The 2020 edition of the European Football Championship kicks off on Friday.
Postponed a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held, for
the first time, in several cities members of UEFA. Overall, 11 cities will be
hosting matches, from Glasgow to Baku, from Saint Petersburg to Seville. The opening
match, hosted by Rome, will be pitting Italy against Turkey in Group A. Sunday,
June 13, will see the first match hosted by Bucharest. Austria will be playing
North Macedonia in Group C, a group also including the Netherlands and Ukraine.
In total, Bucharest will host 4 matches. Ukraine will play North Macedonia on
June 17, then on June 21 Ukraine will take on Austria. The other matches in
Group C will be played in Amsterdam. The last match hosted by Bucharest will be
in the round of 16, to be played on June 28.
All games will be played on
National Arena Stadium, the largest in Romania, with a total capacity of 55,600
seats, of which a maximum of 13,000 will be made available for the match. For EURO
2020, the stadium has undergone certain changes. Several technical areas have
been modernized and the playing field was changed. The authorities also rennovated
three stadiums in Bucharest where teams will be carrying out their pre-match
training sessions: Steaua stadium, a place of legend for Romanian football fans,
Triumphal Arch Stadium, which usually hosts matches of the Romanian national rugby
squad, and finally, Valentin Stănescu stadium, the home
stadium of Rapid Bucharest, which is still undergoing modernization works. North
Macedonia will train on Steaua Stadium, Austria on Triumphal Arch stadium and
Ukraine will be training on Anghel Iordănescu Stadium in Voluntari, close to Bucharest.
Let us further note that had
it qualified to EURO 2020, Romania would have played at least two of its
matches in front of its own fans. Romania failed to qualify after ranking 4th
in preliminary Group F. They were outranked by Spain, Sweden and Norway, but
finished ahead of the Faeroe Islands and Malta. Following the results our team
obtained in Nations League, the new European inter-nation competition, Romania had
another shot at securing qualification to EURO 2020 by playing a playoff match
against Iceland. Our team lost 2-1. Big-league football will come to Bucharest,
but unfortunately, Romanians will be watching from the stands or in front of
their TVs. (VP)