1) For the First Time There will be 24 Teams Participating
Since Euro 1996, there has been a total of 16 teams participating in Europe’s biggest football tournament. Finally 5 Euro’s later, we will finally witness 24 teams! That’s an increase of 8 teams. This also means that the Round of 16 will make its introduction in Euro 2016, For the first time 16 teams will advance to the second round, the 2 top teams of each group and the 4 best third place teams. The tournament is going to be pretty big with many new European teams the world will see in action.
2) Gibraltar Entered Qualifications for the Very First Time
All 53 UEFA members (excluding France) entered the qualification stage. Gibraltar is the only team that has never entered the qualification stage before. Gibraltar applied for full UEFA membership and was finally accepted by the UEFA Congress in May 2013. Gibraltar is the smallest UEFA member in terms of population, which is around 30,000. The nation however is not a full FIFA member so they can’t qualify for a FIFA World Cup (yet).
3) France Will Host the Tournament for a Record 3rd Time
It will be the 3rd time that France will host the European Championship, after the very first edition of the Euro in 1960 and Euro 1984. France is the first country to host the tournament 3 times. In 1984 France won the tournament on home soil by defeating Spain with 2-0. This was the second and last time so far a country won the tournament on home soil. The first time was Italy in Euro 1968.
4) 10 Host Cities and 10 Stadiums will be used for the Matches
On May 28, 2010, 12 stadiums and host cities were presented, but this had to be initially reduced to 9 one year later by the end of May 2011. In June 2011, the number of host cities and stadiums got increased to 11 instead due to the new format of 24 teams playing the tournament. However 6 months later in December 2011 the city Nance withdrew since the stadium’s renovation fell through. The final list of the 10 venues was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee on January 25, 2013. The venues and stadiums are:
- Saint-Denis – Stade de France
- Marseille – Stade Vélodrome
- Lyon – Stade des Lumières
- Lille – Stade Pierre-Mauroy
- Paris – Parc des Princes
- Bordeaux – Stade Bordeaux-Atlantique
- Saint-Étienne – Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
- Nice – Allianz Riviera
- Lens – Stade Félix-Bollaert
- Toulouse – Stadium Municipal
Of the 10 stadiums, Stade De France, Stade Vélodrome, Parc des Princes, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Stade Félix-Bollaert and Stadium Municipal were used in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Parc des Princes, Stade Vélodrome and stadium Municipal were used in the third FIFA World Cup back in 1938. Parc des Princes, Stade Vélodrome, Stade Félix-Bollaert and Stade Geoffroy-Guichard were used in Euro 1984. Parc des Princes and Stade Vélodrome were also used in the very first Euro in 1960.
5) The youngest player at the EURO 2016 tournament is from England
At 18 years old, English professional player, Marcus Rashford is the youngest player in the entire tournament. Marcus was born on the 31st of October, 1997. He plays as a forward for Manchester United and has been a player there since he was 7. He scored on both his first-team debut and first Premier League game in February 2016.
SOURCE: World Football Guide