The Euro Cup 2016 will be the 15th edition of UEFA European Championship of international football tournament. It will be contested in France from 10 June to 10 July. The matches will be played in ten stadias in ten cities: Lyon, Lens, Marseille, Paris, Nice, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, Bordeaux, Lille,and Toulouse.
Euro Cup 2016 – The New Format
The final tournament of this edition will be contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996. This will be a changed format that was used in 2012 with the expansion to 6 groups from 4 groups, and an extra knockout stage. This group stage format was applied to the FIFA World Cups in 1986, 1990 and 1994 editions
The top two from each group will advance to knockout stage. Under this changed format however, the 4 best third-ranked sides would also progress.To accommodate for the extra teams, there will be introduction of an extra knock out stage in the form of Round of 16. These extra stages mean there will be total of 51 games, 20 more compared to previous tournament with 16 teams, to be played over 31 days.
Ranking of third placed team
The best 4 third-ranked team among the 6 possible will be decided on following factors(any one only):
- Number of points obtained
- Goal difference
- Number of goals scored
- Fair play
- The position in the standings of UEFA
Knock out Phase
For the first time in Euro cup, there is no certain opponent for group winners(of group A,B,C and D). In this new format, the matches involving the third-placed teams qualified will depend on from which four groups the third-ranked teams qualify for next stage. The matches in round of 16 will take place as follows as arranged by UEFA.
Runner-up Group A v Runner-up Group C
Runner-up Group B v Runner-up Group F
Winner Group E v Runner-up Group D
Winner Group F v Runner-up Group E
Winner Group A v 3rd Place Group C/D/E
Winner Group B v 3rd Place Group A/C/D
Winner Group C v 3rd Place Group A/B/F
Winner Group D v 3rd Place Group B/E/F
For the specific match ups for different possible combinations of 4 best ranked groups, follow the description here in wikipedia page of EURO 2016.
Criticisms of the new format
1. Unscientific group stage
The new format used in Euro Cup 2016 this summer means that 60% of its matches will be played to eliminate just 33% of the teams. The 24 qualifiers in group stage will be reduced down to 16 – the total number of teams for the last few tournaments, which was more logical and scientific.
UEFA’s general secretary Gianni Infantino described the format as not ideal. There is provision for third-ranked teams in the group stage advancing in this new format. This might lead to situations where teams know in advance the results they need to progress out of the group. This results to lack of suspense , or even the prospect of mutually beneficial agreement between teams.
2. Declined quality of football
The Euro Cups used to be the most competitive international football tournament with 16 of the best teams in Europe, the powerhouse of football, fighting for the cup. This new format brings with it criticism from many that the quality of the tournament will decline. Many argue that defensive, cagey tactics, from teams who shouldn’t be in the finals in the first place, will damage the aura of the tournament.
The new format also makes the group stage less competitive(only 33% of teams are eliminated). A group with 3 good and 1 relatively weak could see all those easily advance through to knock out stage by virtue of the fact they’ve all claimed an easy three points(with good scores too). This mitigates the chance for “Group of Death” which excited the football fans.
The knock out stage of the new format is also worrying. The fact that first placed teams play third placed teams means that ties between great teams might occur only after many finals matches have been played.
Up side of new format
1.More games to enjoy
This new format of the Euro cup has 20 more football matches to offer than previous version. This is good news for us football fans as we get some more footballing action before the regular league action begin.
Amongst all critics, former German captain Philip Lahm has backed the new format saying “more teams mean bigger party.” He said he is looking forward to enjoy the 24-team event like a normal fan with his friends, doing a barbecue and drinking beer. Welcome to our side of football general.
2.Chance for the underdogs
The inclusion of more teams in this new format has given the opportunity to new teams to gain international experiences. Underdogs will fancy a chance this summer especially when Leicester have just proved nothing is impossible in football. They should be inspired from the history of the tournament as well. In the 2004 edition of the Euro cup,Greece surprised everybody by winning the cup.
3.Uncertain group stages
With the provision for the 4 best third ranked team of group stage to advance to round of 16, the group stages are going to be anything but certain. In this format, the results of one group could affect teams of other groups. Many claim the group stages will be less competitive and predictable in this new format but they might be proved wrong in the final matches of group stage when a team desperately needing a victory would have to keep eye on results of other team.
4. Chance for youngsters
The introduction of 24 team event meant the introduction of new knock out round. With one more match to consider and the players just back from demanding leagues,the manager has to use his 23 men wisely.This benefits the youngsters as they might get some game time to showcase what their talents and gain experience.This Euro cup could see rise of few young talents.
This new format will be new experience for fans. Lets see what the biggest football event of this summer has to offer for football fans around the globe.