EURO 2024 soccer tournament explained for beginners: Format, favorites and more

If you’re newer to the world of soccer and are looking for a Euro soccer tournament explained piece, then you’ve come to the right place.

You might be out in a bar or restaurant this summer and notice plenty of attention for the big soccer tournament taking place in Europe. This is the European Championship or Euro 2024 for short. 

In this article we will explain.

  1. What is this tournament?
  2. Who is playing?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Who are the favorites?
  5. Who are the best players?

Let’s get into the explaining.

Euro soccer tournament explained

What is Euro 2024?

Every four years the best national teams in Europe compete to see who is the best on the continent. This year the competition is being hosted across 10 cities in Germany with the 24 best teams in Europe participating (who all played in qualifiers to reach this point).

The European Championship is the second most popular soccer tournament on the planet with only the FIFA World Cup receiving more viewership.

Who is playing in Euro 2024?

The 24 teams that qualified are divided into six groups of four. The tournament features giant teams like England, France, Germany and Spain, but also has lesser-known sides like Georgia who are competing in their first-ever European Championship.

Here’s a look at the 24 teams.

Euro 2024 groups

How does it work?

The tournament is divided into two stages: the group stage and the knockout stage. 

Starting on June 14 the group stage begins and will see each team play three games against the respective teams in their group.

A team is given three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for losses.

The group stage will conclude on June 26. The teams that finish No. 1 and No. 2 in their groups automatically advance to the knockout stage. Teams that finish third in their groups still have a chance to advance as the four best third-placed teams will also advance to the knockout stages.

The knockout stages begin on June 29. The bracket will feature single-game eliminations until two teams remain with the final scheduled for July 14.

Who are the favorites?

Italy are the defending champions after winning Euro 2020 (played in 2021 due to Covid). The odds makers have Italy as one of the favorites to win the tournament but not the highest.

Favorites to win (in order): England, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

If you want to root for a team to win it all then we suggest picking one of the six teams listed above. If you’re looking for an underdog with a smaller chance of lifting the trophy, then we suggest picking Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark or Belgium.

If you’re more of dark horse vibe then we recommend cheering for Turkey, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary or Scotland.

If teams with no chance of winning the tournament are your style, then look forward to watching Georgia, Albania, Slovenia, Romania or Slovakia.

Who are the best players?

Part of what makes the European Championship one of the most-watched tournaments in the world is the number of superstars that compete. Euro 2024 will be no exception as a litany of talent will be on display.

Embed from Getty Images

Here are some big names to remember for the tournament.

  • Kylian Mbappé (France)
  • Jude Bellingham (England)
  • Harry Kane (England)
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
  • Lamine Yamal (Spain)
  • Jamal Musiala (Germany)
  • Rodri (Spain)
  • Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
  • Antoine Griezmann (France)
  • Federico Chiesa (Italy)
  • Phil Foden (England)
  • Toni Kroos (Germany)
  • Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
  • Luka Modric (Croatia)
  • Antonio Rudiger (Germany)

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