The English, French, German, Italian and Spanish
leagues are considered the 5 major leagues in Europe.
Major Leagues in Europe - European Championships, Champions
League, UEFA Europa League.
The home of football in Europe.
These football leagues have the highest viewers and are the biggest
spenders when it comes to securing the services of some of the world's best footballers
Follow these leagues and others as the teams battle to be the best in
Held once every four years, the European Championships are almost
as important as the World Cup; to the Europeans.
Brainchild of Henri Delaunay, secretary of the French Football Federation, France hosted
the first ever European Nations' Cup Finals; where USSR beat Yugoslavia 2:1aet in Paris.
USSR again made the final but this time they were beaten by Spain, in Madrid.
The knockout stage was replaced by a series of qualifying groups. World Cup Winners,
England, were beaten by Yugoslavia (in the Florence semi-final) who were in turn beaten by
the hosts, in Rome (after a replay).
(Winner West Germany)
The 1972 European Championships tournament was all about Gerd M�ller, Franz Beckenbauer
and Gunther Netzer as West Germany beat England at Wembley, in the quarter-finals; the
hosts Belgium, in the semi-finals; and USSR in the final.
1976: (Winner Czechoslovakia)
Czechoslovakia beat USSR in the quarter-finals (4:2 agg), Holland in the Zagreb semi-final
(3:1) and holders West Germany (on penalties) in the Belgrade final.
(Winner West Germany)
In 1980, the European Championship Finals tournament increased from four to eight teams;
with Italy qualifying as hosts. The teams were divided into two groups of four; with the
group winners, Belgium and West Germany, meeting in Rome for the final. Hrubesch scored
both goals in Germany's 2:1 victory.
Group winners and runners-up now progressed to the semi-final. Home advantage, along with
Michel Platini's goals from midfield, saw France crowned champions of Europe; after
beating Portugal in the semi-final (3:2aet) and Spain in the final (2:0).
Holland finished runners-up to USSR in Group 2 but beat the Soviets in the Munich final
(2:0); after coming back from a goal down, against Germany, to beat the hosts (2:1) in the
Denmark qualified for the finals through the back-door, as runners-up to Yugoslavia; who
had United Nations sanctions imposed on them. Denmark then finished runners-up to Sweden
in Group 1 (ahead of England and France) then went on to beat Holland on penalties in the
semi-final and Germany in the final (2:0).
(Winner West Germany)
Thirty years after their World Cup win on home soil, England thought they had a real
chance to win the European crown. The tournament had grown to 16 teams in four groups of
four, with a quarter-final stage after the group phase.
England topped Group A, ahead of Holland, Scotland and Switzerland);
beat Spain on penalties and then went out to West Germany in the semi-final (on
penalties). Germany then beat Czech Republic (2:1) in the final at Wembley; with Oliver
Bierhoff scoring the 95th minute Golden Goal.
2000: (Winner France)
The tournament was co-hosted for the first time, by Belgium and Holland, but not one of
the hosts made it to the final; Belgium didn't get out of their group and Holland lost to
Italy in the Amsterdam semi-final (on penalties).
World Champions France also won the European title; with a 2:1 win over
Italy, in Rotterdam. Substitute David Trezeguet scored the Golden Goal, after Sylvain
Wiltord (also a substitute) equalised in the 90th minute; to take France into extra-time.
Greece surprised everybody in Portugal by beating the hosts (1:0) in the Lisbon final; a
feat they'd already achieved in the Group Stage, with a 2:1 win in Porto.
Spain were the best team throughout a very attacking tournament, with David Villa ending
up as the top scorer; even though he was injured for the final against Germany.
Spain were once again in a class of their own, beating Italy (4:0) in
the 2012 Kiev final.
The tournament expands from 16 to 24 teams.
The Euro 2020 finals will be staged in 13 cities around Europe;
marketed as a 'EURO for Europe'.
UEFA Champions League
Organised by UEFA, the group stage of the Champions League is the
money-spinner that all premier clubs in the European leagues aspire to.
Nowadays, some teams don't even need to be a champion to qualify but
they'll need to finish near the top of their domestic league to enter the qualifying
Clubs like Sturm Graz (Austria) and FC Basle (Switzerland) might never
dream of winning the trophy, or even make the final, but six games in the group stage can
make a big difference to their profit and loss account at the end of the season.
2015: FC Barcelona beat Juventus (3:1) in
The 1999 Final between Real Mallorca and Lazio, at Villa Park, was the
last UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final to be staged.
UEFA Europa League
The UEFA Cup replaced the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1971/72
In 2009-2010, the competition became known as the UEFA Europa League.
2015: Sevilla beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (3:2) in
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