UEFA European Under-21 Championship

Last updated
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
UEFA European Under-21 Championship logo.svg
Founded1978
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams55 (total)
16 (finals)
Current championsFlag of Spain.svg  Spain (5th title)
Most successful team(s)Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
(5 titles each)
Soccerball current event.svg 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.

Contents

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 Cup of the UEFA Under 21 Championship.jpg
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 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. It has been considered a stepping stone toward the senior team. 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.

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, 3rd 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 3rd-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 8 teams edition, as UEFA expanded the participants to the finals to 12 teams starting from 2017 edition. [1]

On 6 February 2019, UEFA's Executive Committee increased the number of participants to the finals to 16 teams, starting from 2021 edition. [2]

Results

Under-23 championships

Held only three times before it was relabelled by UEFA.

YearHostFinalLosing semi-finalistsNumber of teams
WinnerScoreRunner-up
1972 Home-and-away basisFlag of the Czech Republic.svg
Czechoslovakia
2–2 / 3–1
5–3 on aggregate
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet Union
Flag of Bulgaria (1971-1990).svg  Bulgaria and Flag of Greece (1970-1975).svg  Greece 8 (23)
1974 Home-and-away basisFlag of Hungary.svg
Hungary
2–3 / 4–0
6–3 on aggregate
Flag of East Germany.svg
East Germany
Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Poland and Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 8 (21)
1976 Home-and-away basisFlag of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet Union
1–1 / 2–1
3–2 on aggregate
Flag of Hungary.svg
Hungary
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands and Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 8 (23)

Under-21 championships

YearHostFinalLosing semi-finalists
(or third place match)
Number of teams
WinnerScoreRunner-up
1978 Home-and-away basisFlag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg
Yugoslavia
1–0 / 4–4
5–4 on aggregate
Flag of East Germany.svg
East Germany
Flag of Bulgaria (1971-1990).svg  Bulgaria and Flag of England.svg  England 8 (24)
1980 Home-and-away basisFlag of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet Union
0–0 / 1–0
1–0 on aggregate
Flag of East Germany.svg
East Germany
Flag of England.svg  England and Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 8 (25)
1982 Home-and-away basisFlag of England.svg
England
3–1 / 2–3
5–4 on aggregate
Flag of Germany.svg
West Germany
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland and Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 8 (26)
1984 Home-and-away basisFlag of England.svg
England
1–0 / 2–0
3–0 on aggregate
Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy and Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 8 (30)
1986 Home-and-away basisFlag of Spain.svg
Spain
1–2 / 2–1
3–3 on aggregate
3–0 ( p )
Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
Flag of England.svg  England and Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 8 (29)
1988 Home-and-away basisFlag of France.svg
France
0–0 / 3–0
3–0 on aggregate
Flag of Greece.svg
Greece
Flag of England.svg  England and Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 8 (30)
1990 Home-and-away basisFlag of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet Union
4–2 / 3–1
7–3 on aggregate
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg
Yugoslavia
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy and Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 8 (30)
1992 Home-and-away basisFlag of Italy.svg
Italy
2–0 / 0–1
2–1 on aggregate
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark and Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 8 (32)
1994 Flag of France.svg  France Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
1–0
( a.e.t. )
Flag of Portugal.svg
Portugal
Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
2–1Flag of France.svg
France
8 (32)
1996 Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
1–1
4–2( p )
Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
Flag of France.svg
France
1–0Flag of Scotland.svg
Scotland
8 (44)
1998 Flag of Romania.svg  Romania Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
1–0Flag of Greece.svg
Greece
Flag of Norway.svg
Norway
2–0Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Netherlands
8 (46)
2000 Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
2–1Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
Czech Republic
Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
1–0Flag of Slovakia.svg
Slovakia
8 (47)
2002 Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
Czech Republic
0–0
3–1( p )
Flag of France.svg
France
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy and Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 8 (47)
2004 Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
3–0Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg
Serbia and Montenegro
Flag of Portugal.svg
Portugal
3–2
( a.e.t. )
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
8 (48)
2006 Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Netherlands
3–0Flag of Ukraine.svg
Ukraine
Flag of France.svg  France and Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg  Serbia and Montenegro 8 (51)
2007 Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Netherlands
4–1Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg
Serbia
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium and Flag of England.svg  England 8 (51)
2009 Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
4–0Flag of England.svg
England
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy and Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 8 (52)
2011 Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
2–0 Flag of Switzerland.svg
Switzerland
Flag of Belarus (1995-2012).svg
Belarus
1–0Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
Czech Republic
8 (53)
2013 Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
4–2 Flag of Italy.svg
Italy
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands and Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 8 (53)
2015 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
0–0
4–3
( p )
Flag of Portugal.svg
Portugal
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark and Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 8 (53)
2017 Flag of Poland.svg  Poland Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
1–0 Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
Flag of England.svg  England and Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 12 (53)
2019 Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Flag of Spain.svg
Spain
2–1 Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
Flag of France.svg  France and Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 12 (55)
2021 Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia
16 (55)

