Germany had the honour of hosting Euro 2024, but they were only able to reach the quarter-finals before exiting the tournament. We look at how every European Championship host nation has fared.

The European Championship returned to Germany for the first time since 1988 but hosting UEFA’s top international tournament does not always necessarily present an advantage.

Spain enjoyed home comforts when winning the Euros way back in 1964, with Italy repeating the feat four years later and France lifting the 1984 trophy in front of their own fans, but that trio are the only hosts to succeed at this tournament.

In 2004, Portugal suffered the heartbreak of losing in the final on home soil, as France did 14 years later, seemingly suggesting home advantage counts for little at the decisive end of this continental competition.

Here, we look at those nations that brought joy in their own backyard and others who may have wished to be playing as far away from home as possible after European Championship failure.

European Championship Hosts

Click below to skip to tournament:

France (1960) ••• Spain (1964) ••• Italy (1968)
Belgium (1972) ••• Yugoslavia (1976) ••• Italy (1980)
France (1984) ••• West Germany (1988) ••• Sweden (1992)
England (1996) ••• Belgium/Netherlands (2000) ••• Portugal (2004)
Austria/Switzerland (2008) ••• Poland/Ukraine (2012)
France (2016) ••• 11 Nations (2020) ••• Germany (2024)

Euro 1960
France – Fourth Place

France hold a place in history as the inaugural European Championship hosts, then called the 1960 European Nations’ Cup, but finished fourth after losing the third-place play-off to Czechoslovakia.

Just 17 teams entered the competition, which comprised solely of knockout fixtures, as West Germany, Italy, Netherlands and England all abstained after voting against the creation of the tournament three years earlier.

Spain were even disqualified from the quarter-finals after refusing on political grounds to travel to the Soviet Union when matches were played home and away before the last four, though the Soviets had the last laugh by winning the tournament.

France were the only semi-finalists not from a now-dissolved country; suffering a 5-4 defeat in the last four to Yugoslavia before their 2-0 loss to Czechoslovakia after goals for Vlastimil Bubník and Ladislav Pavlovič.

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Euro 1964
Spain – Winners

Spain had to overcome Romania, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both home and away to earn the right to qualify for the second edition of the European Nations’ Cup, with a host then picked from four quarter-final winners.

La Roja were offered the honour, fending off the Soviet Union, Denmark and Hungary for the privilege – and what an occasion it eventually was for the hosts.

Amancio was the hero in a 2-1 extra-time victory over Hungary in the last four, setting up a final against the Soviets just four years after Spain refused to visit Moscow to face them for political reasons.

Spanish dictator Franco approved this meeting, with European football history on the line, and the hosts never looked back as a late Marcelino goal sent Madrid and Spain into raptures in front of more than 79,000 inside the Santiago Bernabéu.

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Euro 1968
Italy – Winners

As if dispelling the myth of pressure at home, Italy backed up Spain’s success by winning the European Championship in 1968, when the UEFA competition changed name after two editions of the European Nations’ Cup.

Nations had to win a group-stage competition between 1966 and 1968 before a two-legged quarter-final phase to qualify for the tournament proper, with Italy beating Bulgaria 2-0 in Naples to secure a 4-3 aggregate triumph in that round.

Astonishingly, a coin toss sealed Italy’s semi-final success after a goalless draw in 120 minutes against the Soviet Union in Naples.

Angelo Domenghini’s 80th-minute strike forced the final with Yugoslavia to a replay at Stadio Olimpico, in which Gigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi scored first-half goals as a 2-0 win snatched Italy’s first European title. That result could have been so different, however, if not for Italy captain Giacinto Facchetti calling the right side of the coin correctly against the Soviets.

Italy 1968 Hosts

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Euro 1972
Belgium – Third Place

Belgium topped a group including Portugal, Scotland and Denmark to make the quarter-finals, where a 2-1 aggregate victory over 1968 winners Italy ensured progression to the tournament.

That victory over the Azzurri not only marked a historic result in overthrowing the European champions but also secured Belgium the right to host the 1972 edition, with bids from England and Italy dismissed after not reaching the last four.

