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UEFA Euro U-21

UEFA Euro U-21

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About UEFA Euro U-21

The UEFA European Under-21 Championship, or as it’s commonly called, the UEFA Euro U-21, is a biennial continental competition for Europe’s under-21 men’s national teams. The tournament in its current form was founded back in 1978 but was preceded by the Under-23 Challenge Cup, which ran from 1967 to 1970.

The number of participants has increased over the years. From the inaugural Euro U-21 campaign until the 2015 edition, only eight nations could participate in the finals. This was increased to 12 teams for the 2017 edition and it remained like this for Italy 2019 before once again being expanded to 16 contestants for 2021.

Until the 2021 edition, there had been no quarter-final stage. Up until 2019, only four teams would progress past the group stage and into the knockout round. When there were only eight participants, the contestants were split into two groups of four with the top two making the semi-finals. When increased to 12 nations, the participants were split into three groups of four, with the first-placed teams and the best second-placed side making the last four. For 2021, the groups were increased to four, with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals.

When UEFA Euro U-21 takes place a year before the Olympics, it acts as the European qualifying round for the Olympics men's football tournament, with the top four nations from that tournament booking their tickets. For example, in 2019, Spain, Germany, Romania, and France earned Europe’s four spots at Tokyo 2020 – the summer games were eventually postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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