Cold War Competitions

Nov 15, 2020

EDU Resources

Understanding European history through football championships

For many decades, changes in European society have coincided with international sporting events, most notably football championships. The character of these competitions has reflected the historical circumstances in which they took place.

Who could forget the historic Danish win in the 1992 European final, after they only entered the competition after Yugoslavia was disqualified? What do past European football championships tell us about social and political transformations in post-war Europe?

History teacher Zdravko Stojkoski shows us how to use illustrations to help students develop historical consciousness, while fostering their creative and innovative capacities. By connecting visual sources of momentous events in society and football, students will gain a new understanding of the depth and breadth of historical concepts. This is done in groups of two or three, guided by an activity plan provided on Historiana.

History professor Zdravko Stojkoski about this activity:

A multi-layer activity that examines the interrelation between the European Football Championships and the social transformations that took place in the post-World War II Europe

In this article:


The Soviet Union wins the European Cup of Nations (1960).

The Soviet Union wins the European Cup of Nations (1960).

How to learn through illustrations

Designed for students aged 15-19, the activity is easily adapted to citizenship education lessons on European integration or social inclusion or various historical topics within the post-war section of a high school curriculum. Pairs of students receive a set of illustrated sources, whose content they will analyze, connect, and explain in a larger narrative. Topics can range from the Cold War and the 1960 European Nation Cup to the feminist movement in the 1970s and 1980s and the championships for women. One of the students will present their narrative to the group, followed by a collective discussion. The activity can be expanded by organizing student exhibitions on their assigned topics.

Students make their own narrative

As international football matches continue to be a staple of European life, this learning activity will remain a unique venue for students from different social backgrounds to engage with history. It will also help your students to develop their own historical narrative using visual primary sources, learn how to present and defend their positions, and understand how social issues play out in different parts of society.

PHOTO Gallery

Ceremony before UEFA Women's Euro 2009 final (Germany vs. England).

Ceremony before UEFA Women’s Euro 2009 final (Germany vs. England).

Get the resource

Access and use the educational resource “The history of European Football Championships and the transformation of modern Europe” on Historiana.

Article Tags:   20th century  |   Cold War  |   social history  |   teaching

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