Stade de France to host France’s Euro 2016 opener
PARIS (AP) — Host France will play its first match of the 2016 European Championship at Stade de France, where the final and five other matches will also be played.
Every team will rotate and play their three group games in different stadiums during Euro 2016, organizers said on Friday.
Stade de France, which hosted the 1998 World Cup final when France beat Brazil 3-0, has the most games during the June 10-July 10 event.
Six matches will be played in Lille, Lyon and Marseille, five in Bordeaux and the Parc des Princes in Paris, and four in Lens, Nice, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille and Stade de France will host a quarterfinal each, and the semifinals will be held in Marseille and Lyon.
It is the first Euro with the expanded 24-team format.
The final games in each group will be played at the same time. The group winner and the team finishing second can meet again only if they reach the final, and there will be at least two days between matches in each stadium to help preserve the quality of the playing surface.
The government will invest 160 million euros ($220 million) to help complete the renovation of stadiums.
UEFA president Michel Platini, who is French, was at the news conference at the FFF headquarters. He confirmed he would be there for France’s opening group game.
“I will most certainly be there,” he said. “In what function, I don’t know ... maybe as a volunteer.”
Platini, who is also a FIFA vice president, has been touted as a potential successor to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is considering whether to stand for a fifth term next year.
France won the past two tournaments it hosted, with midfield great Platini starring with nine goals in six matches when France won the European Championship in 1984.
“The pressure isn’t the same when you’re playing (away) or at home,” Platini said. “You have to win it when you’re at home. They’ll do well at the 2014 World Cup and there will be big pressure to win it here.”
All teams have total freedom to choose their training camps. A catalog featuring 50 possible training bases will be made available after the World Cup in Brazi.
Tickets for Euro 2016 will be on sale from next spring.