The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, will be the 14th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by UEFA. The final tournament will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July 2012.
This bid was chosen by UEFA's Executive Committee in 2007. The final tournament features sixteen nations, the last European Championship to do so (from Euro 2016 onward, there will be 24 finalists). Qualification was contested by 51 nations between August 2010 and November 2011 to join the two host nations in the tournament.
The joint Poland–Ukraine bid was chosen by a vote of the UEFA Executive Committee at a meeting in Cardiff on 18 April 2007. This bid defeated the other shortlisted bids from Italy and Croatia–Hungary, becoming the third successful joint bid for the European Championship, after those of Belgium–Netherlands (2000) and Austria–Switzerland (2008).
Apart from Donetsk and Kharkiv, the host cities are all popular tourist destinations (the latter having replaced Dnipropetrovsk as a host city in 2009). The bid package requires the expansion and modernisation of roads and transport links.
The obligatory improvement of the football infrastructure includes the building of new stadiums: Six of the eight venues are brand new stadia currently being constructed ready to open in advance of the tournament; the remaining two (in Poznań and Kharkiv) have undergone major renovations to improve them. Three of the stadia will fulfill the criteria of UEFA's highest category stadiums.
The finals will feature sixteen national teams, as has been the format since 1996. Some European football associations were in favour of expanding the tournament to 24 teams, although the number of UEFA members had hardly increased since the last tournament extension in 1996 (53 in April 2006 compared to 48 for Euro 1996). In April 2007, UEFA's Executive Committee formally decided against an expansion for 2012.
Twelve of the sixteen finalists participated at the previous tournament in 2008, with England and Denmark, who participated in 2004, returning after missing the 2008 edition. The Republic of Ireland return after an absence of 24 years, making only their second appearance at a European finals. Hosts Ukraine, make their debut as an independent nation, having previously participated as part of the Soviet Union.
The sixteen finalists who will participate in the final tournament are:
Republic of Ireland
Spain (title holders)