UEFA European Under-21 Championship
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UEFA European Under-21 Championship

UEFA European Under-21 Championship
UEFA European Under-21 Championship logo.svg
Founded1978
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams55 (total)
16 (finals)
Current champions
Most successful team(s)
WebsiteOfficial website
2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship

The UEFA European Under-21 Championship is a biennial football competition contested by the European men's Under-21 national teams of the member associations of UEFA. Created in 1970s, since 1992 the competitions also serve as the UEFA qualification tournament for the Summer Olympics among male teams.

Italy and Spain are the most successful teams in this competition, having won five titles each. Spain are also the current champions.

History

Trophy of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship

The competition has existed in its current form since 1978. It was preceded by the Under-23 Challenge Cup which ran from 1967 to 1970. A true Under-23 championship was then formed, starting in 1973. The tournament ran parallel to already existing main UEFA youth tournament that existed after the World War II (today the under-19 competitions). Around 1980, the UEFA has been reforming its junior squad competitions and reorganized them based on age limit only.

The age limit was reduced to 21 for the 1978 championship and it has remained so since. To be eligible for the campaign ending in 2019, players need to be born in or after 1996. Many can be actually 23 years old by the time the finals tournament takes place; however, when the qualification process began (2017) all players would have been 21 or under.

Under-21 matches were typically played on the day before senior internationals and where possible, the same qualifying groups and fixtures were played out. This has changed since shortened 2006-2007 Championship.

This tournament serves as qualifier for the Summer Olympics since the 1992 tournament. It has been considered a stepping stone toward the senior team and reducing a political discourse that existed before around the Olympic Games about players' employment status outside of sports. Players such as 2014 World Cup winner Mesut Özil, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Luís Figo, Petr ?ech, 2010 World Cup winner Iker Casillas, 2006 World Cup winners Francesco Totti, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Alberto Gilardino and Andrea Pirlo, and Euro 2004 winner Georgios Karagounis began their international careers in the youth teams.

Spain are the reigning champions, defeating Germany 2-1 in the 2019 final. The finals of the 2019 competition were hosted by Italy.

Format

Up to and including the 1992 competition, all entrants were divided into eight qualification groups, the eight winners of which formed the quarter-finals lineup. The remaining fixtures were played out on a two-legged, home and away basis to determine the eventual winner.

For the 1994 competition, one of the semi-finalists, France, was chosen as a host for the (single-legged) semi-finals, third-place playoff and final. Similarly, Spain was chosen to host the last four matches in 1996.

For 1998, nine qualification groups were used, as participation had reached 46, nearly double the 24 entrants in 1976. The top seven group winners qualified automatically for the finals, whilst the eighth- and ninth-best qualifiers, Greece and England, played-off for the final spot. The remaining matches, from the quarter-finals onward, were held in Romania, one of the eight qualifiers.

The 2000 competition also had nine groups, but the nine winners and seven runners-up went into a two-legged playoff to decide the eight qualifiers. From those, Slovakia was chosen as host. For the first time, the familiar finals group stage was employed, with the two winners contesting a final, and two runners-up contesting the third-place playoff. The structure in 2002 was identical, except for the introduction of a semi-finals round after the finals group stage. Switzerland hosted the 2002 finals.

In 2004, ten qualification groups were used, with the group winners and six best runners-up going into the playoff. Germany was host that year. For 2006, the top two teams of eight large qualification groups provided the 16 teams for the playoffs, held in November 2005. Portugal hosted the finals.

Then followed the switch to odd years. The change was made because the senior teams of many nations often chose to promote players from their under-21s team as their own qualification campaign intensified. Staggering the tournaments allowed players more time to develop in the under-21 team rather than get promoted too early and end up becoming reserves for the seniors.

The 2007 competition actually began before the 2006 finals, with a qualification round to eliminate eight of the lowest-ranked nations. For the first time, the host (Netherlands) was chosen ahead of the qualification section. As hosts, Netherlands qualified automatically. Coincidentally, the Dutch team had won the 2006 competition - the holders would normally have gone through the qualification stage. The other nations were all drawn into fourteen three-team groups. The 14 group winners were paired in double-leg play-off to decide the seven qualifiers alongside the hosts.

From 2009 to 2015, ten qualification groups were used, with the group winners and four best runners-up going into the two-legged playoffs.

The 2015 finals was to be the last eight teams edition, as UEFA expanded the tournament to twelve teams starting from the 2017 edition.[1]

On 6 February 2019, UEFA's Executive Committee increased the number of participants in the finals to sixteen teams, starting from the 2021 edition.[2]

Results

Under-23 championships

Held only three times before it was relabelled by UEFA.