However, Odilon Polleunis’ late consolation goal counted for little in Antwerp as Belgium fell to a 2-1 semi-final reverse against eventual winners West Germany.

The hosts at least managed third place, though, after Raoul Lambert and Paul van Himst scored in a 2-1 play-off victory over Hungary in Liége.

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Euro 1976
Yugoslavia – Fourth Place

1976 would signal the last tournament that only included a four-team knockout format for the final European Championship competition – and hosts Yugoslavia managed to finish bottom of the pile.

Having overcome Wales in the last eight to host this version of the Euros, Yugoslavia were undone by Dieter Müller’s hat-trick in a 4-2 semi-final defeat to West Germany after extra-time.

Another extra-time loss followed to Netherlands in the third-place play-off as Yugoslavia lost 3-2, despite goals from Josip Katalinski and Dragan Džajić.

Though far from memorable for Yugoslavia, the 1976 edition would still be remembered for Antonín Panenka’s delicately dinked tournament-winning spot-kick, with that iconic penalty finish now named after the Czechoslovakian.

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Euro 1980
Italy – Fourth Place

A four-team tournament made way for eight nations to feature in the European Championship as Italy, who for the first time in history were offered automatic qualification, held off hosting proposals from England, Greece, the Netherlands, Switzerland and eventual winners West Germany.

Italy were the only one of the eight to not have to battle through group-stage qualification to reach the main event, though all sides had to feature in a four-team pool before the last four and finals.

The Azzurri, still famous now for their defensive resilience, held Belgium and Spain to goalless draws to escape the group stage, where they also defeated England 1-0 after Marco Tardelli struck in Turin.

Although Francesco Graziani cancelled out Ladislav Jurkemik’s opener in Naples, Italy finished fourth after losing the third-place play-off to Czechoslovakia 9-8 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.

Czechoslovakia goalkeeper Jaroslav Netolička etched his name in history, denying former Inter and Milan defender Fulvio Collovati after eight successful spot-kicks apiece – Italy, however, would bounce back when being crowned world champions just two years later.

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Euro 1984
France – Winners

Repeating the tricks of Spain and Italy, France finally became the third – and still most recent – European Championship hosts to lift the trophy on home soil, securing their maiden major international title.

Michel Platini scored a record nine goals in five matches as Les Bleus – who won three from three and topped a group including Denmark, Belgium and Yugoslavia – powered to glory in their own backyard.

Michel Hidalgo was the manager behind the French triumph, with Platini’s 119th-minute winner in a 3-2 extra-time victory over Portugal in the semi-final teeing up the showpiece against Miguel Muñoz’s Spain.

Platini added to his account in the final at Parc des Princes before Bruno Bellone sealed a 2-0 win over Spain, despite French defender Yvon Le Roux becoming the first player to be sent off in a European Championship final after a second yellow card five minutes from time.

Platini Euro 1984

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Euro 1988
West Germany – Semi-Finals

Defending champions France failed to even qualify for the next European Championship instalment, which West Germany held before the host nation reunified to become Germany in 1990 and the Soviet Union broke up into 15 countries the following year.

Having won Euro 1980 and finished as runners-up at the last two FIFA World Cups, West Germany could only get as far as the last four here.

A draw against Italy and wins over Denmark and Spain were enough for West Germany to progress as group-stage winners, though they were brought crashing back to earth by Marco van Basten’s 88th-minute semi-final winner for the Netherlands in Hamburg.

The Netherlands went on to defeat the Soviet Union – who would never feature at another European Championship – 2-0 in the final thanks to goals from Ruud Gullit and Van Basten.

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Euro 1992
Sweden – Semi-Finals

European Championship debutants Sweden were granted automatic qualification as the hosts of the 1992 tournament, and Tommy Svensson’s side went on to win Group 1 after defeating ill-fated England and neighbouring rivals Denmark.

However, Richard Møller Nielsen’s Denmark weren’t to be deterred, becoming arguably the most surprising European Championship winners in history after a 2-0 final victory over Germany, who had overcome Sweden 3-2 in the last four.

