As the Copa America soccer tournament rages across the US — all right, simmers across the US — and 16 nations compete to decide the champion of the Americas, the European continental championship finals are also set to begin. Host nation and two-time Euro winner France takes on Romania at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis today to open the tournament. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3 and televised live by ESPN2 at 3pm EST. (Follow UEFA Euro 2016 live scores here.)
The European Championship, then known as the European Nations Cup, was first held in 1960 when the Soviet Union defeated Yugoslavia in the Paris final, 2-1. (Those two countries no longer exist, of course. How times have changed.) The Euro takes place every four years and since the inaugural competition, nine different nations have claimed the title. Germany, defending World Cup champion and Euro 2016 favorite, and Spain are tied for the most trophies with three apiece. Spain, the current Euro champ, is the only nation to have won consecutive championships (2008, 2012) and has a solid chance to win a third straight. 53 different European countries, nations as small as the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar, competed for almost a year and a half to win one of the 23 available spots in this summer’s tournament (the host nation qualifies automatically). Albania, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Iceland, and Wales are all making their first European Championship finals appearance. Who will win it? Let the games begin!