Euro 2016: 14 interesting facts and firsts

by Dolapo Adelana

UEFA Euro 2016 kicked off on Friday June 10, in France with 24 participating teams for the first time in its history.

The European football championship had for the past decades adopted a 16-team format.

This year, aside the top two teams from each group making it through to the next round, four other teams would join them based on points gathered.

The top scorers at the championship so far are Dmitri Payet (France), Gareth Bale (Wales), and Bogdan Stancu (Romania) whom all have two goals each.

Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthórsson and Hungarian, Richárd Guzmics are the speedsters of the tournament so far – with both covering 32km/h.

Ukraine’s 31-year goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is the tournament’s top shot stopper with 12 saves.

He is closely followed by 32-year-old Iceland keeper Hannes Halldórsson who has 10 saves.

Euro1Below are some other interesting facts:

  1. Granit and Taulant Xhaka became the first brothers to play for opposing sides in European Championship history, in the game between Switzerland and Albania.
  2. England won a game at a major tournament for the first time – after being behind at half-time.
  3. Marcus Rashford became the youngest player to play at the Euros for England aged 18 years 228 days, 4 days younger than Wayne Rooney in 2004 (v France).
  4. Admir Mehmedi became the first Swiss player to have scored both at the World Cup and at the EUROs.
  5. Slovakia’s Vladimir Weiss is the first player playing outside-of-Europe (Al-Gharafa in the Qatar Stars League) to score a goal in the EUROs.
  6. Hungary’s goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, aged 40 years, 74 days became the oldest player to feature at the European Championships.
  7. Italy’s starting XI v Belgium is the oldest of any country in the history of the European Championship (31 years, 169 days).
  8. Robbie Keane became the oldest outfield player to play for Ireland at the EUROs (35 years and 11 months)
  9. Ireland has the oldest average squad age (29 years 297, days) of the 24 teams at EURO 2016.
  10. Oleksandr Zinchenko (19 years, 179 days) is the youngest ever player to represent Ukraine at a major tournament.
  11. Arek Milik (22 years, 104 days) is the youngest ever goal scorer for Poland at a European Championship.
  12. Gareth Bale is the first British player to score a direct free kick in a European Championship finals game.
  13. This is the first time Albania has qualified for a major tournament.
  14. Kingsley Coman is the youngest player to play for France in a major tournament (19 years, 362 days).

Fact Sources: Opta and UEFA.

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