Four bids came before the deadline on 9 March 2009. France, Italy and Turkey put in single bids while Norway and Sweden put in a joint bid. Norway and Sweden eventually withdrew their bid in December 2009. The host was selected on 28 May 2010.
Round 1: Each of the thirteen members of the UEFA Executive Committee ranked the 3 bids first, second, and third. First place ranking received 5 points, second place 2 points, and third place 1 point. Executive members from the countries bidding were not allowed to vote.
Round 2: The same thirteen-member committee voted for either of the two finalists.
The qualifying draw took place at the Palais des Congrès Acropolis in Nice, on 23 February 2014, with the first matches being played in September 2014. 53 teams competed for 23 places in the final tournament to join France, who automatically qualified as hosts. Gibraltar competed in a European Championship qualifying for the first time since their affiliation to UEFA in 2013. The seeding pots were formed on the basis of the UEFA national team coefficients, with the Euro 2012 champions Spain and hosts France automatically top seeded. The 53 national sides were drawn into eight groups of six teams and one group of five teams. The group winners, runners-up, and the best third-placed team qualify directly for the final tournament. The remaining eight third-placed teams contested two-legged play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers. In March 2012, Gianni Infantino, the UEFA general secretary at the time, stated that UEFA would review the qualification competition to ensure that it was not "boring". In September 2011, during UEFA's first full strategy meeting, Michel Platini proposed a qualification format involving two group stages, but the member associations did not accept the proposal. In May 2013, Platini confirmed a similar qualifying format would be again discussed during the September 2013 UEFA executive committee meeting in Dubrovnik.
Thirteen of the sixteen teams that qualified for Euro 2012 qualified again for the 2016 final tournament. Among them were England, who became only the sixth team to record a flawless qualifying campaign, defending European champions Spain, and world champions Germany, who qualified for their 12th straight European Championship finals. Romania, Turkey, Austria and Switzerland all returned after missing out in 2012, with the Austrians qualifying for just their second final Euro tournament, after having co-hosted Euro 2008. Returning to the final tournament after long absences were Belgium for the first time since co-hosting Euro 2000, and Hungary for the first time in 44 years, having last appeared at Euro 1972, and 30 years since appearing in a major tournament, their previous one being the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Five teams secured their first qualification to a UEFA European Championship final tournament: Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Wales. Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Wales had each previously competed in the FIFA World Cup, while Albania and Iceland had never participated in a major tournament. Similarly, both Austria and Ukraine completed successful qualification campaigns for the first time, having only previously qualified as hosts. Scotland were the only team from the British Isles not to qualify for the finals, and 2004 champions Greece finished bottom in their group and failed to qualify for the first time since 2000. Two other previous champions, the Netherlands and Denmark, missed out on the finals. The Dutch team failed to qualify for the first time since Euro 1984, missing out on their first major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup and only 16 months after having finished third at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Denmark did not appear at the Euro finals for the first time since 2008, after losing in the play-off round against Sweden.
The draw for the finals took place at the Palais des Congrès de la Porte Maillot in Paris on 12 December 2015, 18:00 CET. The 24 qualified teams were drawn into six groups of four teams, with the hosts France being automatically placed in position A1. The remaining teams were seeded into four pots of five or six teams. As the title holders, Spain were seeded in Pot 1, while the other 22 teams were seeded according to the UEFA national team coefficients updated after the completion of the qualifying group stage, which were released by UEFA on 14 October 2015.
