The main competition of the national teams held under the direction of UEFA. The competition is held each 4 years, since 1960, and takes place between the World Cups. Originally the tournament was called the Cup of the European nations, and in 1968 the name was replaced with the European Football Championship, and the tournament has received the official status.
Final tournaments of the European championships are held time in 4 years, however together with qualifying tournament it proceeds 2 years. 50 teams participated in selection competitions of the European championship of 2008. 24 teams participate in final tournament which takes place time in 4 years within month in in advance chosen country hostess of the championship: 23 teams which have acquired such right following the results of qualifying tournament and the national team of the country hostess (in 2000, 2008 and 2012 two countries when still the format of tournament was limited to 16 teams were hosts of the championship). USSR national team became the first owner of the European cup.