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Euro 2024: What you need to know

June 5, 2024

The men's European Football Championship is the biggest sporting event to be hosted by Germany since the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Who are the favorites? Where are the games? And what is the security situation?

An official Uefa Euro 2024 football is seen on a pitch
Euro 2024 is taking place across 10 stadiums in GermanyImage: Alessio Marini/IPA Sport/ZUMAPRESS.com/picture alliance

Who are the favorites?

The bookmakers have 2020 Euro runners-up England as favorites ahead of World Cup runners-up France and hosts Germany. Defending champions Italy are only sixth in the betting.

Albania, Slovakia and European Championship newcomers Georgia look to be the biggest outsiders.

Based on the FIFA world rankings, the title should go to France, who are No. 2 behind world champions Argentina. The best-placed Euro 2024 participants behind them are Belgium (3rd), England (4th) and Portugal (6th). Germany (16th) are currently only the ninth-best team in Europe according to the rankings. Debutants Georgia (75th) are the lowest-ranked European Championship participants.

Which format will be used?

The tournament format is the same as the last two men's Euros, with 24 nations taking part. Initially, four teams will play each other in six groups. The group winners and runners-up, as well as the four best third-placed teams, advance to the round of 16. If teams in the same group are on the same points, the first tiebreaker is the head-to-head result of the two teams. If two third-placed teams in different groups are tied on points, goal difference comes into play.

The knockout system then continues through the quarterfinals and semifinals to the final. If there is no winner in the 90 minutes, knockout games are decided via two 15-minute periods of extra time or a penalty shootout.

Albärt, the Euros mascot, walking around the pitch during a Germany friendly game
Albärt is the mascot for Euro 2024 in GermanyImage: Arne Dedert/dpa/picture alliance

Where will the games be played?

There are a total of 10 venues for the 51 matches. The Olympiastadion in Berlin (71,000 spectators), Munich (66,000) and Dortmund (62,000) will host the most matches, namely six. In Berlin, the largest of the 10 stadiums, a quarterfinal, a round of 16 match and three group matches are on the program in addition to the final on July 14. Euro 2024 opens on June 14 in Munich with the match between Germany and Scotland.

Five matches each are scheduled in stadiums in Stuttgart (51,000), Hamburg (49,000), Düsseldorf (47,000), Frankfurt (47,000) and Cologne (43,000), and four each in Leipzig (40,000) and Gelsenkirchen (50,000). Düsseldorf is the one city that did not host games at the 2006 men's World Cup.Nuremberg, Hanover and Kaiserslautern miss out this time.

Where can fans watch matches outside stadiums?

There will be fan zones in all host cities, where the matches will be shown on big screens. Admission to the fan zones and other public viewing areas is free. As was the case during the 2006 World Cup, tens of thousands of football fans are expected to gather at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in Munich's Olympic Park or on the banks of the Main river in Frankfurt to watch the games together. A huge artifical "pitch" for fans to stand on has already been laid out on the avenue leading to the Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin's Brandenburg Gate fan zone is seen covered in green astroturf
Berlin's Brandenburg Gate fan zone can accommodate about 30.000 spectatorsImage: Wolfgang Maria Weber/dpa/picture alliance

What is the security situation?

"The security of the European Football Championship in our country is a top priority," German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. "The police will have a strong presence at all venues and wherever there are large numbers of people."

Border controls are planned during the tournament. Above all, the security authorities are aiming to prevent terrorists and hooligans from entering Germany. The British government, for example, has imposed an exit ban on 1,600 fans deemed as potentially violent for the duration of the European Championship.

Germany's Federal Police, who are responsible for the borders, will have about 22,000 officers on duty across the country every day. They will also be supported by several hundred colleagues from abroad. Cooperation with the French security forces is particularly close — also in view of the two major sporting events in Paris after the European Championship — the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) and the Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8).

According to the German Interior Ministry, the security risk will be reassessed every day. No matter how tight the security, terrorist attacks or other acts of violence cannot be ruled out.

This was demonstrated in 2023, when a terrorist shot two Sweden fans in Brussels on the sidelines of the Euro qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden. In 2015, suicide bombers struck outside France's match with Germany in Paris as part of the wider attacks that rocked the French capital.

This article was originally published in German.