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What is the most popular sport in Europe? One can say for sure that it is football. Millions of Europeans give most of their free time to watching matches on TV or in the stadiums. Almost every football match attracts the attention of thousands of people.

So, it is no wonder that UEFA tournaments, taking place once in four years, occupy the attention of such a huge number of people: football players, fans and even those, who do not consider themselves to be devotees of this game. So, 99,8% of Icelandic citizens watching TV on June, 27, have preferred the football match, which has turned out to be triumphal for their national team. This number is amazing, isn`t is? No doubt, the support of their compatriots has greatly contributed to the victory of the team.
According to the statistics, about 50, 000 people attend every match of Euro 2016. Sure, this number does not include millions of people watching football “combats” on TV. It is obvious that fans cheer for the teams coming from their native countries in the first place. However, true football devotees are interested in every match. The team of your country may leave the tournament, but there will be other teams worth your attention left.

So, the major European football tournament is in full spate. The phase of quarterfinals has already started. And in about a week we will learn which country will receive the right to take the cup home. Despite the fact that the most exciting event of the tournament is its final, there are a lot of other details that will, no doubt, attract your attention.

# 1 It is the first time when 24 teams are taking part in Euro.

Previously their number reached only 16. Consequently, the Round of 16 was organized. The number of matches, which are to take place in the course of the championship, equals 51, in 2012 this figure was 31. It means that this year there are more teams to cheer for and more exciting moments to watch and discuss. This change in the format of the tournament has also contributed to the popularity of football around Europe. As recently every national team has got a better chance to take part in the tournament and, consequently, to get through to its final, governments have started to allocate more money for the development and support of football teams. It is noteworthy that lately, the government of Iceland has taken significant steps to provide local football teams with proper equipment, coaches, stadiums and so on. And we have already noticed the results of these efforts.

# 2 In 2016 matches took place in ten cities.

One should mention that the majority of these cities have already hosted the matches of the FIFA World Cup, as well as Euro championships before. As you can see, the French know the ropes in organizing all sorts of tremendous sports events.

# 3 One more fact about the stadiums selected: all of them are newly built or renovated.

So, new stadiums appeared in Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Lyon. All the stadiums, where the matches of the championship are taking place, are eco-friendly. These stadiums are equipped with solar panels, which provides them with the energy needed. Besides, most of them have the systems, which collect rainwater in order to water the fields. It is a good example of how a sports event or any other popular event can be used to attract attention to the issues of environmental problems and renewable sources.

# 4 Since in 2013 Gibraltar has been accepted as a full UEFA member, now it has been participating in Euro for the first time.

In the course of the current tournament, this team has entered the qualification stage. If to speak about the population of the territory, it is the smallest member of the union. One should also mention that the majority of the team players are not professionals. However, if to take into account the recent victory of the Icelandic national team, one should admit that the size of the country does not influence the achievements of the team significantly.

# 5 Originally there were 5 counties, which placed a bid for hosting the tournament in 2016.

These were France, Turkey, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. But later the representatives of the two last-mentioned countries came to a decision to withdraw their bid. This decision was caused by lack of political support. As a result of two rounds of voting, France got the right to be the host of the championship.

# 6 France is hosting the championship for the third time.

And it is kind of a record. Previously, Euro took place within the territory of this country in 1960 and 1984. It is noteworthy that in 1984 France won the lead. As they say, the walls at home are your friends, your comfort, and your helping hands. Time will tell whether these “walls” will help the team win this time.

# 7 Have you noticed a huge funny doll that looks like a little boy?

It is Super Victor, the official mascot of Euro 2016. This name was chosen by vote. According to the “legend”, this boy possesses super powers. He can fly due to his super boots, cape, and gloves, which he has found. His father is good at playing football and the little boy is also keen on this game. He also encourages people to have fun while playing and to play fairly.

# 8 The winner of the tournament will get both the cup and the “ticket” to the next world championship.

The team winning the championship will both take the cup home in order to keep it for four years and will get the right to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

No doubt, the most important event of every championship is its final. Every player and their fans are looking forward to learning which teams will get through to it, as well as which country will win. Sure, football experts and devotees do their best to predict the results of the match, which is scheduled for July, 10. But, every match may change the situation significantly. Any of the teams, which are considered to be the leaders of the championship, may leave it and go home. On the other hand, the teams, which are not considered to have chances to win, can surprise everybody. At the moment, it is only known that the final match will take place in Paris, at the Stade de France. It will cost you from 85 to 895 euros to watch it in the stadium. So, stay patient and enjoy every day of this exciting tournament, there are a lot of surprises and pleasant moments left. 

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