Teams were drawn consecutively into Group A to F. First, the Pot 1 teams were assigned to the first positions of their groups, while next the positions of all other teams were drawn separately from Pot 4 to 2. The draw resulted in the following groups:
Ten stadiums were used for the competition. Initially, twelve stadiums were presented for the French bid, chosen on 28 May 2010. These venues were to be whittled down to nine by the end of May 2011, but it was suggested in June 2011 that eleven venues might be used. The French Football Federation had to choose which nine would actually be used. The choice for the first seven was undisputed – the national Stade de France, four newly constructed ones in Lille Metropole, Décines-Charpieu, Nice and Bordeaux, and two stadiums in the two largest cities, Paris and Marseille. After Strasbourg opted out for financial reasons following relegation, two more venues were selected to be Lens and Nancy, leaving Saint-Étienne and Toulouse as reserve options. In June 2011, the number of host venues was increased to eleven due to the new tournament format featuring 24 teams, instead of the previous 16. The decision meant that the reserve cities of Toulouse and Saint-Étienne joined the list of hosts. Then, in December 2011, Nancy announced its withdrawal from the tournament, after plans for the stadium's renovation were cancelled, finalising the list of host venues at ten. Two other possible options, the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes and the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier were not chosen. The final list was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee on 25 January 2013. Capacity figures are those for matches at UEFA Euro 2016 and are not necessarily the total capacity that the venues are capable of holding.
Team base camps
Each team had a "team base camp" for its stay between the matches. The teams trained and resided in these locations throughout the tournament, travelling to games staged away from their bases. From an initial list of 66 bases, the 24 participating teams had to confirm their selection with UEFA by 31 January 2016. The selected team base camps were announced on 2 March 2016:
To accommodate the expansion from a 16-team finals tournament to 24 teams, the format was changed from that used in 2012 with the addition of two extra groups in the group stage, and an extra round in the knockout phases. The six groups still contained four teams each, with the top two from each group still going through to the knockout phase. In the new format, however, the four best third-ranked sides also progress, leaving 16 teams going into the new round-of-16 knockout phases, ahead of the usual quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, and only 8 teams going out at the group stage. The format is exactly the one that was applied to the 1986, 1990, and 1994 FIFA World Cups, except for the absence of a third place play-off. This format generates a total of 51 matches, compared with 31 matches for the previous 16-team tournament, to be played over a period of 31 days. UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino previously described the format as "not ideal" due to the need for third-ranked teams in the group stage advancing, leading to difficulty in preventing situations where teams might be able to know in advance what results they need to progress out of the group, leading to a lack of suspense for fans, or even the prospect of mutually beneficial collusion between teams.
Each national team had to submit a squad of 23 players, three of whom must be goalkeepers, at least ten days before the opening match of the tournament. If a player became injured or ill severely enough to prevent his participation in the tournament before his team's first match, he would be replaced by another player.
On 15 December 2015, UEFA named eighteen referees for Euro 2016. The full referee teams were announced on 1 March 2016. England was the only country to have two referees in the tournament. Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai was chosen to officiate the opener between France and Romania. English referee Mark Clattenburg was chosen to officiate the final between Portugal and France.
Additional assistant referees
Michael Mullarkey Stephen Child Gary Beswick
Michael Oliver Craig Pawson
Mark Borsch Stefan Lupp Marco Achmüller
Bastian Dankert Marco Fritz
Bahattin Duran Tarık Ongun Mustafa Emre Eyisoy
Hüseyin Göçek Barış Şimşek
Simon Beck Jake Collin Stuart Burt
Anthony Taylor Andre Marriner
Damien MacGraith Francis Connor Douglas Ross
Bobby Madden John Beaton
Mathias Klasenius Daniel Wärnmark Mehmet Culum
Stefan Johannesson Markus Strömbergsson
Octavian Șovre Sebastian Gheorghe Radu Ghinguleac
Alexandru Tudor Sebastian Colțescu
Anton Averyanov Tikhon Kalugin Nikolai Golubev
Sergey Lapochkin Sergey Ivanov
György Ring Vencel Tóth István Albert
Tamás Bognár Ádám Farkas
Roman Slyško Martin Wilczek Tomáš Mokrusch
Petr Ardeleánu Michal Paták
Sander van Roekel Erwin Zeinstra Mario Diks
Pol van Boekel Richard Liesveld
