2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship
|Europees kampioenschap voetbal onder 21 - 2007|
|Dates||10 June–23 June|
|Teams||8 (from 1 confederation)|
|Venue(s)||4 (in 4 host cities)|
|Champions||Netherlands (2nd title)|
|Top scorer(s)||Maceo Rigters (4 goals)|
|Best player(s)||Royston Drenthe|
For the first time, a host nation was chosen ahead of the competition – the Netherlands, who were also the defending champions, were exempt from qualifying. The host nation was chosen on 15 December 2005. England, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Sweden also submitted bids. Of UEFA's 52 member countries, only the Faroe Islands did not compete in the qualification round for the tournament. That left 50 nations attempting to qualify for the seven remaining spots at the finals.
This was the first time that the competition's final matches took place in an odd-numbered year. UEFA took this decision with the will to give more visibility to the tournament, since during even-numbered years the competition was clouded by the approaching FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship.
The tournament also served as the European qualifying tournament for the 2008 Summer Olympics, with a place for the four semi-finalists of the tournament. However, as England is not an Olympic nation, their team was ineligible for the Olympics. Therefore, with the event of England reaching the semi-finals, a fifth-place playoff was necessary.
In this competition, a new UEFA penalty shootout record was established. The semi final between The Netherlands U21 and England U21 finished in 1-1. No less than 32 penalties had to be taken before the tie was decided. The Netherlands U21 won 13-12, and went on to win the tournament by defeating Serbia U21 4-1 in the final.
After the final, some commotion arose in the Netherlands because several Dutch internationals with Surinamese roots carried the flag of Suriname with them during the ceremony of the European Champion in the Euroborg. Dutch coach Foppe de Haan expressed the actions of these players as "inappropriate".
In order to make the switch from even to odd-numbered years, the 2007 edition was a shortened version, condensed from a two-year campaign into a one-year campaign. Therefore, a completely new qualification format was devised to eliminate the weaker nations early, and saw a decrease in the size and duration of qualification groups.
The draw for the finals took place in Arnhem on 24 November 2006, putting the eight qualifying nations into two groups. The provisional dates for the group games are 10 June to 17 June 2007, with Heerenveen and Arnhem each staging a semi-final on 20 June. The final took place on Saturday 23 June at the Euroborg stadium in Groningen.
|Heerenveen||Abe Lenstra Stadion||26,100|
Finals group stageEdit
In the following tables:
|Team qualified for the knockout stage|
|Team went to play-off for Olympics|
|Netherlands||1 – 0||Israel|
|Israel||0 – 1||Belgium|
|Netherlands||2 – 1||Portugal|
|Babel 33' (pen.)
|Netherlands||2 – 2||Belgium|
|Israel||0 – 4||Portugal|
Vaz Tê 45'
|Czech Republic||0 – 0||England|
|Serbia||1 – 0||Italy|
|Czech Republic||0 – 1||Serbia|
|England||2 – 2||Italy|
|Italy||3 – 1||Czech Republic|
|20 June – Heerenveen|
|23 June – Groningen|
|20 June – Arnhem|
|Serbia||2 – 0||Belgium|
|Netherlands||4 – 1||Serbia|
Man of the Match:
|2007 UEFA Euro Under-21 Championship|
- 4 goals
- 3 goals
- 2 goals
- 1 goal
Medal table and Olympic qualifiersEdit
- Netherlands, Serbia, Belgium and Italy qualify for the Olympic games finals.
|Netherlands (H)||5||3||2||0||10||5||+5||11||Gold Medal|
Olympic Qualifying Play-OffEdit
The 2007 European Under-21 Championship also doubled up as the European qualifying round for the 2008 Olympic football tournament. Europe's four places at the Olympic tournament were to be filled by the four semi-finalists. However, because England, one of the semi-finalists, do not compete independently at the Olympics, following the group stage a play-off between Portugal and Italy, the two third-placed teams in each group, was arranged to identify the fourth European qualifier. Italy defeated Portugal through a penalty shoot-out booking their Olympic place in Beijing.
- "De Sart wants Belgium's backing". David Bano & Michael Harrold. Archived from the original on September 21, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
- "Match schedule". UEFA. Archived from the original on June 4, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
- "Netherlands News". UEFA.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
- "Holland U21 1-1 Eng U21". BBC Sport. 2007-06-20. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
- "Holland U21 4-1 Serbia U21". BBC Sport. 2007-06-23. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
- Draw and Fixtures at uefa.com