Are you ready for the most exciting tournament since 1958? We certainly are.
With the premier league won in a historical “never to be repeated” win by 5000-1 outsiders Leicester, British footy fans are starting to think about the upcoming Euro 2016 finals.
The British Isles will be represented by not one, not two, not three but four nations at Euro 2016 – the first time that has happened at a major tournament for fully 58 years. We’re determined to celebrate that fact, and in this month’s 442 magazine they have exclusive interviews with key men from each of those four countries.
In fact this month you’ll get two magazines in one bag. Not only will you be able to read England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland previews as part of your normal monthly fix of features in the main magazine, but you’ll also get an additional 68-page Euro 2016 guide – including interviews with stars from all 24 nations at the tournament.
England go into the tournament full of optimism and we speak to Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling to find out why it’s time for fans of the Three Lions to start dreaming big.
To celebrate the four nations qualifying, FourFourTwo magazine has commissioned four different covers for the Euro 2016 special preview issue, featuring a 68-page preview guide. We have all four in stock, you pick which one(s) you want and we’ll post them to you same day for free!
England and Wales will meet for the first time in a major tournament on June 16 in Lens after being drawn in a group alongside Russia and Slovakia.
Northern Ireland were drawn in Group C with world champions and tournament favourites Germany, plus Poland and Ukraine while Republic of Ireland were both handed an incredibly tough group alongside Belgium, Sweden and Italy.
The finals themselves take place in France from Friday June 10 to Sunday July 10 next year. With the tournament having been expanded to 24 teams, it will now last as long as a World Cup, stretching over a four-week period, as opposed to three as has been the case with the previous 16-team events.
Matches will kick-off at either 1400, 1700 or 2000 BST, as you can see in the full fixture list below (all times BST), while BBC and ITV have now announced which games they will show.
France v Romania (2000, June 10, St-Denis, ITV)
Albania v Switzerland (1400, June 11, Lens, BBC)
Romania v Switzerland (1700, June 15, Paris, ITV)
France v Albania (2000, June 15, Marseille, ITV)
Romania v Albania (2000, June 19, Lyon, BBC)
Switzerland v France (2000, June 19, Lille, BBC)
Wales v Slovakia (1700, June 11, Bordeaux, BBC)
England v Russia (2000, June 11, Marseille, ITV)
Russia v Slovakia (1400, June 15, Lille, BBC)
England v Wales (1400, June 16, Lens, BBC)
Russia v Wales (2000, June 20, Toulouse, ITV)
Slovakia v England (2000, June 20, St-Etienne, ITV)
Poland v Northern Ireland (1700, June 12, Nice, BBC)
Germany v Ukraine (2000, June 12, Lille, BBC)
Ukraine v Northern Ireland(1700, June 16, Lyon, ITV)
Germany v Poland (2000, June 16, St-Denis, ITV)
Ukraine v Poland (1700, June 21, Marseille, BBC)
Northern Ireland v Germany (1700, June 21, Paris, BBC)
Turkey v Croatia (1400, June 12, Paris, ITV)
Spain v Czech Republic(1400, June 13, Toulouse, ITV)
Czech Republicv Croatia (1700, June 17, St-Etienne, BBC)
Spain v Turkey (2000, June 17, Nice, ITV)
Czech Republic v Turkey (2000, June 21, Lens, ITV)
Croatia v Spain (2000, June 21, Bordeaux, ITV)
Republic of Ireland v Sweden (1700, June 13, St-Denis, BBC)
Belgium v Italy (2000, June 13, Lyon, BBC)
Italy v Sweden (1400, June 17, Toulouse, ITV)
Belgium v Republic of Ireland (1400, June 18, Bordeaux, ITV)
Italy v Republic of Ireland (2000, June 22, Lille, ITV)
Sweden v Belgium (2000, June 22, Nice, ITV)
Austria v Hungary (1700, June 14, Bordeaux, ITV)
Portugal v Iceland (2000, June 14, St-Etienne, BBC)
Iceland v Hungary (1700, June 18, Marseille, BBC)
Portugal v Austria (2000, June 18, Paris, BBC)
Iceland v Austria (1700, June 22, St-Denis, BBC)
Hungary v Portugal (1700, June 22, Lyon, BBC)
Best result: semi-finals 1968, 1996
Coach: Roy Hodgson
Leading scorers: all-time – Wayne Rooney (51); current – Wayne Rooney (51)
Most appearances: all-time – Peter Shilton (125); current – Wayne Rooney (109)
England’s recent record in major tournaments could have looked very different had it not been for penalty shoot-outs. Since losing on spot kicks to West Germany in the semi-finals of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, they have been eliminated by that method from five further tournaments – three UEFA European Championships (1996, 2004 and 2012) and two World Cups (1998, 2006). It means the 1966 World Cup triumph on home soil remains their only final appearance, although Roy Hodgson’s team, group stage fallers at the 2014 World Cup, should travel to France in confident mood having qualified for UEFA EURO 2016 with ten wins out of ten.
Overall: P127 W75 D33 L19 F257 A89
Final tournament: P27 W9 D9 L9 F36 A31
Qualifying: P100 W66 D24 L10 F221 A58
England are alone among Europe’s World Cup-winning nations in failing to capture the Henri Delaunay Cup. Indeed, they are yet to reach a UEFA European Championship final, having come closest in 1996, when they hosted the event, only to be denied by Germany in a semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat at Wembley. They also reached the last four – as world champions – in 1968, but otherwise the competition has brought few happy memories.