Paweł Sokolnicki Tomasz Listkiewicz Radosław Siejka
Paweł Raczkowski Tomasz Musiał
Milovan Ristić Dalibor Đurđević Nemanja Petrović
Danilo Grujić Nenad Đokić
Svein Oddvar Moen
Kim Thomas Haglund Frank Andås Sven Erik Midthjell
Ken Henry Johnsen Svein-Erik Edvartsen
Elenito Di Liberatore Mauro Tonolini Gianluca Cariolato
Luca Banti Antonio Damato Daniele Orsato
Jure Praprotnik Robert Vukan Bojan Ul
Matej Jug Slavko Vinčić
Frédéric Cano Nicolas Danos Cyril Gringore
Benoît Bastien Fredy Fautrel
Carlos Velasco Carballo
Roberto Alonso Fernández Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez Raúl Cabañero Martínez
Two match officials, who serve only as fourth officials, and two reserve assistant referees were also named:
Reserve assistant referee
An hour before the first match at the Stade de France on 10 June 2016, 20:00 CEST, the opening ceremony of the tournament was held. The ceremony featuring 600 dancers, 150 of which were involved in a traditional French dance before and uptempo version of La Vie en rose by French singer Édith Piaf was played. Following this, French DJ David Guetta took to the stage, he performed shortened version of some of his hits before he was joined on stage by Swedish singer Zara Larsson to perform the official song of the tournament "This One's for You". The ceremony ended with a fly over from the Patrouille Acrobatique de France of the French Air Force, trailing the French blue, white, and red. The ceremony also featured a tribute to the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Following the ceremony, the hosts France beat Romania 2-1 in the opening game of the tournament.
UEFA announced the tournament schedule on 25 April 2014, which was confirmed on 12 December 2015, after the final draw. Group winners, runners-up, and the [|best four third-placed teams] advanced to the [|Round of 16]. All times are local, CEST.
If two or more teams were equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following tie-breaking criteria would be applied:
Higher number of points obtained in the matches played between the teams in question;
Superior goal difference resulting from the matches played between the teams in question;
Higher number of goals scored in the matches played between the teams in question;
If, after having applied criteria 1 to 3, teams still had an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 3 would be reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams who were still level to determine their final rankings. If this procedure did not lead to a decision, criteria 5 to 9 would apply;
Superior goal difference in all group matches;
Higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
If only two teams had the same number of points, and they were tied according to criteria 1–6 after having met in the last round of the group stage, their ranking would be determined by a penalty shoot-out. ;
In the knockout phase, extra time and a penalty shoot-out were used to decide the winner if necessary. As with every tournament since UEFA Euro 1984, there was no third place play-off. All times are local, CEST.
Round of 16
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;UEFA Team of the Tournament The UEFA Technical Team was given the objective of naming a team of 11 players during the tournament, a change from the 23-man squads in the past competitions. The group of analysts watched every game before making the decision following the final. Four players from the winning Portuguese squad were named in the tournament.
;Young Player of the Tournament The Young Player of the Tournament award, open to players born on or after 1 January 1994, was given to Renato Sanches who was named above Kingsley Coman and Portugal teammate Raphaël Guerreiro. The particular player, who deserved the award, was also chosen by UEFA's technical observers.
Renato Sanches –
;Golden Boot The Golden Boot was awarded to Antoine Griezmann, who scored one goal in the group stage and five in the knockout phase.
Antoine Griezmann – 6 goals, 2 assists
;Silver Boot The Silver Boot was awarded to Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored two goals in the group stage and one in the knockout phase, as well as providing three assists.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 3 goals, 3 assists
;Bronze Boot The Bronze Boot was awarded to Olivier Giroud, who scored one goal in the group stage and two in the knockout phase, as well as providing two assists; compatriot Dimitri Payet amassed the same tally, but played 50 more minutes than Giroud.
Olivier Giroud – 3 goals, 2 assists
;Goal of the Tournament The Goal of the Tournament was decided by online voting. A total 5 goals were in the shortlist. On 13 July 2016, after an open vote with over 150,000 entries, UEFA announced that Hungarian midfielder Zoltán Gera's goal against Portugal had been named as fans' goal of the tournament. In a separate poll, UEFA's technical observers decided that Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri's goal against Poland deserved top spot in their list of the ten best goals of the tournament.
