Euro Opening Ceremony: A ranked list of the most entertaining opening ceremonies over the years

Euro Opening Ceremony: A ranked list of the most entertaining opening ceremonies over the years

Kenneth Mwenda
June 13, 2024 at 10:44 AM
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UEFA European Championship logo
Germany logo
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France U23 logo
France U23
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UEFA Euro 2024 will be held from 14 June to 14 July 2024. As expected, fans eagerly anticipate the Euro opening ceremony, wondering if it will be one of the most vibrant yet. Millions of people watch the event globally as players defend their national team colours.

Euro opening ceremonies
The Euro 1996 opening ceremony (L), Uefa Euro 2020 (R), and Michel Platini and William Ayache during Euro 1984 (C). Photo: Neal Simpson, Andrea Staccioli, Jean-Yves Ruszniewski
Source: Getty Images

Table of Сontents:

Opening ceremonies are among the most exciting forms of entertainment in any competition, and Euro 2024 promises even better. To celebrate this event, we have compiled a list of the best Euros opening ceremonies ever witnessed by football fans.

Top 10 iconic Euro opening ceremonies








Parc des Princes



Austria & Switzerland

St. Jakob-Park




Estádio do Dragão




Wembley Stadium



West Germany




Belgium & Netherlands

King Baudouin Stadium



Poland & Ukraine

National Stadium




Stade de France




Råsunda Stadium




Stadio Olimpico

The UEFA European Championship, also known as the Euro, has a storied history of not just nail-biting football duels but also stunning opening ceremonies. These ceremonies kick off the tournament and bring out a mixture of cultures, music, and dance. In this article, we are giving you the top 10 most phenomenal opening ceremonies.

10. Euro 1984

Michel Platini and William Ayache during the Euro 1984
Michel Platini from France celebrates scoring a goal with William Ayache (R) during a first-round European Championship (Euro 1984) match against Denmark. Photo: Jean-Yves Ruszniewski
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: France
  • City: Paris
  • Venue: Parc des Princes
  • Teams: 8

The Euro 1984 opening ceremony in Paris, which took place in Parc des Princes, was modest compared to later tournaments but set a precedent for future events. At the very beginning, France played Denmark, but the French emerged as the winners.

9. Euro 2008

Artists at St. Jakob-Park in Basel
Artists are pictured during the opening ceremony ahead of the Euro 2008 at St. Jakob-Park on June 7, 2008 in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: Ian Walton
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: BaselAustria and Switzerland
  • City: Basel
  • Venue: St. Jakob-Park
  • Teams: 16

Switzerland kicked off Euro 2008 with an Alpine-themed opening ceremony in Basel, complete with mock-up mountain scenes and waltzes. Nearly 1,000 performers from 13 countries participated before the opening match between co-hosts Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Celebrities and politicians from Europe watched as giant model cows and skiers moved among 800 multi-coloured cubes, which volunteers turned to represent the changing seasons in the Alps.

8. Euro 2004

Portuguese performers at Dragao stadium
Portuguese performers hold blue flags during the Euro 2004 opening ceremony on 12 June 2004 at Dragao stadium in Porto. Photo: Lluis Gene
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: Portugal
  • City: Porto
  • Venue: Estádio do Dragão
  • Teams: 16

Portugal's 2004 ceremony highlighted the country's maritime history, with ship replicas and performers dressed as explorers. The theme paid homage to Portugal's heritage and set a festive tone for the games.

7. Euro 1996

The Euro 1996 opening ceremony
The Euro 1996 opening ceremony in London's Wembley Stadium on June 08, 1996. Photo: Neal Simpson
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: England
  • City: London
  • Venue: Wembley
  • Teams: 16

England's Euro 1996 opening ceremony was a nostalgic trip. It included Mick Hucknall performing Simply Red's official Euro 96 song, "We're In This Together." The ceremony featured various dancers, medieval jousting, Sir Stanley Matthews, the Red Arrows, and 40,000 balloons.

It also had a 30-foot inflatable version of the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Despite its low points, the ceremony set a festive tone for the tournament.

6. Euro 1988

Opening ceremony of  Euro 1988
A ceremony before the Euro 1988 on June 10 1988. Photo: Bongarts
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: West Germany
  • City: Berlin
  • Venue: Olympiastadion
  • Teams: 8

The Euro 1988 opening ceremony in Munich was a grand affair celebrating German culture and history. Held at the Olympiastadion, it featured performances by renowned German artists, a parade of historic German figures, and a breathtaking pyrotechnics display.

The Augustinian Children's Choir from Drogheda also performed in the colourful ceremony, representing the Boys in Green in West German.

