Euro 2020 was all set to kickstart a bumper summer of sport until the coronavirus intervened. UEFA has announced that the tournament will be now be played during the summer of 2021, so here's everything you need to know about watching the tournament once it finally comes around.
What is Euro 2020?
Euro 2020, otherwise known as the UEFA European Football Championship, is the 16th instalment of the men's football tournament that has since 1960 taken place every four years.
All 55 UEFA member states get a chance to qualify for in the event, but only 24 teams make it through to the final tournament. Euro 2020 was due to be played across June and July 2020, but it now won't be held until the same time in 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, qualification is still yet to be completed, with 16 teams vying for the last four places in the play-offs. We'd assume that these matches will be played in the months leading up to the rescheduled tournament, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Portugal are the defending champions from Euro 2016, but neither they or any of the countries in which matches are held will gain automatic entry to the tournament.
Previous winners have included Spain (1964, 2008, 2012), Greece (2004), France (1984, 2000), Denmark (1992), Netherlands (1988), Germany (1972, 1980, 1996), the then Czechoslovakia (1976), Italy (1968) and the Soviet Union (1960), but never England. We came third back in 1968, and joint-third in 1996, so it's time for England to bring it home.
When is Euro 2020?
The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out nearly all elite football for the next few months. UEFA has announced the postponement of the tournament until summer 2021, when we assume it will take place across June and July like normal.
The main tournament begins on 12 June 2020, with the final on 12 July 2020, though the qualifiers have taking place since March 2019 and conclude this month. Play-offs to determine the final few spots will take place in March 2020.
Where is Euro 2020 hosted?
Next year there will no single destination for Euro 2021, with matches spread over 12 European cities in 12 countries. Then-UEFA President Michael Platini notes that this is to mark the 60th birthday of the tournament.
It is at London’s Wembley Stadium that the most important matches will be held, however, with the UK hosting both the semi-finals and final. Previously home to Euro 1996, this will be the second time Wembley has had the pleasure.
Other Euro 2020 hosts include:
- Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan
- Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
- Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
- Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg, Russia
- Parekn Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Pauskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary
- Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
- Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania
- Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland
- San Mames, Bilbao, Spain
Which football teams will compete in Euro 2020?
All 55 European teams are split into 10 groups, as outlined below. Following a series of matches against others in their group only the top two teams in each will be put through to the final tournament.
Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo
Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus
Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar
Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan
Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta
Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia
Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra
Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino
Group J: Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein
However, this is only half the story, and some of you might have already spotted that 10 multiplied by two is actually 20, not 24. So where do the extra four come from?
To understand this we need to look back to the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League. There were 16 group winners in this tournament, all of whom are guaranteed a place in the Euro 2020 play-offs, which take place following the qualifying stage in March 2020.
Chances are those teams will have already secured a place in the Euro 2020 tournament, of course, and in which case their play-off position is passed down to the next best team in their tier. One successful team in each group then goes through to the Euro 2020 tournament.
UEFA Nations League 2018-2019 group winners
League A: Portugal, England, Switzerland, Netherlands
League B: Ukraine, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden
League C: Finland, Norway, Scotland, Serbia
League D: Georgia, Belarus, Macedonia, Kosovo
How to watch UEFA Euro 2021 in the UK
The BBC and ITV have announced that they will be sharing the broadcasting rights for the next. They will take turns in having the top picks for each round of fixtures, with both channels showing the final at Wembley Stadium.
Matches from the European Championships are typically shown on BBC One, but they may be on BBC Two or even BBC 4 when matches are being played concurrently.
ITV is available on your TV, online on the ITV Hub website, or via the ITV Hub mobile apps for iOS and Android. You’ll also be able to watch ITV live using any Freeview app. Matches from the European Championships tend to be on the main channel, but they may also be on ITV4 from time to time.
To watch either channel live you will need a TV Licence. This applies even if you use BBC iPlayer to catch up, but you can still watch past broadcasts on the ITV Hub.
How to watch UEFA Euro 2021 from abroad
In theory, the BBC limits iPlayer to people in the UK as it is funded by the UK TV licence.
For both channels, using a VPN is probably your best bet.
A VPN (or virtual private network) is software that lets you mask your IP address in order to appear as if you are somewhere you are not. So, you could be in Spain and pretend to be browsing from the UK, then access BBC or ITV services as normal.
We’ve reviewed a bunch of VPNs but our current top pick is NordVPN. Because streaming services are wise to the use of VPNs you might need to try a few different servers before you find one that works.