A total of €301 million was distributed to the 24 teams contesting in the tournament, a growth from the €196 million payment in the preceding event. Each team was rewarded €8 million, with further rewards depending on their performances. Portugal, the champions of the competition, were awarded €8 million in addition to any prize money earned in earlier rounds – the biggest prize attainable was €27 million. Full list:
Prize for participating: €8 million
Extra payment based on team's performance:
Champions: €8 million
Runners-up: €5 million
Reaching the semi-finals: €4 million
Reaching the quarter-finals: €2.5 million
Reaching the round of 16: €1.5 million
Winning a group match: €1 million
Drawing a group match: €500,000
A player is automatically suspended for the next match for the following offences:
Receiving a red card
Receiving two yellow cards in two different matches; yellow cards expire after the completion of the quarter-finals
The following suspensions were served during the tournament:
in Group C vs Northern Ireland in Group C vs Ukraine
Round of 16 vs Switzerland
in Group A vs Albania in Round of 16 vs Republic of Ireland
Quarter-finals vs Iceland
in Group A vs Switzerland in Round of 16 vs Republic of Ireland
Quarter-finals vs Iceland
in Group E vs Republic of Ireland in Round of 16 vs Hungary
Quarter-finals vs Wales
in Group E vs Belgium in Round of 16 vs Spain
Quarter-finals vs Germany
in Round of 16 vs Croatia in Quarter-finals vs Poland
Semi-finals vs Wales
in Group B vs England in Quarter-finals vs Belgium
Semi-finals vs Portugal
in Round of 16 vs Northern Ireland in Quarter-finals vs Belgium
Semi-finals vs Portugal
in Round of 16 vs Slovakia in Quarter-finals vs Italy
Semi-finals vs France
Pre-tournament concerns included heavy flooding of the River Seine in Paris, and strikes in the transport sector shortly before the beginning of the event.
Following the attacks on Paris on 13 November 2015, including one in which the intended target was a game at the Stade de France, controversies about the safety of players and tourists during the upcoming tournament arose. Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation, explained that the concern for security had increased following the attacks. He claimed: "there was already a concern for the Euros, now it's obviously a lot higher. We will continue to do everything we can so that security is assured despite all the risks that this entails. I know that everyone is vigilant. Obviously, this means that we will now be even more vigilant. But it's a permanent concern for the federation and the state". A "suspicious vehicle" near the Stade de France was destroyed by a police-mandated controlled explosion on 3 July, hours before the venue held the quarter-final between France and Iceland.
The day before the tournament, fighting broke out between local youths and England fans in Marseille; police dispersed the local youths with tear gas. On 10 June, English fans at Marseille clashed with police. Six English fans were later arrested and sentenced to prison. On 11 June, violent clashes erupted in the streets of the same city before and after the Group B match between England and Russia that ended in a 1–1 draw. One English fan was reported to be critically ill in the hospital while dozens of others were injured in the clashes. On 14 June, the Russian team were given a suspended disqualification, fined €150,000, and warned that future violence would result in their removal from the cup. Additionally, 50 Russian fans were deported. The English team was also warned about disqualification, but was not formally charged. Violence between English and Russian fans arose again in Lille, where a total of 36 fans were arrested, and 16 people were hospitalised. Late in the Group D match between the Czech Republic and Croatia, flares were thrown onto the pitch from where Croatia supporters were massed. The match was paused for several minutes while they were cleared up. There was also fighting in the Croatia supporters' area. Later that same day, there was violence involving Turkish fans after Turkey's defeat by Spain. As a result of these incidents and earlier crowd troubles after the countries' first matches, UEFA launched official procedures against the Croatian and Turkish football federations. The Croatian federation was fined €100,000 for the incidents.
