UEFA's Under-16 tournament was revamped in 1984, changed from a biennial tournament to an annual one and the finals expanded from four to 16 teams. However, it had one thing in common with its previous form: in 1982/84, the previous runners-up West Germany improved to win the trophy, and a year on the team they beat in that final, the Soviet Union, became champions.
Hungary were selected as hosts for a final tournament stretching from four games in three days to 28 matches over ten days. Previous winners Italy and West Germany secured their places, as did 1984 runners-up the USSR and Yugoslavia, who had reached both previous semi-finals. The hosts' campaign in Group A did not begin well - they lost 2-0 to the USSR while West Germany drew 1-1 with Portugal. In a rematch of the 1984 final the USSR gained revenge on the Germans with a 2-0 win as Hungary defeated Portugal by the same score. The Soviets then achieved an identical result against Portugal to clinch a semi-final place. Outgoing holders West Germany ended with a 1-0 victory against the hosts.
Spain began Group B with a 4-0 win against Sweden that was to prove crucial. Yugoslavia beat Italy 1-0, and both were to draw 0-0 with the Spanish. And although Sweden defeated Yugoslavia 3-1 and Italy 5-2, their goal difference remained inferior to Spain. East Germany had been knocked out by their Western neighbours in the previous two editions; in Group C they avoided the holders and went through after drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands and 0-0 with Norway and beating Bulgaria 1-0. Norway had identical results other than a goalless game against the Dutch, which saw them out on goals scored, while the Dutch chances went with a 4-2 loss to Bulgaria. Greece sailed through Group D with a perfect record with wins against France, Scotland and Iceland.
The semi-finals were contrasting affairs; Greece overcame Spain 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless game, while the USSR played out a 5-3 win against East Germany. Spain won bronze 1-0 in Budapest, but the title was the Soviets' by a 4-0 scoreline. Three of Europe's finest then travelled to China for the first FIFA U-16 World Championship. Italy fell in the group stage, Hungary reached the quarter-finals, while West Germany made the final but lost 2-0 to Nigeria.
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