Poland and Ukraine have been chosen to co-host UEFA EURO 2012 after a vote by UEFA on Wednesday. They won the battle to host the quadrennial tournament involving Europe's top nations ahead of one bid from Italy and another joint-effort from Hungary and Croatia.

It will be the first time that either Poland or Ukraine have hosted a major football championship. The decision, announced by new UEFA president Michel Platini, was a shock as Italy had been the favourites.

The Poland and Ukraine bid received eight votes to Italy's four. Croatia and Hungary received none. It is the first time either country has been chosen to host a major tournament.

"There are 85 million people now waiting for this big football event," Polish FA chairman Michal Listkiewicz said after Platini had revealed the winner.

"The friendship between our nations has a very long history. This big tournament will be an important milestone in the history of our two Slavic nations."

Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko said in a statement that the decision offered a great opportunity to both countries to host an "extraordinary" sporting event.

"Holding the 2012 European Championship will be a wonderful opportunity for Ukrainians and Poles to welcome the best representatives of Europe's soccer family and produce an extraordinary sporting event," he said.

"Ukraine and Poland are capable of upholding the highest standards in staging such an important event.

"Ukraine and Poland will be able to show millions of fans the unforgettable charm of their cities and the history they have preserved so beautifully and put on display of Slav hospitality and culture," said Yushchenko.

The projected Polish venues for the tournament include Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw while the Ukrainian cities of Kiev, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv would stage games.

Kiev's Olympic Stadium, used to host soccer at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, is the proposed venue for the final.