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The UEFA Euro 2020 is just around the corner and football fans are excited to witness the anticipated summer of football madness. The 16th iteration of the quadrennial championship has long been delayed for a year due to the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe. 

The coronavirus has halted the scheduled major sporting events and the delays are implemented to accommodate the recovery of nations affected by the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is slowly running its course and the vaccination process is finally taking place, the long-delayed Euro 2020 is finally happening according to Asiaone News.

Original Schedule

Originally set to commence in June 2020, it was rescheduled to take place from June 11 to July 2021 albeit retained the name UEFA Euro 2020. Of the 24 participants, they battle in the group round, and then the finalists will advance to the finals that will take place in Wembley Stadium in London.

The competition is expected to bring the teams from England, Wales, and Scotland to brush against some of the best teams in Europe including the currently dominating teams of France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands. 

Not only are the teams going back but some of the best players in Europe are expected to compete as well with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe. The summer of 2021 is going to be exciting with the battle of Europe’s best national teams but expect also some twists and surprises along the way. 

Public Health is Priority

The delay of Euro 2020 surely has been a bummer but UEFA organizers ensure that the delay is beneficial and public health is of utmost importance right now in this time of crisis. 

Upon the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe, many domestic leagues also postponed their matches stating that the nations affected by the pandemic will prioritize the public health and the well-being of the players involved.

“The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches,” UEFA said in a public announcement.

The Effect of the Pandemic

When Europe became the epicenter of the pandemic in 2020, the severely affected nations of Italy and Spain have enforced mandatory lockdowns to ensure the containment of the virus. A staggering 2,100 have perished in Italy because of the coronavirus which was supposed to host the opening of Euro 2020 in Rome. 

The postponement was fully supported by the football associations of nations affected by the pandemic, the French Football Federation even called the move of UEFA a “wise and pragmatic decision.”

Knock-on Effects

However, the delay may cause some knock-on effects on some other tournaments because of the already scheduled events. One of these is the effect of the delay of Euro 2020 to the Women’s European Championship which was scheduled to commence on July 7 and will end on August 1 with its finals being held also at Wembley in London.

The effect of the coronavirus pandemic also caused some problems in the host cities and their venues with the original 13 host cities were changed to 11. Other problems include the uncertainty of these venues being filled with spectators and the ongoing strict measures in some nations to limit the number of attendees to these events. As of now, the 11 host countries will proceed with the hosting of the matches.

The Participants

The group stage is divided into six groups from A to F with each one composed of four participants. Group A (Turkey, Italy, Wales, and Switzerland), Group B (Denmark, Finland, Belgium, and Russia), and Group C (Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, and North Macedonia). Group D (England, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Scotland), Group E (Spain, Poland, Sweden, and Slovakia), and Group F (Germany, France, Portugal, and Hungary).

The winners from the group round will advance to the round of 16, with the winner also advancing to the knock-out stage. From the knock-out stage, we will determine the European champions.