After seemingly endless build-up, it’s now only a matter of days until the 2016 European Championships get underway, when France take on Romania. The tournament hasn’t been kind to host nations down the years, but if there’s one nation who love to play a major finals on home soil, it’s Les Blues.
Since the tournament expanded to eight teams and group stages in 1980, only one of those nine events has been won by the home nation.
And of course, that was France in 1984, and they can also put their 1998 World Cup win in the ‘How to succeed as hosts’ guidebook.
The last two Euros have seen hosting duties shared, but neither Ukraine or Poland in 2012, or Austria or Switzerland in 2008 advanced beyond the group stage.
Portugal seemingly had it in the bag in 2004, only to come unstuck versus pre-tournament outsiders Greece in one of football’s biggest shocks.
The Netherlands were well-fancied in 2000 as they shared welcoming duties with Belgium, but the Dutch again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy at the last four stage.
The same fate, of course, befell England 20 years ago, while Sweden in 1992 and West Germany in 1988 also came a cropper in the semi finals.
But France come alive when hosts, and two of their three major tournament wins have come on home soil.
Even if you look at the last nine World Cups, only one host nation has gone on to win it, and of course, that’s the French in ’98.
So of the last 18 major tournaments, only twice has it been won by the hosts. France clearly have a knack for this.
Didier Deschamps men aren’t without their own issues, but with some of the best attacking players on the continent, they’re sure to be well-backed at 16/5 to claim yet another tournament win in their own surroundings.
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