Platini: 'Less drama' in Euro 2016 group stage
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.