UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has echoed the anticipation of football fans everywhere by expressing the conviction that next summer's UEFA EURO 2016 final round in France will be "a fantastic tournament for everyone involved".
Speaking at the draw ceremony at the Palais des Congrès in the French capital Paris, Mr Infantino also stressed the support of UEFA and the European football family for hosts France in the wake of last month's attacks.
"We are in Paris, an iconic city which, just a few weeks ago, witnessed deeply tragic events," Mr Infantino said. "Therefore I would like to take this opportunity, in the name of UEFA, to express my solidarity towards all French people during these difficult times. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the attacks of 13 November." These comments were welcomed with warm applause by the audience.
The UEFA General Secretary said that the draw ceremony was "a historic occasion", adding: "For the first time ever, 24 teams are taking part in a EURO final tournament.
"The decision to expand the European Championship has already proven its worth, as we all saw a thrilling qualifying competition, notable for a series of unpredictable results and unexpected final group standings.
"Consequently, several nations will be making their first-ever appearance at a EURO," Mr Infantino continued. "We are all firmly convinced that this will be a fantastic tournament for everyone involved."