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EURO qualifying's youngest players

Norway's Martin Ødegaard and Spain's Lamine Yamal head the list of young guns who have left their mark on the qualifying stages.

Spain's Lamine Yamal in action on his international debut
Spain's Lamine Yamal in action on his international debut AFP via Getty Images

Martin Ødegaard became the youngest player to feature in a UEFA European Championship match when he came on in the second half of Norway's 2-1 victory against Bulgaria in October 2014 – breaking a European record that had stood for more than 15 years.

UEFA.com pays tribute to the players that showed maturity beyond their years by taking their place in the ultimate list of EURO qualifying fledglings.

Who are the youngest players in EURO qualifying?

Martin Ødegaard
Norway 2-1 Bulgaria, 13/10/2014
Age: 15 years 300 days
Just 183 days after becoming the Norwegian top division's youngest-ever debutant, 150 on from becoming the Eliteserien's youngest scorer and 47 after winning his first Norway cap, Ødegaard set a new mark in EURO qualifying after coming on as a second-half substitute against Bulgaria. "I need to keep my feet on the ground," was the then-Strømsgodset midfielder's mantra but his career since has taken off since, with permanent moves to Real Madrid then Arsenal.

Martin Ødegaard makes his Norway debut
Martin Ødegaard makes his Norway debutAFP via Getty Images

Lamine Yamal
Georgia 1-7 Spain, 08/09/2023
Age: 16 years 57 days
Yamal became the youngest player in Spain's history when he came on as a substitute in their UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier in Tbilisi, breaking the previous record of 17 years and 62 days set by his Barcelona team-mate Gavi in 2021. Yamal had only played five first-team matches for his hometown club when making his international bow and, within half an hour, became EURO qualifying's youngest-ever goalscorer.

Ronny Büchel
Liechtenstein 2-1 Azerbaijan, 14/10/1998
16 years 209 days
Büchel's debut was not only a personal milestone but a national one. The then 16-year-old's baptism came in this famous victory over Azerbaijan – Liechtenstein's first in FIFA or UEFA competition. The midfielder went on to amass 72 caps before withdrawing from national service in 2010. A stint with Vaduz had preceded his solitary season with Young Boys in 2001/02 before a spell with Chur 97. Returned to Liechtenstein with Eschen/Mauren, Ruggell, Buchs, Triesen and Trisenberg.

Ronny Büchel playing for Liechtenstein in 2009
Ronny Büchel playing for Liechtenstein in 2009Bongarts/Getty Images

Sigurdur Jónsson
1-0 Malta, 05/06/1983
Age: 16 years 251 days
After debuting for home-town club ÍA Akranes, the midfielder known as Siggi got the call from coach Johannes Atlason for this qualifier. Winless in five previous games in the campaign, half-time substitute Jónsson helped them over the line. He went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal in England and had three spells with Akranes before going into coaching, notably with Sweden's Djurgårdens. Won 65 caps for his country in total, scoring three times.

Peter Jehle
Liechtenstein 2-1 Azerbaijan, 14/10/1998
16 years 265 days
Like Büchel, Jehle made his debut as a 16-year-old in the game against Azerbaijan, making their achievement of that maiden qualification victory even more remarkable. He remained his nation's No1 for almost two decades, eventually picking up a national record 132 caps. Jehle's club career also took off. He joined Grasshopper Club at 18, becoming a Swiss champion twice, played for Boavista, Tours, Luzern and Vaduz, and was voted Liechtensteiner Footballer of the Year twice.

The rest of the top ten...

Levan Kenia playing for Georgia in 2008
Levan Kenia playing for Georgia in 2008Bongarts/Getty Images

Levan Kenia
Georgia 1-1 Ukraine, 08/09/2007
Age: 16 years 325 days

Grigoris Kastanos
Belgium 5-0 Cyprus, 28/03/2015
Age: 17 years 57 days

Daniel Frick
Latvia 1-0 Liechtenstein, 06/09/1995
Age: 17 years 79 days

Gareth Bale
1-5 Slovakia, 07/10/2006
17 years 83 days

Vagif Javadov
Serbia 1-0 Azerbaijan, 02/09/2006
17 years 100 days

The youngest player to feature in a UEFA European Championship final tournament match is Poland's Kacper Kozłowski, while England's Jude Bellingham is the youngest to play in the knockout stages. Check out those and other finals records here.

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