Platini, all is forgiven.

Well maybe not everything - but your plan to expand the European Championships - which seemed unnecessary and unpopular when it was first mooted - might have been a bit of a masterstroke.

The former French football legend and now disgraced administrator was the driving force behind the move to enlarge the quadrennial event, and it's increasingly hard to criticise his stance now.


At the time of expansion it looked like a cynical move, mainly motivated by financial opportunities, that was sacrificing quality for quantity and taking the shine off a jewel of an event.

But perhaps Platini was right.

The 2016 edition in France has only just reached the knockout stages and already it's been a thoroughly memorable tournament.

Who will ever forget the heroics of Wales? No matter what they achieve from here, they'll be talking about Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsay and Chris Coleman in the valleys for years to come. And Iceland - with a population smaller than Christchurch - has been a wonderful story. Other minnows like Northern Ireland and Albania have more than justified their inclusion and imagine the current pride in Hungary - a country with such glorious football traditions which has been confined to the shadows for the past few decades.

The previous 16 team format made it almost impossible for such nations to qualify but now they can, and given a chance on the big stage, they have flourished.

The European Championships has always been a great event, and often upstaged the World Cup in terms of the quality and competitiveness of the football. But in a confederation of such depth, the tournament was often confined to the elite. It became extremely difficult for countries outside the top tier to feature, especially since the late 1990s as the economics of the game have widened the gap.

There was always room for some outliers, like Norway and Slovenia in 2000 and Greece and Latvia four years later, but it was becoming more and more difficult.

Having a elongated tournament hasn't detracted from the event so far, and imagine what it means for passionate fans in those aforementioned lesser nations. It may limit the number of potential host nations, but UEFA has tried co-hosting in the past with reasonable success.


And if the Rugby's World Cup has 20 teams, Cricket includes 10 and League's global event finds room for 14 countries, UEFA can probably justify 24 from 55. There are decent, established football nations that have missed the cut this time (Holland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Denmark and Greece) and maybe the likes of Finland, Scotland, Estonia or Bosnia- Herzegovina could provide the cinderella story in four years time.