Spain v Italy - UEFA EURO 2012 Final Spain v Italy - UEFA EURO 2012 Final Juan Mata of Spain scores against Gianluigi Buffon of Italy during the UEFA European Championships in 2012. Spain would go on to win. (Photo: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images)

Countries bid to host games in 2020 Euro soccer tournament

Competition is fierce even before the playing begins.

Soccer's 2020 European Championship is still six years away, but countries are already lining up to host games in the highly anticipated tournament. Governed by the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), the tourney will pit 24 teams against each other in matches throughout Europe. The finals and semi-finals will take place in London's Wembley Stadium or Munich's Allianz Arena.

Nineteen countries - including Israel, Denmark, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales and others - are bidding to host one of 13 different group-stage match packages.

Israel hosted 2013's European Under-21 Championship, which was a huge success for the country's soccer program, but has never hosted a major tournament like 2020's European Championship. France is already set to host the 2016 tournament.

"We are extremely happy to have received so many bids to host UEFA EURO 2020," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "The 60th-year anniversary edition of the tournament will be an historic one, with matches played in many European countries."

Spreading the tournament throughout Europe is an unusual, but innovative, way to present what are sure to be some of 2020's best matches.

"Member associations will also benefit greatly from this format, since more of them will be exposed to an elite tournament and have the opportunity to increase the development of football in their respective countries," continued Platini. "I wish all the candidates the best of luck in this bidding process."

The UEFA Executive Committee will make its final decision on the 13 hosting countries for the 2020 tournament on Sept. 19 in Geneva.

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Countries bid to host games in 2020 Euro soccer tournament
Soccer's 2020 European Championship is still six years away, but countries are lining up and bidding to host games in the highly-anticipated tournament.