEFA’s requirement of accommodating limited numbers of spectators, but Seville stepped in for Bilbao while Dublin’s games went to London and Saint-Petersburg.
On the pitch, France will be firm favourites despite being one of the few traditional giants not to have any games at home. The world champions’ first match is in Munich against Germany on Tuesday.
(With inputs from agencies)