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The UEFA Euro 2008 football tournament is more commonly known as the UEFA European football championships. They are held every four years on the even numbered years opposite the world cup. The plans for this tournament started to materialize in 1956. In 1958 the first European Nation’s Cup was played. This was quite a small tournament when compared to today’s UEFA Euro 2008 contest but offered much potential for growth which is exactly what it did.

By 1968 the tournament had changed its name to the UEFA European football championship and it saw a much larger competition in size and interest. Now there were eight groups of teams introduced into the tournament, each playing each other twice. The remaining teams played in knockout round after that in the semi finals and ultimately the final.

The format introduced in 1968 remained intact until 1980, when more changes were brought about. 8 teams went to the final rounds instead of 4 in the preceding years. They would then play each other in two groups of four teams until a winner emerged. 1984 saw another change. In 1984 only the top two teams from each group moved on to the semi finals, from there they played winners until the last team was standing.

The UEFA European championships have made to expand and make changes due to political changes. In 1992 we saw a united Germany play for the first time. The break up of the Soviet Union also brought about many small republics that wanted their chance at playing in the tournament. Both this tournament and the world cup expanded to allow for this shift in political thinking.

Other changes have occurred as well. In 1990 UEFA allowed for countries to host the tournament jointly. Belgium and the Netherlands were the first to take advantage of this new opportunity and the next tournament will be shared between Austria and Switzerland at the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament.

The UEFA European cup championships are an exciting tournament full of suspense and emotion. The next contest, the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament promises to be as exciting. The quality of the games ranks equally with the world cup. Especially considering many of the worlds top teams are European based. Qualifying games are already being played for the next UEFA Euro 2008 tournament and you can watch live Euro 2008 qualifiers online.

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