The Women’s European Championship finds its roots in the early 1980s, when women’s football was making its decisive steps towards the international stage, after a long period of creating the fundamental building blocks across different countries.
With special focus on the Azzurre, they have so far taken part in nine of the 12 tournament editions that have been held. The initial competition was played every two years and saw an initial period of qualifying allow for four teams to progress. The semi-finals would then take place, before a two-legged final would then eventually crown the winner. During the first edition won by Sweden back in 1984, Italy managed to advance to the tournament’s final four, although ultimately finished third alongside Denmark. The following competition saw yet another third-place finish, although this time they independently secured Bronze after overcoming England. The tournament was granted official UEFA status back in 1991 and so arrived the best results achieved by Italy. The Azzurre finished second in both 1993 and 1997, with the latter edition including an increased eight teams for the first time ever. This alteration saw the emergence of two groups, along with the decision to change the tournament to every four years rather than two. The 2009 European Championship was the first time the competition had consisted of 12 teams, who were then split up into three groups. This was also the case for the 2013 edition in Sweden.
The 12th edition, scheduled to take place in the Netherlands from 16th July to August 6th, will be the first version to include a grand total of 16 teams, who will when be divided into four groups. The first two sides from each group will make the quarter-finals. Antonio Cabrini’s Azzurre are in Group D alongside Germany (the tournament’s most decorated team with a total of eight continental titles), Russia and Sweden (winners of the previous tournament). Italy will make their debut on Monday 17th July at 18:00 CEST against Russia at Sparta Stadium in Rotterdam.