Tomas Brolin and Kennet Andersson were both on target for Sweden in the semi-finals, though Thomas Häßler’s goal and a Karl-Heinz Riedle double proved the difference for the unified Germany in the last four.

Germany fell short of expectations in the showpiece, though, as Denmark – who only qualified because Yugoslavia were banned as a result of the country’s breakup – lifted the trophy.

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Euro 1996
England – Semi-Finals

‘Three Lions’ and the infamous ‘Football’s Coming Home’ was the sound of the 1996 summer after England hosted the newly formatted 16-team European Championship.

England were dreaming of a second major title after a jaw-dropping 4-1 victory over reigning champions the Netherlands en route to topping Group A, having also defeated fierce rivals Scotland 2-0 in a match that included that iconic Paul Gascoigne goal and ‘dentist’s chair’ celebration.

Terry Venables’ side then managed to defeat Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals after a goalless draw, with Alan Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pearce and Gascoigne all converting – but spot-kick heartbreak followed just four days later as England fell one match short of reaching the final.

Shearer’s third-minute opener sent the old Wembley Stadium into a frantic frenzy, though eventual winners Germany – who equalised soon after through Stefan Kuntz – triumphed 6-5 on penalties as current England head coach Gareth Southgate missed in a sudden-death shootout.

Southgate Euro 1996

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Euro 2000
Belgium – Group Stage, Netherlands – Semi-Finals

Belgium and Netherlands made European Championship history as 2000 marked the first time the tournament was co-hosted.

Belgium started with victory over Sweden as Bart Goor and Émile Mpenza were on target in Brussels, though back-to-back 2-0 defeats against Italy and Turkey sent the co-hosts crashing out before the knockout rounds.

By contrast, the Netherlands topped Group D, finishing one place ahead of 1998 World Cup winners France, after victories over Les Bleus, Denmark and Czech Republic.

Patrick Kluivert was the quarter-final hero as his hat-trick, and a Marc Overmars brace, helped the Netherlands to a 6-1 thrashing of Yugoslavia in Rotterdam, as they became the first side to score six goals in a Euros game. Penalties misery would follow in Amsterdam though, after a goalless draw with Italy.

Frank de Boer and Jaap Stam both missed before Paul Bosvelt was denied in a 3-1 shootout defeat by Azzurri match-winner Francesco Toldo, who had already seen De Boer and Kluivert fail from spot-kicks in normal time after Gianluca Zambrotta’s 34th-minute red card.

As if to inflict further woe and reopen prior wounds, that defeat was the Netherlands’ fourth penalty shootout elimination in five major tournaments.

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Euro 2004
Portugal – Runners-Up

For the first time in European Championship history, the opening match between hosts Portugal and Greece – who returned after a 24-year absence from the tournament – was also repeated in the final.

A stoppage-time goal from Cristiano Ronaldo proved scant consolation as surprise package Greece kicked off the competition with a somewhat foreboding 2-1 victory over Portugal.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Portuguese side still responded by winning Group A after defeating Russia and rivals Spain, though nothing could prepare for a very memorable quarter-final against England.

Michael Owen fired England into an early lead before then-wonderkid Wayne Rooney broke a bone in his foot and was withdrawn prior to half-time. Portugal capitalised in the 83rd minute through Hélder Postiga’s equaliser, before Rui Costa nudged the hosts ahead in extra-time. But Frank Lampard’s 115th-minute strike ensured penalties were required.

Costa and David Beckham both failed from 12 yards, though it was Darius Vassell’s miss that secured a 6-5 victory for Portugal, who then defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the semi-finals after goals from Ronaldo and Maniche.

However, there was no fairytale ending. Portugal slumped to a shock 1-0 reverse against Greece thanks to Angelos Charisteas’ goal in Lisbon, with Scolari’s men becoming the first European Championship hosts to lose a final.

Ronaldo Euro 2004

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Euro 2008
Austria – Group Stage, Switzerland – Group Stage

First-time hosts Austria and Switzerland succeeded in a joint-bid for Euro 2008, albeit the pair had a tournament to forget on the pitch as both suffered group-stage eliminations.

