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How well have the holders and hosts done at past EUROs?

Portugal are European champions, France are world champions; does that augur well for them at UEFA EURO 2020?

The 2012 Spain team celebrate winning their second successive EURO
The 2012 Spain team celebrate winning their second successive EURO ©Sportsfile

Only one team has successfully defended a UEFA European Championship title, but two teams have won a EURO as FIFA World Cup holders.

UEFA.com specs out the possibilities for Portugal and France.

Who has successfully defended a EURO title?

Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) have both won back-to-back World Cups, but it took until 2012 for Spain to become the first side to win two EUROs in a row.

UEFA European Championship title defences
YearWinnersHow they fared next time
1960Soviet UnionRunners-up
1972West GermanyRunners-up
1976CzechoslovakiaThird place
1980West GermanyGroup stage
1984FranceDid not qualify
1992DenmarkGroup stage
1996GermanyGroup stage
2004GreeceGroup stage
2012Spainround of 16

*Two-legged qualifier for four-team final tournament

The holders' struggles prior to that were a uniquely European phenomenon, with other senior continental competitions featuring at least one successful defence at some point – in fact the same nation triumphed at the first two editions of CONMEBOL's Copa América (Uruguay), the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Egypt) and AFC Asian Cup (South Korea).

The least successful EURO title defence to date was France's after their 1984 triumph; they remain the only European champions to fail to qualify for the subsequent EURO. To reach the eight-team finals in 1988, sides had to win their qualifying group; France opened with a 0-0 draw in Iceland and ended up finishing third in theirs, behind the Soviet Union and East Germany. They won only one of their eight qualifiers.

How have world champions fared at past EUROs?

The 1998 France team and Spain's class of 2010 both set positive precedents for the current World Cup holders. Both followed up winning world titles by taking the EURO trophy at the first attempt, in 2000 and 2012 respectively.

FIFA World Cup holders at subsequent UEFA European Championship
World Cup/EURO
World champions
How they fared at EURO
1966/1968EnglandThird place
1974/1976West GermanyRunners-up
1982/1984ItalyDid not qualify

**Won 1990 World Cup as West Germany, entered EURO '92 as Germany

Italy, by contrast, had the mother of all World Cup hangovers after winning the 1982 edition, failing to qualify for the 1984 EURO by some distance. They failed to win their first nine qualifiers (securing their only win in their final game against Cyprus) and finished fourth in their five-team group, behind Romania, Sweden and Czechoslovakia.

How have the hosts got on at past EUROs?

Three nations have won the EURO as hosts (Spain 1964, Italy 1968, France 1984) and three more have made it to the final on home soil, only to lose (Belgium 1980, Portugal 2004 and France 2016). 

Hosts performances at past UEFA European Championships
HostsHow they fared
1960FranceFourth place
1972BelgiumThird place
1976YugoslaviaFourth place
2000Belgium, NetherlandsGroup stage (BEL), semi-finals (NED)
2008Austria, SwitzerlandGroup stage (AUT and SUI)
2012Poland, UkraineGroup stage (POL and UKR)
202012 nations; England staging final???

As yet, no co-hosts have made it as far as the final; indeed the Netherlands (semi-finalists at UEFA EURO 2000) are the only side to make it beyond the group stage as EURO co-hosts.

UEFA EURO 2020, however, is a totally new kind of EURO and the rules are different; cities in 12 nations are hosting games, and no national teams are guaranteed a finals place. Wembley Stadium is staging the semi-finals and final; the only time England staged a EURO (in 1996) the home team made it to the semi-finals, Germany beating the Czech Republic in the decider.