Statistics

Performances by countries

Only under-21 championships are included in the table.

TeamWinnersRunners-upThird-placeFourth-placeSemi-finalistsTotal (Top Four)
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 5 (1986, 1998, 2011, 2013, 2019)3 (1984, 1996, 2017)210
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 5 (1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004)2 (1986, 2013)512
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany [lower-alpha 1] 2 (2009, 2017)2 (1982, 2019)15
Flag of England.svg  England 2 (1982, 1984)1 (2009)69
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 2 (2006, 2007)125
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 2 (1980, 1990)13
Flag of France.svg  France 1 (1988)1 (2002)1126
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1 (2015)1 (1992)125
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 1 (2002)1 (2000)13
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 1 (1978)1 (1990)24
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 2 (1994, 2015)13
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 2 (2004, 2007)13
Flag of East Germany.svg  East Germany 2 (1978, 1980)2
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 2 (1988, 1998)2
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 1 (2011)12
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 1 (2006)1
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 112
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 11
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 123
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 11
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 22
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 11
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 11
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 11
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 11
Total2222663288
  1. Includes West Germany

Participating details

Teams 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 Flag of France.svg
1994
Flag of Spain.svg
1996
Flag of Romania.svg
1998
Flag of Slovakia.svg
2000
Flag of Switzerland.svg
2002
Flag of Germany.svg
2004
Flag of Portugal.svg
2006
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
2007
Flag of Sweden.svg
2009
Flag of Denmark.svg
2011
Flag of Israel.svg
2013
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
2015
Flag of Poland.svg
2017
Flag of Italy.svg
2019
Flag of Hungary.svgFlag of Slovenia.svg
2021
Total
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania ×××QF×TBD1
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria ×GSTBD1
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus Part of USSR×GSGS3rdTBD3
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium GSSFGSTBD3
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria SFQFTBD2
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Part of Yugoslavia××GSGSGSTBD3
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 4QFQFQFQFQFQFQF2nd1stGS4thGSGSTBD12
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark QFQFSFGSGSSFGSGSTBD8
Flag of England.svg  England SFSF1st1stSFSFGSGSSF2ndGSGSGSSFGSTBD15
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland GSTBD1
Flag of France.svg  France QFQFQF1st4th3rd2ndSFSFTBD9
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 22nd2nd2ndQFQFQFQFGSGS1stGSSF1st2ndTBD12
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 2ndQF2ndGSTBD4
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary QFQFSFQFq5
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland ×××GSTBD1
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Member of OFCGSGSTBD2
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy QFQFQFSF2ndQFSF1st1st1st1stSF1stGSGSSF2ndGSSFGSTBD20
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands ×SFQF4thGS1st1stSFTBD7
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia Part of Yugoslavia××GSTBD1
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 3rdSFTBD2
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland QFQFQFQFQFGSGSTBD7
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal ×2ndQFGS3rdGSGS2ndGSTBD8
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania QFSFTBD2
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 31stSF1stQFQFGSTBD6
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland QFSFQFQFSF4thTBD6
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 11stSFSF2nd××2ndSF2ndGSGSGSGSTBD11
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Part of Czechoslovakia4thGSTBD2
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia Part of Yugoslavia××q1
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain QF2nd1stQFQF3rd2nd1st3rdGS1st1st2nd1stTBD13
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden QFSF2ndQF4thSF1stGSTBD8
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland SFGS2ndTBD3
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey GSTBD1
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine Part of USSR×2ndGSTBD2
Total88888888888888888888121216
Legend
Notes

Awards

Golden Player

The Golden Player award is awarded to the player who plays the most outstanding football during the tournament.

