Soccer And Travel Collide At Euro 2020
The following is an article “Soccer And Travel Collide At Euro 2020” by Marc Pulisci.
Association football, better known as soccer in the U.S., has gained popularity here in recent years. Largely ignored by Americans who favored basketball or football, with an oval-shaped “ball” that allows players to use their hands, soccer continues to be the most popular sport on the planet.
The road to Euro 2020
While 2018 FIFA World Cup fever sent mercury rising from June to July with the participation of 32 intercontinental nations in the month-long Finals, another major soccer competition occurs in Europe, also every four years like the World Cup. But instead of the world’s best soccer teams competing for glory, the UEFA European Championship is limited to the most elite football squads from the continent after which it is named.
With the last UEFA European Championship, or simply Euro, played in 2016 in France where Portugal emerged victorious, the hype for the next one is starting to build up. Although still one and a half years away, Euro 2020 will begin on June 12 of that year and run until July 12. And unlike the World Cup, which is typically hosted by one country in several of its cities, Euro 2020 will be hosted by not one, not two, not even three… but by 12 different European nations.
The “Beautiful Game” in the beauty of Europe
For the billions of soccer followers around the world, few things in life are as special as witnessing a tournament the magnitude of Euro 2020. But this particular edition of the 60-year-old competition is set to take things to the next level by involving 12 cities from 12 nations, making it every soccer fan and world traveler’s dream. Europe, after all, is the continent to have won the World Cup the most number of times, with five European nations versus three South American nations having lifted the Cup so far.
Although it is still too early to know the groupings and which teams have qualified for Euro 2020, what we do know is that the final four spots of the field will be decided by the UEFA Nations League, which will host a playoff in March 2020 to determine who gets in. Teams will be placed into four groups to compete, and the top four teams from each group that did not already qualify for Euros already will face off in the playoff, with one slot up for grabs for the best in each group.
The final countdown
With England putting on its best World Cup performance this year since 1990, it is only fitting that the Euro 2020 semifinals and finals will be played at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London. Undoubtedly, it will serve as the perfect stage for the tournament’s climax, more so if England manage to replicate their level of play in Russia this year in front of a home crowd.
The beauty if it all is if you would rather give a trip to London a miss, then you can still catch the Euro 2020 action in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Baku, Azerbaijan, Bilbao, Spain; Bucharest, Romania; Budapest, Hungary; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; Munich, Germany; Rome, Italy; and Saint Petersburg, Russia.
So, regardless of which team you are rooting for, Euro 2020 scores a win-win for soccer and travel, all in one legendary sporting event.
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