The cancellation of Euro 2020 was a disappointment to football fans across the globe. This much-anticipated tournament is a highlight of the sporting calendar. It brings together some of the best teams and greatest players in the world and always features grudge matches, huge clashes, and some big surprise knockouts along the way.
When UEFA announced Euro 2020 would definitely go ahead this summer, a global cheer went out. The pandemic may still be among us, but football fans everywhere can still catch all the action and excitement from this year’s tournament.
Welcome to Euro 2021 — or is that Euro 2020 2.0?!
Having competed in qualifying matches throughout 2019 and 2020, 24 teams have made it through to Euro 2021. Between them, they’ll compete in a total of 51 matches spread over a month.
To celebrate the competition’s 60-year history, matches will be held across 12 countries instead of the usual one or two. Euro 2021 kicks off in the Olimpico Stadium, Rome on June 11, and culminates in the final on July 11 at Wembley Stadium, London.
Of course, ongoing travel restrictions and changes to border policies mean that getting to matches and fan zones is different in each nation. According to The Telegraph, “A fan zone for up to 12,500 supporters to watch England’s Euro 2021 matches on outdoor screens is being planned for Trafalgar Square.”
But we also know that this is contingent on the UK staying on track with its COVID-19 roadmap. Nevertheless, there’s no need to miss the action, even if that means watching from your living room, more on that later, but for now, here’s the group stages:
Round one, or the group stage, features six groups of four teams. The four teams compete against each other in this league-style round, with each match-winner being awarded three points. If the match finishes in a draw, each team receives one point.
Teams already know who they’ll face during this stage, and there are already matches that every fan should have in their viewing schedule.
- England vs. Croatia: June 13
- France vs. Germany: June 15
- England vs. Scotland: June 18
- Portugal vs. Germany: June 19
- Russia vs. Denmark: June 21
- Portugal vs. France: June 23
These matches should be exciting viewing and could throw up more than a few surprises.
Round of 16, quarters, semis, and final
The top two teams from each group move into the second round of 16, along with the four best third-place finishers. This round is a knockout tournament where there has to be a winner of each match. If the score is drawn after 90 minutes, the match goes to extra time and then penalties.
Winners progress to one of the four quarter-finals and then to the semi-finals. After the semis, the final two teams will fight it out in the final and one of them will be crowned champion of Europe.
How to watch Euro 2021 online
The Euros always attracts hundreds of thousands of fans from across the world. UEFA estimates that almost 2.5 million spectators attended the tournament in 2016.
2021’s tournament is going to be very different. With 12 host nations this year, players will travel between venues. However, Covid-19 is still creating havoc throughout Europe with lockdowns and travel restrictions still affecting many places. Some countries have announced that they will allow a reduced number of fans into stadiums — as long as the situation remains stable.
So, with most fans unable to travel to cheer on their favorite team in person, millions will be turning to the internet to watch online instead.
A variety of broadcasters around the world have been awarded the rights to show some or all of the 51 games from this year’s tournament. Some of the best free streaming options include:
- France: TFI, M6
- UK: ITV, BBC
- Switzerland: Zattoo
- Italy: RAI
- Germany: ARD, ZDF
In the US, fans can catch the live action on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. Paid subscription services such as Hulu and YouTube TV will also be streaming coverage from these three networks.
If you’re based outside of these countries, you’ll need a VPN to access the streams. A VPN allows you to select a server located in the country of the provider, log onto its website or download its app, and stream the feeds live. And as an added bonus, it will help keep your device secure while you’re online.
It may be 364 days later than initially planned, but Euro 2021 will finally kick off on June 11. For fans, it’s been a long time coming, and, thanks to technology, we can all watch every exciting moment. So, download a VPN, log on, and cheer on your team without leaving home.