Soccer

Platini: 'Less drama' in Euro 2016 group stage

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WARSAW, Poland (AP)

UEFA President Michel Platini has acknowledged that the next European Championship group stage will be ''less dramatic'' with 24 teams.

Euro 2012 is praised for a 16-team format which opposes high-ranked teams from the start of the 31-match tournament.

A simple format sends the top two from each 4-team group into the quarterfinals.

Euro 2016 in France will have 24 teams, with top countries probably spread across six groups and playing more middle-ranked teams.

Four third-place teams would then advance, creating a natural knockout bracket.

Platini says it ''will be less dramatic in the groups, but then you have a round-of-16 knockout stage.''

UEFA approved an expansion plan proposed by Scotland and Ireland, who seldom qualify.



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