In the world of football, the European Championships is one of the leading events for both fans and players. In a year when the World Cup isn't taking place, the one international event that piques the interest of the masses is the European Football Championships which means live streaming options go through the roof. Thanks to the advent of modern technology, online punters can now watch their favourite players and teams compete directly through their browser. Whether it's a preliminary round between England and France, or the final match of the tournament, live Euro Championship streams are now available to everyone with an Internet enabled device.
As an event, the European Championships has been in action since 1960. Founded and controlled by UEFA, the competition was designed to find the best international team in continental Europe. Under the banner, the UEFA European Nations Cup, the event initially welcomed 17 teams which first competed in a series of qualifying rounds.
After whittling down the number of teams down to four, the competition then came to a conclusion in France when the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia in the final 2-1. Despite part of the initial tournament being marred by political tension, the event as a whole was deemed a success and four years later the next event got underway in 1964.
After tweaking the format from the first event, the organisers decided to allow 29 teams to take part in the 1964 tournament. Again, some political tension between some teams caused withdrawals in the preliminary rounds, but the overall reception of the event was, once again, positive.
Following successful tournaments in the sixties and seventies, UEFA expanded the tournament in 1980 to allow eight teams to compete in the finals. Up from four, the new format included a group stage before the remaining teams were pitted against each other in a knockout format.
The next expansion for the European Championships took place in 1996. With the popularity of the tournament now reaching new heights, UEFA increased the number of teams in the final stage to 16. This increase proved highly successful for the next decade, but when Euro 2016 gets underway there will be 24 teams in the tournament. Although some countries, including England and Germany, opposed the latest expansion, the decision was eventually taken to allow 20 more teams than the original European Championship when it took place in 1960.
As a mark of respect to Henri Delaunay, the original General Secretary who first came up with the concept of the European Championship, today's winner's trophy is named the Herni Delaunay Trophy.
After undergoing a remodelling in 2008 to make it larger than domestic trophies (to emphasis its importance), the winner's trophy is now seen as one of the most physically impressive trinkets in the football world.
Since the original tournament back in 1960, the Euro Championships has seen a host of winners from all around Europe. Although the Soviet Union was the first ever country to win the event, that maiden victory would be the only time it would lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
However, despite the Soviet Union's inability to win more than one title, there have been a number of multiple-time champions in the past. West Germany was the first time to win two Championship titles. In fact, after claiming gold in 1972 and 1980 under the banner of West Germany, representatives of Deutschland would then go on to win again in 1996 as a unified Germany.
Also lifting the trophy more than once in recent years and the most successful team in the event's history is Spain. An outright win in the second ever Euro Championships in 1964 was then followed up by back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2012.
The 15th incarnation of the event will be known as Euro 2016 and take place in France (after the country was favoured over Turkey and Italy in the annual voting). Traditionally a summer festival, the European Championship has welcomed 16 teams since 1996. However, this dynamic has been changed for Euro 2016.
Under the new format, 24 teams (whittled down from 53) from across the continent, will compete in ten cities across France. Owing to France's rich heritage as a football nation, there's already a network of world class stadiums ready to host the tournament, including the Stade de France, Stade Velodrome and Parc des Princes.
Having a network of high quality venues means Euro 2016 will be one of the leading football festivals of the last century. Indeed, when France hosted the World Cup in 1998 it was one of the best received events in the modern era and stands as a testament to the country's football credentials. Euro 2016 will add to this storied history and further cement France's reputation as a fantastic football nation.
Aside from France's ability to host football events, Euro 2016 promises to be an exciting occasions because of the increased number of teams on display and the slightly altered format. Because Euro 2016 will host 24 of Europe's finest football outfits, the preliminary rounds will be contested using a min-league format. In total, six groups consisting of four teams will determine which sides progress into the knockout rounds.
From a fans' perspective, moreover a betting perspective, the use of the group format is great because it means more games, more drama and, importantly, less predictably. By pitting teams against each other in a league setting it helps create a dynamic that knockout rounds can't match. Possible outcomes, mathematical considerations and ever-changing tactics all come into play when a league format is in place and that makes games a lot more interesting and engaging.
Given the amount of action set to take place in the Euro Championship, virtual broadcasters have a plethora of options when UEFA Euro 2016 gets underway. Although previous years have given live streaming platforms the ability to show matches via the Internet, Euro 2016 will be the first time modern users will have access to uninterrupted HD streams.
When you navigate to PlayLiveStream.com and scroll through the list of daily, weekly and monthly options, you'll be shown the teams set to compete, the time the match will get underway and a link to the action. By clicking the necessary link before the start time, the software will kick into life and the video link will begin automatically.
Having a glut of matches packed into a short period of time means that organising a live streaming schedule isn't easy. To ensure that football fans get the best service possible, PlayLiveStream breaks everything down into days and times. Through a series of tabs and links, users can sort through dozens of matches and pick out the ones that most take their fancy.
Of course, given the capabilities of live streaming services, it's possible to run more than one match at once. Naturally, splitting your attention between two or more matches isn't easy; however, if you're someone that's interested in betting on Euro 2016 then this option is fantastic.
In fact, betting on UEFA Euro 2016 is almost as popular as watching the event. Thanks to the symbiotic relationship between live online football streams and online betting markets, fans of the game can now ante-up and watch the action with the utmost ease.
Unlike the old days when someone would have to read a newspaper, visit the local betting shop and then watch the action unfold via their TV, it's now possible to do everything in a single platform. Through a combination of expert analysis and tables of stats, football fans can get an insight into the likely favourites for each match in Euro 2016, and then find an online bookmaker and ante-up.
After you've placed your bets and settled in for a game, you can then click on any of the live stream links of PlayLiveStream.com to get crystal clear video of all the action in stunning HD quality.
In a time when the World Cup isn't taking place, UEFA's European Championship is "the" event in the football world. Taking place every four years and welcoming the best teams Europe, moreover the world, the tournament is a chance for football fans to see their favourite players compete for one of the most prestigious titles in the game.
Moreover, on a domestic level, the event is a chance for managers to scope out the latest and greatest talent for their team. In years gone by the game's top managers have taken the top performers in the tournament and turned them into domestic heroes in leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
Beyond those involved in the game on an intimate level, the European Football Championship is a chance for fans to watch, speculate and enjoy the best sporting action in the world. Indeed, thanks to live online streaming services, all this action is now available at the touch of a button.