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 UEFA member associations. Since 1992, the competition also serve as the UEFA qualification tournament for the Summer Olympics.

UEFA European Under-21 Championship
UEFA European Under-21 Championship logo.svg
Founded1978; 43 years ago (1978)
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams55 (total)
16 (finals)
Current champions Germany (3rd title)
Most successful team(s) Italy
 Spain
(5 titles each)
WebsiteOfficial website
2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification

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

Germany are the current champions.

HistoryEdit

 
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 2021, players need to be born in or after 1998. Many can be actually 23 years old by the time the finals tournament takes place; however, when the qualification process began (2019) 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 Čech, 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.

Germany are the reigning champions, defeating Portugal 1–0 in the 2021 final. The finals of the 2021 competition were hosted by Hungary and Slovenia.

FormatEdit

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]

ResultsEdit

Under-23 championshipsEdit

Held only three times before it was relabelled by UEFA.

Year Hosts 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 championshipsEdit

Year Hosts 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
 
Germany
1–0  
Portugal
  Netherlands and   Spain 16 (55)
2023   Romania
  Georgia
16 (55)

Performances by countriesEdit

Team Winners Runners-up
  Spain 5 (1986, 1998, 2011, 2013, 2019) 3 (1984, 1996, 2017)
  Italy 5 (1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004) 2 (1986, 2013)
  Germany[a] 3 (2009, 2017, 2021) 2 (1982, 2019)
  England 2 (1982, 1984) 1 (2009)
  Russia[b] 2 (1980, 1990)
  Netherlands 2 (2006, 2007)
  Serbia[c] 1 (1978) 3 (1990, 2004, 2007)
  France 1 (1988) 1 (2002)
  Czech Republic 1 (2002) 1 (2000)
  Sweden 1 (2015) 1 (1992)
  Portugal 3 (1994, 2015, 2021)
  East Germany 2 (1978, 1980)
  Greece 2 (1988, 1998)
  Ukraine 1 (2006)
   Switzerland 1 (2011)
  1. ^ Includes West Germany
  2. ^ Includes the Soviet Union
  3. ^ Includes Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro

Comprehensive team results by tournamentEdit

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

AwardsEdit

Player of the TournamentEdit

The Golden Player award is awarded to the player who plays the most outstanding football during the tournament. Since 2013 an official Player of the Tournament has been selected by the UEFA Technical Team.[3]

Edition Golden Player Ref(s)
1978   Vahid Halilhodžić [4]
1980   Anatoliy Demyanenko [5]
1982   Rudi Völler [6]
1984   Mark Hateley [7]
1986   Manolo Sanchís [8]
1988   Laurent Blanc [9]
1990   Davor Šuker [10]
1992   Renato Buso [11]
1994 France   Luís Figo [12]
1996 Spain   Fabio Cannavaro [13]
1998 Romania   Francesc Arnau [14]
2000 Slovakia   Andrea Pirlo [15]
2002 Switzerland   Petr Čech [16]
2004 Germany   Alberto Gilardino [17]
2006 Portugal   Klaas-Jan Huntelaar [18]
2007 Netherlands   Royston Drenthe [19]
2009 Sweden   Marcus Berg [20]
2011 Denmark   Juan Mata [21]
2013 Israel   Thiago [22]
2015 Czech Republic   William Carvalho [23]
2017 Poland   Dani Ceballos [24]
2019 Italy   Fabián [25]
2021 Hungary–Slovenia   Fábio Vieira [26]

Golden BootEdit

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.

Tournament Golden Boot Goals Silver Boot Goals Bronze Boot Goals Ref(s)
2000 Slovakia   Andrea Pirlo 3         [27]
2002 Switzerland   Massimo Maccarone 3 [27]
2004 Germany   Alberto Gilardino 4 [27]
2006 Portugal   Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 4 [27]
2007 Netherlands   Maceo Rigters 4 [27]
2009 Sweden   Marcus Berg 7 [27]
2011 Denmark   Adrián 5 [27]
2013 Israel   Álvaro Morata 4   Thiago 3   Isco 3 [28]
2015 Czech Republic   Jan Kliment 3   Kevin Volland 2   John Guidetti 2 [27]
2017 Poland   Saúl 5   Marco Asensio 3   Bruma 3 [29]
2019 Italy   Luca Waldschmidt 7   George Pușcaș 4   Marco Richter 3 [30]
2021 Hungary–Slovenia   Lukas Nmecha 4   Patrick Cutrone 3   Dany Mota 3 [31]

EURO Under-21 dream teamEdit

On 17 June 2015, UEFA revealed an all-time best XI from the previous Under-21 final tournaments.[32]

Goalkeeper Defenders Midfielders Forwards
  Manuel Neuer   Branislav Ivanović
  Mats Hummels
  Alessandro Nesta
  Giorgio Chiellini
  Frank Lampard
  Andrea Pirlo
  Xavi
  Mesut Özil
  Francesco Totti
  Raúl

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "U21 final tournament expanding to 12 teams". UEFA.com. 24 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Aleksander Čeferin re-elected UEFA President until 2023". UEFA.com. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  3. ^ UEFA.com (21 June 2013). "Thiago leads all-star squad dominated by Spain". UEFA.com. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  4. ^ "1978: Vahid Halilhodžić". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  5. ^ "1980: Anatoliy Demyanenko". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  6. ^ "1982: Rudi Völler". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  7. ^ "1984: Mark Hateley". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ "1986: Manuel Sanchís". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  9. ^ "1988: Laurent Blanc". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  10. ^ "1990: Davor Šuker". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  11. ^ "1992: Renato Buso". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  12. ^ "1994: Luís Figo". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  13. ^ {{cite web |url=http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=1996/golden-player/index.html |title=1996: Fabio Cannavaro |work=UEFA.com |publisher=Union of European Football Associations|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20130622080017/http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=1996/golden-player/index.html%7Carchive-date=21 June 2013|url-status=dead}
  14. ^ "1998: Francesc Arnau". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  15. ^ "2000: Andrea Pirlo". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  16. ^ "2002: Petr Čech". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  17. ^ "2004: Alberto Gilardino". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  18. ^ "2006: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  19. ^ "2007: Royston Drenthe". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  20. ^ "2009: Marcus Berg". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  21. ^ "2009: Juan Mata". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013.
  22. ^ "2013: Thiago Alcântara". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  23. ^ "William named U21 EURO player of the tournament". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Spain's Dani Ceballos named Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  25. ^ "Fabián Ruiz named SOCAR Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  26. ^ "2021 Under-21 EURO Player of the Tournament: Fábio Vieira". UEFA.com. 6 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h "Czech striker Kliment wins Golden Boot award". UEFA.com. 30 June 2015.
  28. ^ Adams, Sam (18 June 2013). "Morata wins Golden Boot in Spanish clean sweep". UEFA.com. Retrieved 1 July 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
  29. ^ "Saúl Ñíguez wins U21 EURO adidas Golden Boot". UEFA.com. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 1 July 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
  30. ^ "Spain beat Germany for fifth U21 title". UEFA.com. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  31. ^ "Germany's Lukas Nmecha wins U21 Top Scorer award". UEFA.com. 6 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  32. ^ "Our all-time Under-21 EURO dream team". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.

External linksEdit