The football pitches at French stadiums were criticised during the group stage for their poor quality. France coach Didier Deschamps was especially critical. UEFA tournament director Martin Kallen blamed heavy rain for damaged turf, though the press speculated that non-football events may have also been a contributor. The pitch at Lille received particular attention with players slipping continuously and with groundsmen forced at halftime to try to repair the cut up pitch. Despite UEFA applying numerous methods to rectify the problems, such as a ban on pre-match training on the pitch, use of fertilisers, seeding, mowing, light therapy, drying and playing with the roof closed to avoid rain, it was decided that the pitch at Lille had to be entirely replaced following the Italy–Republic of Ireland group match on 22 June. The new pitch was replaced with Dutch grass and was ready before the last sixteen match between Germany and Slovakia on 26 June. UEFA also stated that repair work was also required at the St Denis and Marseille pitches. This was the second time that a Euro championship pitch needed to be re-laid mid-tournament. The first time was the St. Jakob-Park in Basel during Euro 2008. UEFA's Leeds-based consultant Richard Hayden had come under criticism as it was reported he ordered local groundsmen to re-lay three pitches with Slovak grass, provided by an Austrian company for an estimated €600,000. On 22 June it was reported that France's grass association officials had blamed Hayden for continued problems with the pitches, citing "it is amazing that it is only these pitches that have problems today". The Austrian manufacture of the turf ‘Richter’ responded to the French grass association officials by saying “the turf for the stadiums in Lille and Marseille was delivered in top condition" and that “the turf placement and further care were handled by French companies and no one other than the French grounds-people had control over the grounds condition”. In a statement, UEFA rejected the criticism against Hayden as baseless and stated they were satisfied with his work.
Before the final match started, the stadium was invaded by Silver Y moths, which caused some irritation to the players, staff and coaches. The reason this occurred is because the workers at the stadium left the lights switched on the day before the match which attracted huge swaths of insects. The players and coaches of each team during the warm-up tried swatting the moths, and ground staff used brushes to clean moths from the walls, ground and other places. One moth was infamously captured flying on and around Cristiano Ronaldo's face when he was sitting on the pitch after being injured during the match.
The official logo was unveiled on 26 June 2013, during a ceremony at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris. Conceived by Portuguese agency Brandia Central, which also created the visual identity for the previous European Championship, the design is based on the theme "Celebrating the art of football". The logo depicts the Henri Delaunay Trophy with the blue, white and red colours of the French flag, surrounded by a mixture of shapes and lines representing different artistic movements and football elements. On 17 October 2013, UEFA announced the official slogan of the tournament: Le Rendez-Vous. Asked about its meaning, Jacques Lambert, chairman of the Euro 2016 organising committee, told that the slogan "is much more than a reminder of dates and venues". He further explained that "UEFA is sending out an invitation to football fans throughout the world and to lovers of major events, an invitation to meet up and share the emotions of an elite-level tournament".
For the first time in the tournament's history, two official match balls were used. The Adidas Beau Jeu, used for the group stage, was unveiled on 12 November 2015 by former France player Zinedine Zidane. During the tournament, the Adidas Fracas was introduced as the exclusive match ball for the knockout rounds.
The official mascot of the tournament, Super Victor, was unveiled on 18 November 2014. He is a child superhero in the kit of the France national football team, with a red cape at the back, to echo the colours of the flag of France. The cape, boots and ball are claimed to be the child's superpowers. The mascot first appeared during the match between France and Sweden at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on 18 November 2014. The name of the mascot was revealed on 30 November 2014 after receiving about 50,000 votes from the public on the official UEFA website, beating the other nominated names of "Driblou" and "Goalix". It is based on the idea of victory and references the boy's super powers that he gained when he found the magic cape, boots and ball. The name of the mascot is the same as the name of a sex toy. UEFA said that this 'coincidence' was not their responsibility because the name was selected by fan voting.
The competition's official opening song was "This One's for You" by David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson, and the official closing song was "Free Your Mind" by Maya Lavelle. It was reported that David Guetta sought one million fans to add their voices to the official anthem via a website.