Year Host Final Losing semi-finalists Number of teams
Winner Score Runner-up
1972 Home-and-away basis
Czechoslovakia
2-2 / 3-1
5-3 on aggregate

Soviet Union
 Bulgaria and  Greece 8 (23)
1974 Home-and-away basis
Hungary
2-3 / 4-0
6-3 on aggregate

East Germany
 Poland and  Soviet Union 8 (21)
1976 Home-and-away basis
Soviet Union
1-1 / 2-1
3-2 on aggregate

Hungary
 Netherlands and  Yugoslavia 8 (23)

Under-21 championships

Year Host Final Losing semi-finalists
(or third place match)
Number of teams
Winner Score Runner-up
1978 Home-and-away basis
Yugoslavia
1-0 / 4-4
5-4 on aggregate

East Germany
 Bulgaria and  England 8 (24)
1980 Home-and-away basis
Soviet Union
0-0 / 1-0
1-0 on aggregate

East Germany
 England and  Yugoslavia 8 (25)
1982 Home-and-away basis
England
3-1 / 2-3
5-4 on aggregate

West Germany
 Scotland and  Soviet Union 8 (26)
1984 Home-and-away basis
England
1-0 / 2-0
3-0 on aggregate

Spain
 Italy and  Yugoslavia 8 (30)
1986 Home-and-away basis
Spain
1-2 / 2-1
3-3 on aggregate
3-0 (p)

Italy
 England and  Hungary 8 (29)
1988 Home-and-away basis
France
0-0 / 3-0
3-0 on aggregate

Greece
 England and  Netherlands 8 (30)
1990 Home-and-away basis
Soviet Union
4-2 / 3-1
7-3 on aggregate

Yugoslavia
 Italy and  Sweden 8 (30)
1992 Home-and-away basis
Italy
2-0 / 0-1
2-1 on aggregate

Sweden
 Denmark and  Scotland 8 (32)
1994  France
Italy
1-0
(a.e.t.)

Portugal

Spain
2-1
France
8 (32)
1996  Spain
Italy
1-1
4-2 (p)

Spain

France
1-0
Scotland
8 (44)
1998  Romania
Spain
1-0
Greece

Norway
2-0
Netherlands
8 (46)
2000  Slovakia
Italy
2-1
Czech Republic

Spain
1-0
Slovakia
8 (47)
2002   Switzerland
Czech Republic
0-0
3-1 (p)

France
 Italy and   Switzerland 8 (47)
2004  Germany
Italy
3-0
Serbia and Montenegro

Portugal
3-2
(a.e.t.)

Sweden
8 (48)
2006  Portugal
Netherlands
3-0
Ukraine
 France and  Serbia and Montenegro 8 (51)
2007  Netherlands
Netherlands
4-1
Serbia
 Belgium and  England 8 (51)
2009  Sweden
Germany
4-0
England
 Italy and  Sweden 8 (52)
2011  Denmark
Spain
2-0
Switzerland

Belarus
1-0
Czech Republic
8 (53)
2013  Israel
Spain
4-2
Italy
 Netherlands and  Norway 8 (53)
2015  Czech Republic
Sweden
0-0
4-3
(p)

Portugal
 Denmark and  Germany 8 (53)
2017  Poland
Germany
1-0
Spain
 England and  Italy 12 (53)
2019  Italy
Spain
2-1
Germany
 France and  Romania 12 (55)
2021  Hungary
 Slovenia
16 (55)

Statistics

Performances by countries

Only under-21 championships are included in the table.[3][4]

Team Winners Runners-up Third-place Fourth-place Semi-finalists Total (Top Four)
 Spain 5 (1986, 1998, 2011, 2013, 2019) 3 (1984, 1996, 2017) 2 10
 Italy 5 (1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004) 2 (1986, 2013) 5 12
 Germany[a] 2 (2009, 2017) 2 (1982, 2019) 1 5
 England 2 (1982, 1984) 1 (2009) 6 9
 Netherlands 2 (2006, 2007) 1 2 5
 Soviet Union 2 (1980, 1990) 1 3
 France 1 (1988) 1 (2002) 1 1 2 6
 Sweden 1 (2015) 1 (1992) 1 2 5
 Czech Republic 1 (2002) 1 (2000) 1 3
 Yugoslavia 1 (1978) 1 (1990) 2 4
 Portugal 2 (1994, 2015) 1 3
 Serbia 2 (2004, 2007) 1 3
 East Germany 2 (1978, 1980) 2
 Greece 2 (1988, 1998) 2
  Switzerland 1 (2011) 1 2
 Ukraine 1 (2006) 1
 Norway 1 1 2
 Belarus 1 1
 Scotland 1 2 3
 Slovakia 1 1
 Denmark 2 2
 Belgium 1 1
 Bulgaria 1 1
 Hungary 1 1
 Romania 1 1
Total 22 22 6 6 32 88
  1. ^ Includes West Germany

Participating details

Teams 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992
1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

