Nicepredict 2 weeks ago

What Happened the Last Three Times the Host Nation Made It to the UEFA Euro Final?

Much has been made of home advantage in major tournament football. Having a buoyant crowd of tens of thousands at your back can be the defining factor of getting over the line, propelling teams into the latter stages of tournaments. We have seen that in recent years at the World Cup, especially in 2018 as Russia - the lowest-ranked nation at the tournament - managed to knock off former champions Spain en route to the quarterfinals. However, at the Euros, things are not quite as straightforward.

The host nation has only won the European Championships three times throughout its 64 years of history. Spain managed to defeat the Soviet Union in Madrid in 1964 to raise the crown for the first time while Italy repeated the feat in Rome four years later with victory against Yugoslavia. The most recent occasion of the hosts emerging victorious came exactly four decades ago when France was propelled to glory by the sublime Michel Platini and tasted major success for the first time with a 2-0 victory against Spain in Paris.

No host nation has managed to reign supreme in the years since, and Germany will be looking to end that barren spell this summer. They are safely through to the quarterfinals following a 2-0 victory against Denmark in Dortmund, and now Bovada online sports betting makes them a +600 third favorite for glory in Berlin on July 14th. However, they will be hoping to avoid the fates of these three, who all reached the final of the tournament before being silenced on home turf. This is what happened the last three times the host nation made it to the final of the Euros. 

England

UEFA Euro 2020 was postponed to the summer of 2021 due to global events, and it was set to be a unique event marked by games played across 11 European cities. However, England's iconic Wembley Stadium was set to host both the semifinals and the final and as such, felt very much like the spiritual home for the tournament. As luck would have it, the Three Lions made it to the final, three years on from reaching the World Cup semifinals under Gareth Southgate. 

Their squad was brimming with young talent in the form of Bukayo Saka as well as established stars such as captain Harry Kane, and they were determined to emerge from the ashes of the heartbreak that had devoured English football in the decades since 1966. They managed to defeat rivals Germany for the first time in knockout football, as well as holding off a brave Denmark side, to make it to the final, where Italy lay in wait. 

The Italians had been the stars of the show at the tournament that far however, they still headed into the contest as the underdogs courtesy of home advantage being on England's side. But ultimately, it was the Azzurri that had the last laugh. Leonardo Bonucci cancelled out Luke Shaw's early opener in the second half, allowing his goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to become the hero, saving twice in the dreaded penalty shootout to take the trophy to Rome and leave the hosts wiping their tears once more. 

France

France's Euro 2016 campaign was a blend of artistry and efficiency under Didier Deschamps. Les Bleus headed into the tournament with a host of young talent emerging through the ranks, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann rising to the fore. Add to that the blistering form of West Ham United playmaker Dmitry Payet, and it's clear that the hosts were in with a shot at glory. 

Their route to the final in Paris was marked by memorable victories, including a pulsating semi-final win against Germany in which the aforementioned Grizou netted twice, and the French were seemingly destined for the crown. The stage was set for a grand finale against a Portugal side that had won just one game en route to the showpiece, and would surely be overpowered by a rampant host nation. Those predictions looked even more accurate when Portuguese skipper and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo suffered a first-half injury. 

Despite dominating proceedings and hitting the woodwork, the hosts simply could not find the breakthrough. The game then went into extra time following a goalless 90 minutes and it was there that unheralded striker Eder rifled home from long range to break French hearts handing the underdogs their first-ever major trophy. 

Portugal

Euro 2004 in Portugal is remembered for the fairy-tale run of the Greeks, but for the hosts, it was a tale of what could have been. Led by the golden generation of Luis Figo, Deco, and a teenage Ronaldo, Portugal reached the final with expectations of securing their first major international trophy, especially when they saw that their opponent was 200/1 pretournament outsiders Greece. 

However, just as they would do 12 years later, it was the host's dreams that were left in tatters. The final, held in Lisbon, was a tense affair with Greece employing their now-familiar defensive strategy. The Portuguese had plenty of attacking prowess, but they were unable to breach their opponent's herculean backline. Striker Angelos Charisteas scored the only game with a bullet header in the first half, and Portugal were unable to find an elusive equaliser, instead having to watch on in disbelief as Greece ruled over Europe against all odds. 

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