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Euro 2020 mascot: What is it & who are the previous finals mascots?

12:49 BST 21/06/2019
Skillzy Euro 2020
Skillzy is designed by UEFA to be a new interactive mascot, who is expected to engage fans from all walks of life

Skillzy was revealed as the UEFA Euro 2020 mascot on March 25, 2019 as part of the organisation’s ‘Your Move’ campaign.

UEFA believes it has broken new ground with regards to mascots with Skillzy, marrying the traditional life-sized mascot with a more interactive figure for the modern day. 

Essentially, Skillzy, whose launch at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam was a deliberate nod to one of the game’s most skilful ever players, is a freestyle footballer who is capable of “a dazzling array of tricks”.

The thinking behind UEFA’s move is to reflect “younger fans' passion for other forms of football outside the traditional 11-a-side game”.

This was showcased when he was unveiled prior to a qualifier between the Netherlands and Germany alongside Liv Cooke and Tobias Becs, who have been named as official UEFA Euro 2020 Freestylers.

“We wanted to move away from the traditional mascot that we have seen at previous UEFA EUROs in order to create a symbol that is able to interact more closely with football fans across the continent,” said Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director of UEFA Events SA. 

“It is important that UEFA appeals to football fans of all ages, and by creating a mascot which is actually able to physically play the game we all love, this will inspire youngsters from Dublin to Baku to try and emulate the tricks that Skillzy, Liv Cooke and Tobias Becs are able to master.”

With Euro 2020 to be played all over the continent, the aim is to make the tournament as inclusive as possible, and Skillzy is meant to represent this.

As Cooke explained: “Being able to take the beauty of freestyling, street football and panna to football fans all over Europe is a really special opportunity.

“Whether it's playing in the park or on the world stage, whether it's football or freestyling, it's about expressing yourself with the ball at your feet.”

Indeed, Your Move invites fans to do this, with budding freestyles offered the chance to represent their city by performing unique freestyle moves that could lead to them being given their chance to showcase their skills at Euro 2020 events.

Past European Championship Mascots

Since Euro 1980 in Italy, a mascot for the competition has been a fixture in the competition, with the last nine tournaments enjoying such representation.

Pinocchio was the first European Championship finals mascot, based on the story written by Carlo Collodi. 

In France four years later, Peno appeared. It was a white cockerel, the symbol of the French national team, that was more obviously designed with football in mind as it wore a blue strip, football boots and gloves.

West Germany and Sweden in 1988 and 1992 both had rabbits as mascots, named Berni and Rabbit respectively. Both were dressed in footballing attire.

Euro 96 in England saw a nod to the country’s famous ‘Three Lions’ with Goaliath. With echoes of World Cup Willie – a lion used as the mascot for the 1966 World Cup in the country – it was dressed in an England shirt and held a football under its arm.

The joint nature of the Netherlands and Belgium European Championship of 2000 was reflected by a mascot that merged the footballing traditions of the two nations and took its name from the Benelux group of countries that also includes Luxembourg. Benelucky was a lion with a devil’s tail and human hands. Its mane was multi-coloured, representing the colours of both host nations.

Portugal 2004 started a move away from animals to more recognisable, human figures. Kinas, who was the mascot of that competition, was simply a cartoon boy.

For the joint bids from Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine in 2012 came two sets of twins, Trix and Flix, and Slavek and Slavko respectively, who were dressed in the colours of the nations.

France 2016 followed that trend in 2016 with Super Victor, who was a child in the French national colours, with a cape, which along with his boots and ball are claimed to bring him superpowers.

Skillzy, therefore, continues the recent tradition of mascots in the form of cartoon humans.