2017

2019

2021
Total
 Albania × × × QF o o o o o × o o o o o o o o o o o o o 1
 Austria o × o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o GS o 1
 Belarus Part of USSR × o o o o GS o o GS 3rd o o o o o 3
 Belgium o o o o o o o o o o o o GS o o SF o o o o o GS o 3
 Bulgaria SF o o o o o QF o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 2
 Croatia Part of Yugoslavia × × o o GS o GS o o o o o o o GS q 4
 Czech Republic4 QF QF o o o QF QF QF QF QF o 2nd 1st o o GS o 4th o GS GS o q 14
 Denmark QF o o o QF o o SF o o o o o o GS o o GS o SF GS GS q 9
 England SF SF 1st 1st SF SF o o o o o GS GS o o SF 2nd GS GS GS SF GS q 16
 Finland o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o GS o o o o o o 1
 France o o QF QF QF 1st o o 4th 3rd o o 2nd o SF o o o o o o SF q 10
 Germany2 2nd 2nd 2nd o o o QF QF o QF QF o o GS GS o 1st o GS SF 1st 2nd q 13
 Greece o o o o o 2nd o o QF o 2nd o GS o o o o o o o o o o 4
 Hungary QF QF o o SF o o o o QF o o o o o o o o o o o o q 5
 Iceland × × × o o o o o o o o o o o o o o GS o o o o q 2
 Israel Member of OFC o o o o o o o GS o o GS o o o o 2
 Italy QF QF QF SF 2nd QF SF 1st 1st 1st o 1st SF 1st GS GS SF o 2nd GS SF GS q 21
 Netherlands × o o o o SF o QF o o 4th GS o o 1st 1st o o SF o o o q 9
 North Macedonia Part of Yugoslavia × × o o o o o o o o o o o GS o o 1
 Norway o o o o o o o o o o 3rd o o o o o o o SF o o o o 2
 Poland o o QF QF QF o o QF QF o o o o o o o o o o o GS GS o 7
 Portugal o o × o o o o o 2nd QF o o GS 3rd GS GS o o o 2nd GS o q 9
 Romania o o o o o o o o o o QF o o o o o o o o o o SF q 3
 Russia3 o 1st SF o o o 1st o QF o QF o o o o o o o GS o o o q 7
 Scotland o QF SF QF o QF o SF o 4th o o o o o o o o o o o o o 6
 Serbia1 1st SF o SF o o 2nd o × × o o o 2nd SF 2nd GS o o GS GS GS o 11
 Slovakia Part of Czechoslovakia o o 4th o o o o o o o o GS o o 2
 Slovenia Part of Yugoslavia × × o o o o o o o o o o o o o q 1
 Spain o o QF 2nd 1st QF QF o 3rd 2nd 1st 3rd o o o o GS 1st 1st o 2nd 1st q 15
 Sweden o o o o QF o SF 2nd o o QF o o 4th o o SF o o 1st GS o o 8
  Switzerland o o o o o o o o o o o o SF GS o o o 2nd o o o o q 4
 Turkey o o o o o o o o o o o GS o o o o o o o o o o o 1
 Ukraine Part of USSR × o o o o o 2nd o o GS o o o o o 2
Total 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 12 12 16
Legend
Notes

Awards

Player of the Tournament

Since 2013 an official Player of the Tournament has been selected by the UEFA Technical Team.[5]

Golden Boot

The UEFA European Under-21 Championship adidas Golden Boot award will be handed to the player who scores the most goals during the tournament. Since the 2013 tournament, those who finish as runners-up in the vote receive the Silver Boot and Bronze Boot awards as the second and third top goalscorer players in the tournament respectively.

EURO Under-21 dream team

On 17 June 2015, UEFA revealed an all-time best XI from the previous Under-21 final tournaments.[14]

References

  1. ^ "U21 final tournament expanding to 12 teams". UEFA.com. 24 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Aleksander ?eferin re-elected UEFA President until 2023". UEFA.com. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "Europe - U-23/U-21 Tournaments". rsssf.com. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "U21 EURO - Champions". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ UEFA.com (2013-06-21). "Thiago leads all-star squad dominated by Spain". UEFA.com. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "2013: Thiago Alcântara". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "William named U21 EURO player of the tournament". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Spain's Dani Ceballos named Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  9. ^ "Fabián Ruiz named SOCAR Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Czech striker Kliment wins Golden Boot award". UEFA.com. 30 June 2015.
  11. ^ Adams, Sam (18 June 2013). "Morata wins Golden Boot in Spanish clean sweep". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2017. 2013 Under-21 finals top scorers
    Golden Boot: Álvaro Morata, Spain - 4 goals, 1 assist
    Silver Boot: Thiago Alcántara - 3 goals, 1 assist
    Bronze Boot: Isco, Spain - 3 goals
  12. ^ "Saúl Ñíguez wins U21 EURO adidas Golden Boot". UEFA.com. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 2017. Golden Boot: Saúl Ñíguez (Spain) - 5 goals, 1 assist
    Silver Boot: Marco Asensio (Spain) - 3 goals, 1 assist
    Bronze Boot: Bruma (Portugal) - 3 goals
  13. ^ "Spain beat Germany for fifth U21 title". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Our all-time Under-21 EURO dream team". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 2015.

See also

External links


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UEFA_European_Under-21_Championship
 



 



 
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