In the four eight-team final tournaments from 1980 to 1992, England were unable to reach the knockout phase, failing to qualify altogether for the 1984 edition in France. EURO ’96 apart, they have also struggled to make an impression in the 16-team finals, going out at the group stage in 2000 and suffering elimination in qualifying for the 2008 tournament. On the other two occasions, in 2004 and 2012, respective quarter-finals with Portugal and Italy both ended in shoot-out disappointments.
Best result: never previously qualified
Coach: Chris Coleman
Leading scorers: all-time – Ian Rush (28); current – Gareth Bale (19)
Most appearances: all-time – Neville Southall (92); current – Chris Gunter (64)
Wales last participated in a major tournament at the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden, in which a John Charles-inspired team reached the quarter-finals. They did reach the last eight of the 1976 UEFA European Championship but lost a two-legged tie to Yugoslavia and missed out on the four-team final tournament. Since then a plethora of top-class footballers, among them Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs, have been unable to represent the Principality on the biggest stage. However, thanks to the seven goals of Gareth Bale in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, the country will at last compete at a major tournament after a 58-year wait.
Overall: P104 W41 D21 L42 F125 A133
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P104 W41 D21 L42 F125 A133
Yugoslavia were always Wales’ bogey team in the UEFA European Championship, denying them a place in the four-team 1976 final tournament and then stopping the Dragons in their tracks in qualifying for the 1984 final tournament. Victory in the final home game would have taken Wales through but Mehmed Baždarević’s 81st-minute leveller enabled the visitors to claim the qualifying berth.
Not until UEFA EURO 2004 did Wales come as close again. Facing Russia in the play-offs, hopes soared after a 0-0 draw in Moscow only for a 1-0 home defeat to deny them once more. UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying proved to be a more troubled campaign than most, with promising results on the pitch overshadowed by the death of manager Gary Speed in November 2011.
Republic of Ireland
Best result: group stage 1988, 2012
Coach: Martin O’Neill
Leading scorer: all-time – Robbie Keane (67); current – Robbie Keane (67)
Most appearances: all-time – Robbie Keane (143); current – Robbie Keane (143)
The Republic of Ireland made their major tournament debut in 1988, memorably beating England and only just failing to pip eventual winners the Netherlands to the last four. Englishman Jack Charlton also steered them to the next two FIFA World Cups, the first of them, in Italy, bringing a place in the quarter-finals. A third World Cup was reached in 2002 but Ireland did not return to the UEFA European Championship until 2012, when Giovanni Trapattoni’s side lost all three matches in a tough group.
Overall: P127 W51 D37 L39 F186 A147
Final tournament: P6 W1 D1 L4 F3 A11
Qualifying: P121 W50 D36 L35 F183 A136
Ireland qualified for their first major tournament in the 1988 UEFA European Championship, opening their campaign with a famous 1-0 win against England thanks to Ray Houghton’s early header. They then held the Soviet Union 1-1 and Charlton’s side were only edged out for a semi-final place in West Germany by an 82nd-minute goal for the Netherlands.
Ireland narrowly missed out on the final tournament in 1992 and lost play-offs to the Netherlands and Turkey in 1996 and 2000 respectively. They finished third in their qualifying groups for both 2004 and 2008 but made the 2012 finals; beaten to an automatic place by Russia, they defeated Estonia in the play-offs. They had performed consistently throughout, at one point going eight matches (friendlies included) without conceding, establishing a new national record. Trapattoni’s side arrived in Poland and Ukraine 14 games unbeaten, but that was soon forgotten as they lost 3-1 to Croatia, 4-0 to Spain and 2-0 to Italy.
Best result: never previously qualified
Coach: Michael O’Neill
Leading scorers: all-time – David Healy (36); current – Kyle Lafferty (16)
Most appearances: all-time – Pat Jennings (119); current – Aaron Hughes (96)
Despite some memorable wins, Northern Ireland had never sent a team to the finals of the UEFA European Championship until now, previously coming closest in the 1984 qualifying series when they beat holders West Germany home and away. In contrast there have been three appearances at the FIFA World Cup, the first in 1958 resulting in a quarter-final appearance and the second, in 1982, featuring a famous 1-0 win over hosts Spain. Like all-time top marksman David Healy, the great George Best sadly never graced a major tournament. The current crop, under manager Michael O’Neill, will get that opportunity to shine on the big stage in France.
Overall: P110 W40 D25 L45 F120 A138
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P110 W40 D25 L45 F120 A138
Northern Ireland first entered the UEFA European Championship ahead of the 1964 finals, beating Poland 4-0 on aggregate before losing out to eventual winners Spain. Billy Bingham’s side overcame West Germany 1-0 in Belfast and Hamburg during qualifying for the 1984 edition – only to be pipped to qualification by the Germans on goal difference.
Fans also got a run for their money during the UEFA EURO 2008 campaign when Healy’s prolific strike rate helped them to memorable home wins against eventual champions Spain (3-2), Sweden (2-1) and Denmark (2-1), but Northern Ireland could only finish third in their pool. Under Nigel Worthington they started UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying brightly, a 1-0 win in Slovenia and a 0-0 draw with eventual group winners Italy raising hopes, but the campaign ended in disappointment. A frustrating 1-1 draw in the Faroe Islands and a 4-1 defeat by Estonia in Tallinn did much of the damage.
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