EditionGolden PlayerRef(s)
1978 Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Vahid Halilhodžić [3]
1980 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Anatoliy Demyanenko [4]
1982 Flag of Germany.svg Rudi Völler [5]
1984 Flag of England.svg Mark Hateley [6]
1986 Flag of Spain.svg Manolo Sanchís [7]
1988 Flag of France.svg Laurent Blanc [8]
1990 Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Davor Šuker [9]
1992 Flag of Italy.svg Renato Buso [10]
1994 France Flag of Portugal.svg Luís Figo [11]
1996 Spain Flag of Italy.svg Fabio Cannavaro [12]
1998 Romania Flag of Spain.svg Francesc Arnau [13]
2000 Slovakia Flag of Italy.svg Andrea Pirlo [14]
2002 Switzerland Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Petr Čech [15]
2004 Germany Flag of Italy.svg Alberto Gilardino [16]
2006 Portugal Flag of the Netherlands.svg Klaas-Jan Huntelaar [17]
2007 Netherlands Flag of the Netherlands.svg Royston Drenthe [18]
2009 Sweden Flag of Sweden.svg Marcus Berg [19]
2011 Denmark Flag of Spain.svg Juan Mata [20]
2013 Israel Flag of Spain.svg Thiago Alcântara [21]
2015 Czech Republic Flag of Portugal.svg William Carvalho [22]
2017 Poland Flag of Spain.svg Dani Ceballos [23]
2019 Italy Flag of Spain.svg Fabián Ruiz [24]

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.

TournamentGolden BootGoalsSilver BootGoalsBronze BootGoalsRef(s)
2000 Slovakia Flag of Italy.svg Andrea Pirlo 3     [25]
2002 Switzerland Flag of Italy.svg Massimo Maccarone 3 [25]
2004 Germany Flag of Italy.svg Alberto Gilardino 4 [25]
2006 Portugal Flag of the Netherlands.svg Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 4 [25]
2007 Netherlands Flag of the Netherlands.svg Maceo Rigters 4 [25]
2009 Sweden Flag of Sweden.svg Marcus Berg 7 [25]
2011 Denmark Flag of Spain.svg Adrián 5 [25]
2013 Israel Flag of Spain.svg Álvaro Morata 4 Flag of Spain.svg Thiago 3 Flag of Spain.svg Isco 3 [26]
2015 Czech Republic Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Jan Kliment 3 Flag of Germany.svg Kevin Volland 2 Flag of Sweden.svg John Guidetti 2 [25]
2017 Poland Flag of Spain.svg Saúl 5 Flag of Spain.svg Marco Asensio 3 Flag of Portugal.svg Bruma 3 [27]
2019 Italy Flag of Germany.svg Luca Waldschmidt 7 Flag of Romania.svg George Pușcaș 4 Flag of Germany.svg Marco Richter 3 [28]

EURO Under-21 dream team

On 17 June 2015, UEFA revealed an all-time best XI from the previous Under-21 final tournaments. [29]

GoalkeeperDefendersMidfieldersForwards
Flag of Germany.svg Manuel Neuer Flag of Germany.svg Mats Hummels
Flag of Italy.svg Giorgio Chiellini
Flag of Italy.svg Alessandro Nesta
Flag of Serbia.svg Branislav Ivanović
Flag of England.svg Frank Lampard
Flag of Germany.svg Mesut Özil
Flag of Italy.svg Andrea Pirlo
Flag of Spain.svg Xavi
Flag of Italy.svg Francesco Totti
Flag of Spain.svg Raúl

See also

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  23. "Spain's Dani Ceballos named Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  24. "Fabián Ruiz named SOCAR Player of the Tournament". UEFA.com.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Czech striker Kliment wins Golden Boot award". UEFA.com. 30 June 2015.
  26. 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
  27. "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
  28. "Alipay Top Scorer". UEFA.com. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  29. "Our all-time Under-21 EURO dream team". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.