As I write this Portugal have just been crowned champions of Europe but lets be honest it hasn’t been a great tournament, the number of truly exciting games can probably be counted on one hand. There have been some great goals and brilliant individual performances but I have a feeling Euro 2016 will be remembered as the tournament where no one tried to lose rather than try to win.
So what can be done? Well it seems ridiculous that by finishing third in your group it was possible to qualify for the knockout rounds so a format re-jig seems a must do. What does UEFA do with a 24 team tournament, stick with it? Decrease to 16 teams? Or increase to 32 teams? Well lets be honest a 16 team tournament is never going to happen ever again because 8 less teams means 20 less games (a 16 team Euro 2012 had 31 games compared to 51 games in a 24 team Euro 2016) and fewer games means a big drop in income so that is the end of that. Does UEFA increase the tournament to 32 teams? I certainly hope not because with Kosovo recently becoming UEFA’s 55th member we would be faced with a situation were it virtually impossible for any half decent team not to be able to reach the finals because a country could probably finish 4th in their qualifying group and still progress.
My solution? Stick with 24 teams but change the format. The on the pitch stuff during the Euro’s might not have been great but the fans of Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Iceland et al have certainly enhanced the tournament and I would hate for “smaller” countries to have that carrot taken away from them by reducing the tournament size (which as I’ve already explained probably won’t happen) So how would I change the European Championship? Well this tournament has shown a format consisting of 6 groups of 4 does not work because it encourages many teams to play in a negative style so I would change to 8 groups of 3, I would also get rid of the last 16 so only the 8 group winners would qualify for the quarter finals. I can understand that many might see that one team in every group would not play during the last round of group fixtures and that would be a disadvantage but I believe it’d force teams to play attacking football in order to win games because 4-6 points from 2 games would almost certainly be enough to win the group so any team that wins their opening two games would have no disadvantage at all if they didn’t play during the last round of group fixtures. An 8×3 group format is the only way I can think of right now that would make every game in a 24 team tournament a must win game and reduce the negativity that has plagued Euro 2016 and after all isn’t it the duty of the teams to provide somekind of entertainment for the fans?
I don’t suppose UEFA big wigs read random WordPress blogs but just incase they do get in tough because right now I might just be able to help out.