The European Championship had long been considered a second-class football (soccer) tournament in the eyes of fans, before its rebirth in 1996. Originally conceived as a mini world cup for Europe, it was the subject of chronic format change and indifference.
However, intelligent marketing and a surge in interest caused the 1996 championship, in England, to take a new importance. As a result of this, the official ball providers, adidas, who had previously not deemed the competition worthy of having its own especially nominated ball, decided to begin taking the development and marketing of the matchballs seriously.
The Adidas Questra Europa
After the success and high goal quota of the 1994 World Cup in the US, adidas concluded that the new, lighter ball produced for that tournament, on FIFA’s request (they had been moved to make changes after the turgid and defensive Italia ’90 World Cup which suffered something of a goal drought) had been a triumph. The World Cup ‘94 ball, the black and white Questra, was a much more high tech and responsive ball than its heavier predecessors. There might have been complaints from goalkeepers, but the swerving, spinning Questra, which curled wickedly in the hot, American temperatures and humidity, was responsible for some outstanding goals, free kicks and passes.
UEFA decided to keep in tune with this new scientifically advanced approach, but asked adidas to give the ball a new identity, an in doing so they created the Questra Europa which was the first colored ball in a major tournament. The design they chose was a reworking of the iconic England badge, the three lions and red roses, in the familiar tango shape, which had appeared on all major balls. Each side of the trigon had a lion in metallic blue, and in the center was a red rose.
Due to its strong link with the host nation’s own identity, the ball proved very popular, and also paved the way for a very lively, exciting tournament with many incredible goals and vibrant play.