It was just the second occasion two nations had shared the hosting rights, after Euro 2000 between Belgium and Netherlands, though Switzerland were the first team eliminated after defeats against Czech Republic and Turkey before a surprise – albeit irrelevant – 2-0 victory over Portugal.

Austria threatened group-stage progression at least after losing to Croatia and drawing with Poland, but Michael Ballack’s decisive 49th-minute strike sent the co-hosts out in a winner-takes-all clash against Germany.

Euro 2008 marked the first time a host nation had not reached the knockouts following a group stage, despite having two nations attempting to progress – and that trend followed into the next edition…

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Euro 2012
Poland – Group Stage, Ukraine – Group Stage

Euro 2012 set attendance records for the 16-team format, with five new stadiums built amid significant investment for hosts Poland and Ukraine, but both suffered group-stage misery.

Franciszek Smuda’s Poland could call upon soon-to-be globally renowned striker Robert Lewandowski, who opened the tournament scoring, but they were held to back-to-back draws with Greece and Russia before defeat to Czech Republic left them bottom of Group A.

Ukraine managed an opening-game 2-1 victory over Sweden thanks to Andriy Shevchenko’s double but those were their only goals of Euro 2012 as the co-hosts finished third in Group D after losses to France and England.

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Euro 2016
France – Runners-Up

A 24-team format with six groups comprising four nations each was considered another landmark transformation as France eventually finished runners-up at Euro 2016 on home soil.

Hosting the tournament for a third time – and for a first instance since winning the European Championship in 1984 – France were unable to recreate the heroics driven by superstar forward Platini.

Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus overcame Romania and Albania, with Dimitri Payet scoring in both games, before a goalless draw with Switzerland ensured the hosts finished top of Group A.

Antoine Griezmann’s double in Lyon eased any fears after Robbie Brady’s second-minute penalty in a 2-1 round-of-16 triumph over the Republic of Ireland before a routine 5-2 win over Iceland in the last eight.

Griezmann was again on target against Iceland, adding to that with a match-winning brace in a 2-0 success over Germany in the Marseille semi-final, but even the in-form forward could not muster another solo salvaging act in the showpiece with Portugal.

Portuguese talisman Ronaldo limped off after 25 minutes in the Stade de France final, though France were consigned to their first tournament defeat on home turf since the 1960 third-place play-off loss after Eder scored a 109th-minute winner in a 1-0 extra-time victory for Portugal.

France’s Euro 2016 party was spoiled as Deschamps lamented throwing away “a great chance to be European champions” – Les Bleus did, however, respond by winning the 2018 World Cup.

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Euro 2020
11 Host Nations

Marking 60 years of the European Championship, this one-off “romantic” edition was played across 11 countries – spanning from Azerbaijan to Scotland – but had to be delayed by 12 months until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no such romance – or a fairytale finish – for final hosts England, who suffered further penalty shootout heartbreak 25 years after being dumped out on spot-kicks in the semi-finals when they last enjoyed hosting privileges.

Wembley Stadium was the chosen venue for both last-four clashes, as well as the final, with Italy defeating Spain on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra-time, while England required 120 minutes to overcome Denmark 2-1.

There was a familiar fate for Southgate’s England, who could not hold on in 90 minutes as Luke Shaw’s second-minute opener was cancelled out by Leonardo Bonucci’s second-half response.

As Southgate had tried and failed at Euro 1996, his players – namely Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – followed suit by faltering in a 3-2 shootout loss to Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri, whose fourth major title came on the 39th anniversary of their 1982 World Cup title.

England Euro 2020 Final Defeat

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Euro 2024
Germany – Quarter-Finals

Germany were aiming to become the first host nations of the Euros to win the competition since France in 1984, but fell short after a dramatic exit to Spain in the quarter-finals.

Mikel Merino’s last-gasp extra-time goal sent Germany out, with Spain running out 2-1 winners in Stuttgart.

Despite Florian Wirtz becoming Germany’s youngest ever goalscorer in the knockout stages of the UEFA European Championship, Julian Nagelsmann’s side became the first host nation to be knocked out at the quarter-final stage.

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