Originally written on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 10/3/14
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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