Euro 2012 Home advantage

Host nations do not need to worry about the fusses of qualification. Is this a good thing though? During qualification you have time for your team that you will hopefully be seeing at the tournament to gel as a unit and get used to the manager’s tactics.

The hosts of the tournament have won the tournament in their own country 3 times; the first of these was in 1964 when Spain were victorious on home soil. The second was directly after in 1968 when the Italian’s emerged victorious at home, the last nation to do so was France a staggering 24 years ago.

How big a factor is home advantage?

Since then the fates of home nations have been extremely varied, ranging from Portugal coming runner-up on home soil, to Belgium crashing out in the group stages in 2000. Home nations obviously benefit from the great support they will receive by their fans. The amounts of travelling fans though are increasing and while it’s unlikely that a travelling side will outnumber the home nation the difference is noticeable lately.

Having the home advantage as earlier mentioned does mean that the fuss of qualifying is avoided, so at least there is less pressure on the manager before the tournament as many managers will lose their jobs over poor qualifying performances. Meaning that for the finals a new manager is instated, which can go one of two ways, either under the new manager they will have a new lease of life, or they will crash and burn. Simple really!

Hosts though have a habit of being knocked out in the semi-finals. Good examples being West Germany in 1988 when they were knocked out by eventual winners Holland. Another example of the hosts falling short are Sweden who were knocked out in the semi’s by runners-up West Germany when the tournament was held in Sweden in 1992.

As far as it goes the hosts normally have mixed luck in the competition, with Ukraine and Poland however little is known of how they will perform, Ukraine have been strong in recent friendlies while Poland have struggled to find form. How they will do at their very first tournament is another thing altogether.