The UEFA European Under-19 Championship is the successor to the FIFA junior tournament, which began in 1948 as a U18 event and was taken over by UEFA seven years later.
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The UEFA European Under-19 Championship is the successor to the FIFA junior tournament, which began in 1948 as a U18 event and was taken over by UEFA seven years later. This International Youth Tournament was played in a number of different formats in the first 32 years of its existence, with England enjoying success on eight occasions while the Soviet Union triumphed in the competition four times and Bulgaria three.
In 1980, the tournament was changed to the UEFA European Under-18 Championship, reflecting one of UEFA's main priorities, which is to promote youth football and to encourage the development of young footballers. The inaugural European U18 Championship was held in 1980/81, before the competition was changed to a U19 event ahead of the 2001/02 season because of changes in player eligibility dates.
France were the most successful team in the European U18 Championship, lifting the trophy on four separate occasions, with Portugal and the Soviet Union each prevailing twice. Spain have dominated since the switch to U19s, triumphing eight times, while France have won the title three times. In 2021/22, England joined Germany on two U19 crowns as the competition returned following a two-season absence due to COVID-19.
Some future stars who played at U18 and U19 final tournaments:
England: Michael Owen, Gary Neville, Sol Campbell, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Reece James
France: Mikaël Silvestre, William Gallas, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman, Kylian Mbappé
Czech Republic: Petr Čech
Germany: Mesut Özil, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo, Nicolò Barella, Sandro Tonali
Netherlands: Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, Frank de Boer, Frenkie de Jong
Norway: Erling Haaland
Portugal: Luís Figo, Bernando Silva, Rafael Leão, Diogo Costa
Republic of Ireland: Roy Keane, Robbie Keane
Spain: Andrés Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Silva, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué, Juan Mata,Thiago Alcantara