Euro 2024: Host Nations' Performances in European Championships

As excitement builds for Euro 2024, where Germany will host the tournament, it's worth reflecting on the history of host nations in the European Championship. Does playing at home provide a significant advantage, or is it just a myth? Let’s delve into the performances of host countries in past Euros, from triumphant victories to heartbreaking disappointments.

Successful Host Nations

Spain 1964

Spain hosted the second edition of the European Championship in 1964. Making full use of home advantage, La Roja emerged victorious by defeating the Soviet Union 2-1 in a thrilling final, thanks to a decisive goal by Marcelino. This victory marked the beginning of Spain’s successful journey on the international stage.

Italy 1968

Italy followed Spain’s lead by winning the tournament on home soil in 1968. After a dramatic semi-final against the Soviet Union, decided by a coin toss after a draw, Italy triumphed over Yugoslavia 2-0 in the final. This win marked Italy’s first European title, potentially made possible by their home advantage.

France 1984

In 1984, France joined Spain and Italy as host nations that lifted the trophy on their own turf. Led by Michel Platini, who scored a record nine goals in the tournament, Les Bleus defeated Spain 2-0 in the final. The French team, managed by Michel Hidalgo, delivered a dominant performance throughout the tournament, much to the delight of the home crowd, earning their first major international title.

Disappointing Host Nations

Portugal 2004

Portugal came agonizingly close to winning Euro 2004 but suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the final against Greece. Despite the support of their home fans and a team led by Cristiano Ronaldo and Luiz Felipe Scolari, Portugal couldn't overcome the Greek fairytale. The 1-0 loss in the final was a major disappointment for the Portuguese supporters.

France 2016

Hoping to replicate their 1984 success, France hosted Euro 2016. Although they reached the final, they were unable to overcome Portugal, who stunned them with a 1-0 victory in extra time. Losing on home soil was bittersweet for the French team and their fans, who were so close to another triumph.

Host Nations with Moderate Performances

Belgium and the Netherlands 2000

In 2000, Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosted the tournament, a first in Euro history. The Netherlands reached the semi-finals, only to lose to Italy in a dramatic penalty shootout. Belgium, on the other hand, failed to advance beyond the group stage. Despite a strong start with a win over Sweden, the Red Devils couldn’t maintain their momentum and were eliminated after losses to Italy and Turkey.

Austria and Switzerland 2008

Euro 2008 saw Austria and Switzerland as co-hosts, but neither team progressed past the group stage. Switzerland lost their first two matches before claiming a consolation win against Portugal. Austria also failed to make a significant impact, losing their final group game to Germany and exiting the tournament early.

Poland and Ukraine 2012

In 2012, Poland and Ukraine co-hosted the Euros, but both nations were knocked out in the group stage. Poland started strong with a draw against Greece and harbored hopes of advancing after another draw with Russia. However, a loss to the Czech Republic ended their campaign. Ukraine began promisingly with a win over Sweden but subsequent defeats to France and England brought their adventure to an early close.

Other Performances by Host Nations

France 1960

As the inaugural hosts of the European Championship, then known as the European Nations Cup, France finished in fourth place in 1960. They lost a high-scoring semi-final 5-4 to Yugoslavia and then the third-place play-off 2-0 to Czechoslovakia.

Belgium 1972

Belgium hosted the Euros in 1972 after defeating Italy in the quarter-finals. They lost 2-1 to West Germany in the semi-finals, the eventual champions. However, Belgium managed to secure third place by defeating Hungary 2-1 in the play-off match.

Yugoslavia 1976

Yugoslavia finished fourth when they hosted the Euros in 1976. They lost a thrilling semi-final 4-2 to West Germany in extra time and then 3-2 to the Netherlands in the third-place play-off.

Italy 1980

In 1980, Italy hosted the tournament but could only secure fourth place. They lost the semi-final against Czechoslovakia in a penalty shootout (9-8) after a 1-1 draw in regular time.

West Germany 1988

West Germany hosted Euro 1988 and reached the semi-finals. They lost 2-1 to the Netherlands, who went on to win the tournament. In the group stage, West Germany had drawn with Italy and secured victories over Denmark and Spain.

Sweden 1992

Sweden, debuting in the Euros in 1992, reached the semi-finals as the host nation. They were narrowly defeated 3-2 by Germany, the eventual runners-up. Sweden topped their group with wins over Denmark and England but their dream ended in the semi-final against Germany.

England 1996

England hosted Euro 1996 and made it to the semi-finals. After thrilling matches, including a 4-1 win over the Netherlands and a penalty shootout victory over Spain, England were ultimately defeated by Germany on penalties in the semi-final.

Italy 2021 (part of 11 host nations)

The special edition of Euro 2021, spread across 11 countries to celebrate the tournament's 60th anniversary, saw Italy play a pivotal role. While there was no single nation enjoying a clear home advantage, Italy emerged as the champions by defeating England in the final, held at London's Wembley Stadium.

Euro 2024 in Germany

Returning to Germany

Euro 2024 returns to Germany, the first time since 1988. Back then, West Germany reached the semi-finals, where they lost to the eventual winners, the Netherlands. Now, as a unified Germany, expectations are high. With their rich football heritage and passionate home supporters, Germany hopes to lift the trophy and add another glorious chapter to their storied football history.

Hosting the Euros often brings a blend of hope and pressure for the host nations. Some countries have thrived on home soil, like Spain, Italy, and France, while others have faced heartbreaks, such as Portugal and France in more recent tournaments. As Euro 2024 approaches, it will be fascinating to see if Germany can shine as the host or stumble like some of their predecessors. Football fans around the world are in for a treat with the spectacle Germany is set to offer.

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Date published: 17-06-2024 | Date updated: 17-06-2024 | Author: Patrick de Graaf

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Discover how host nations have fared in past European Championships, from Spain’s glory to Portugal’s heartbreaks. What awaits Germany in Euro 2024?

About the author of 'Euro 2024: Host Nations' Performances in European Championships'

Patrick (author and webmaster)

Author of this content is Patrick. I have been playing soccer for more than 25 years and follow the daily news closely. My hobbies include playing football, running and maintaining various websites, in addition to my job as a financial professional.

I do not work for any related company or institution, so the information is reliable and independent. The information has been collected accurately from reliable sources and is regularly updated.