5. Euro 2000

Euro 2000's opening ceremony at King Baudouin Stadium
Euro 2000's opening ceremony before the match between Belgium and Sweden at King Baudouin Stadium on June 10, 2000, in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Michael Mayhew
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: Belgium and the Netherlands
  • City: Brussels
  • Venue: King Baudouin Stadium
  • Teams: 16

The Euro 2000 opening ceremony in Brussels was a vibrant affair. Despite lasting just 11 minutes, the ceremony at the King Baudouin Stadium was energetic and lively.

In a poignant moment, four thousand white balloons ascended inside the stadium. The stadium had been the site of a tragic event in soccer history, the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus, where 39 fans lost their lives.

The ceremony, although brief, aimed to emphasize the tournament's theme of "Football knows no boundaries." Belgium, one of the co-hosts, started the soccer championship against Sweden.

4. Euro 2012

Opening ceremony of the UEFA EURO 2012
A general view during the opening ceremony of the UEFA EURO 2012 at The National Stadium on June 8, 2012, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo: Shaun Botterill
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: Poland and Ukraine
  • City: Warsaw
  • Venue: Kazimierz Górski National Stadium
  • Teams: 16

Euro 2012 commenced with a brief but impressive opening ceremony at Poland's National Stadium. Although it lasted just a few minutes, it was one of the best opening ceremonies in the Euros.

The music and dance show in the stadium, with more than 50,000 participants, created a harmony that combined the rich cultural traditions of the two Eastern European nations. Performers moved in unison to change with the beat of pianist Adam Gyorgy's music, which featured compositions by Polish composer Frederic Chopin.

3. Euro 2016

David Guetta during Euro 2016.
David Guetta (centre in black and white) performs during the opening ceremony of Euro 2016. Photo: John Walton
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: France
  • City: Paris
  • Venue: Stade de France
  • Teams: 24

France hosted the Euros for the third time in 2016, and the opening ceremony was spectacular at the Stade de France. The event included impressive elements such as aerial performances and a special rendition of David Guetta's "This One's For You" featuring Zara Larsson.

Performers donned various eclectic costumes, including outfits resembling giant lips and lollipops. Hundreds participated in a can-can routine before the Patrouille de France jets flew across the sky, leaving red, white, and blue smoke trails above the Stade de France.

2. Euro 1992

Opening ceremony at the Rasunda Stadium
Opening ceremony held during the UEFA European Championships 1992 at the Rasunda Stadium on June 10, 1992 in Solna, Sweden. Photo: Bob Thomas Sports Photography
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: Sweden
  • City: Stockholm
  • Venue: Råsunda Stadium
  • Teams: 8

The 1992 European Championship was the last tournament to feature only eight participants. In the opening game between Sweden and France, Sweden took the lead with a header from Jan Eriksson after a corner. France equalized in the second half with a right-footed shot from Jean-Pierre Papin.

1. Euro 2020

Opening ceremony at Stadio Olimpico
Fireworks and smoke bombs are seen during the opening ceremony of the Uefa Euro 2020 European football championships at Stadio Olimpico, on 2021/06/11. Photo: Andrea Staccioli 
Source: Getty Images
  • Host: Italy
  • City: Rome
  • Venue: Stadio Olimpico
  • Teams: 24

The 2020 tournament was supposed to take place in 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed to 2021. Nevertheless, it came to have one of the most entertaining opening ceremonies in the Euros.

Its opening event was in Rome, an extraordinary global show. One moving performance in the opening was Andrea Bocelli's famous aria, "Nessun Dorma," which gave deeper feelings to the whole event.

The virtual part of the event also had a celebrated performance by Electronic Artists Martin Garrix, Bono, and The Edge. They showed a fusion of real and virtual parts in a concert, and that joy ignited the atmosphere of resilience and unity even in such frustrating times.


The concept of a European football championship was initially brought up by Henri Delaunay, the Secretary-General of the French Football Federation, in 1927. Despite this, the tournament was introduced only in 1960. Since then, many players have achieved various records.

When is the 2024 Euro opening ceremony?

Euro 2024 will kick off on Friday, June 14, at the Allianz Arena in Munich. The opening match will see hosts Germany take on Scotland.

Which country won the most Euros?

Germany and Spain hold the record for the most UEFA European Championship wins, with each country having won the tournament three times.

  • Germany: 1972, 1980, 1996
  • Spain: 1964, 2008, 2012

Which country has hosted the most Euro Championships?

France holds the record for hosting the most UEFA European Championships, having hosted the tournament three times (1960, 1984, and 2016).

Final word

Each Euros opening ceremony has brought something unique and entertaining, reflecting the host country's culture and the tournament's spirit. From the heartfelt tribute in Rome in 2020 to the nostalgic celebration in London in 1996, these ceremonies have become integral to the Euros' legacy. Will the 2024 edition live up to expectations?

READ ALSO: Euro Cup host countries list: A comprehensive list of all the countries that have hosted the Euros

Sports Brief published an article about the list of countries that have hosted the Euro Cup. Multiple nations have hosted the event since its inception in 1960, and Italy and France have hosted it numerous times. Click the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.