FIFA approved the formation of continental football associations at its Extraordinary Congress in Paris in 1953 and UEFA was duly formed on 15 June 1954. By the following year the European Champion Clubs’ Cup was brought into being and by 1956 the groundwork got under way for a competition for the continent’s national teams. Two years later, the first-ever qualifying matches for the European Nations’ Cup began to take place, with 16 teams taking part
The format for the first competition remained in place for some time. Early rounds were played over two legs, home-and-away, on a knockout basis until the semi-finals, which were then played in a host country. Given the effort that Henri Delaunay of the French Football Federation had put into UEFA and European football generally, and this tournament in particular, it was appropriate that in the summer of 1960 the first European Championship Finals – named the European Nations’ Cup – were held in France. The trophy itself is still named after him.