The UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Germany has set a new competition mark in terms of crowds, with almost 150,000 spectators attending the 15 matches ahead of Sunday's final.
A total of 140,429 fans have been to the nine venues used to date, with the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim set to stage Sunday's final between Italy and France.
That mark surpasses the 100,455 spectators who went to the 2009 U19 finals in Ukraine – the previous highest total for the tournament. It includes 54,689 who attended the Group A game between Germany and Italy in Stuttgart, also a new competition record.
"Our target with UEFA was to have more than 100,000 spectators, and we'd achieved that six weeks before the tournament, so we were excited to see how many people would come in the end," said tournament director Juppi Lee. "Our strategy paid off; we defined our target groups, not only the football crowd but new young people who we wanted to get involved. That meant looking at kick-off times and the schedule for the tournament.
"We have used ten venues in total because we wanted the best conditions for the teams – to protect the pitches," Lee added. "We've not had more than two matches in one stadium, and we also wanted to give as many people as possible the chance to see matches. We spread the tournament as wide as we could."
Germany also holds the record for most spectators at a U17 finals, with the 2009 tournament drawing an aggregate crowd of 83,638, and its U16 predecessor; 206,916 attended the 1997 finals. Ukraine still holds the record attendance for a U19 final, with 26,100 seeing the hosts beat England in the 2009 decider at the RSK Olimpiyskyi Stadium in Donetsk.
U19 total attendances
2016 140,429 (Germany)*
2015 70,612 (Greece)
2014 32,106 (Hungary)
2013 56,169 (Lithuania)
2012 46,262 (Estonia)
2011 25,250 (Romania)
2010 69,913 (France)
2009 100,455 (Ukraine) – current U19 record
2008 45,484 (Czech Republic)
2007 66,050 (Austria)
2006 55,300 (Poland)
2005 19,464 (Northern Ireland)
2004 43,170 (Switzerland)
2003 20,510 (Liechtenstein)
2002 28,091 (Norway)
* One match to go
Record total attendances in other UEFA youth tournaments
U17: 2009 83,638 (Germany)
U18: 1984 404,600 (Soviet Union; 28 games, including 72,800 crowd for Hungary v USSR final, youth tournament record)
U16: 1997 206,916 (Germany)
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