Well, in seven days starts the Euro 2004 in Portugal, that means that during two weeks, Portugal will be soccer crazy and a very caotic place to be in.
I enclose some information regarding the event. To all the football fans, I hope you enjoy the tornament.
The UEFA European Championship started in the late 1950's as the European Nations Cup.
The Soviet Union played Yugoslavia in the first Final in Paris for the Henri Delaunay trophy - the Soviets winning 2-1.
Henry Delaunay - a French soccer administrator was responsible for encouraging european competitions - and the European Championship trophy is still presented in his honor.
In 1968 the competition's name was changed to the European Football Championship and a group format introduced for qualifying matches.
Over the years several qualifying formats were tried and discarded - until the adoption in 1996 of sixteen teams broken into four groups of four qualifying for the final round.
In the 1996 tournament held in England, Germany defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 with the first 'golden goal'to settle a European Championship Final.
The participation of World class soccer giants such as Spain, Italy, England, France and Holland ensures that the European Championship comes second only to the World Cup in terms of soccer prestige.
The present holder of the title is France - who in 2000 became the first reigning World Cup holders to win the European Championship.
France beat Italy 2-1 after regular time ended tied at 1-1 - Sylvain Wiltord netting a last-gasp equaliser for France in injury time.
David Trezeguet scored a golden winning goal in overtime.
The 2004 competition is hosted by Portugal, and the following nations have reached the final qualifying round:
France, Portugal, England, Spain, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Switzerland.
The Final is on 4 July 2004 and will be played in Lisbon.
A record number of suspected England hooligans will be banned from Euro 2004 as police aim to ensure it is remembered for football, not violence.
Nearly 2,700 people are subject to banning orders or bail conditions stopping them travelling to Portugal next month, the Home Office says.
During Euro 2000, the number of banning orders in place was just 100.
Police will have officers at ports and airports at home and abroad on the look-out for known hooligans.
The Home Office said stepping up the use of banning orders was part of the most extensive multi-agency plan for an overseas football tournament in UK history.
Some 50,000 to 60,000 people are expected to travel to watch England's matches, but it is not just the known trouble-makers who will be barred.
A team of Portuguese immigration and border police will be stationed in England during the tournament, speeding up decision-making by the Portuguese authorities on whether to allow fans into the country.
British officers will advise Portuguese immigration officials at points of entry in Portugal.
From midnight on Tuesday, border controls scrapped in 1991 were restored by Portugal, as part of its security measures in the run up to the championships, which start on 12 June. The move was formally approved several weeks ago, prompted by concerns about both hooliganism and terrorism.
Police accept that with an estimated 200,000 British holidaymakers also in Portugal next month, there is bound to be some drunken violence, although not necessarily directly linked to football.
But they say that if the threat of football violence does flare up at England's matches in Lisbon or Coimbra, a different type of policing will be seen to that of previous Euro finals.
Police are keen to stress that they consider the vast majority of England fans going to Portugal as genuine, law-abiding supporters who do not want to be tarnished by the shame any hooligans could bring on English football.
Uefa, European football's governing body, has threatened to ban England from European competition if there is a repeat of previous violence.
[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-06-05 11:19]
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