U21 EURO memories: highlights, winners, star players

Whet your appetite for this summer by taking a trip down U21 EURO memory lane.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar starred as the Dutch won the title in 2006
©UEFA.com

2017 (hosts: Poland)

Winners: Germany
Runners-up: Spain
Top scorer: Saúl Ñiguez, Spain (5)
Golden Player: Dani Ceballos, Spain

The 2017 tournament in Poland was the first since the finals had been expanded to include 12 teams, and it made for an extra-competitive field. It was Germany who came out on top, despite only qualifying for the semis as the best-placed runner-up in the group phase.

2015 (Czech Republic)

Watch the best goals from the 2015 tournament
Watch the best goals from the 2015 tournament

Winners: Sweden
Runners-up: Portugal
Top scorer: Jan Kilment, Czech Republic (3)
Golden Player: William Carvalho, Portugal

Sweden won their first U21 title in dramatic style, beating Portugal on penalties in the final. The Swedes had made a habit of doing things the hard way, recovering from a 5-1 qualifying loss in Greece, and later coming from a goal and a man down in their first match in Czech Republic to beat Italy 2-1. Keeper Patrik Carlgren made two penalty saves in the shoot-out v Portugal.

2013 (Israel)

Winners: Spain
Runners-up: Italy
Top scorer: Álvaro Morata, Spain (4)
Golden Player: Thiago Alcántara, Spain

The tournament's two most successful teams met in the 2013 showpiece, Spain emerging triumphant to defend their crown. The finalists conceded only one goal between them en route to the Jerusalem decider, but a high-quality, six-goal affair ensued in the Israeli capital. Thiago starred with a hat-trick.

2011 (Denmark)

Winners: Spain
Runners-up: Switzerland
Top scorer: Adrián López, Spain (5)
Golden Player: Juan Mata, Spain

Switzerland may not have taken home the trophy, but they made a lot of friends during their remarkable run to the final. The Swiss, with keeper Yann Sommer prominent, did not let in a goal prior to the deciding match in Aarhus. It was Spain who prevailed, though, thanks to strikes from Ander Herrera and Thiago.

2009 (Sweden)

Germany won the title in 2009
Germany won the title in 2009©UEFA.com

Winners: Germany
Runners-up: England
Top scorer: Marcus Berg, Sweden (9)
Golden Player: Marcus Berg, Sweden

Germany are seasoned winners in international football but it took until 2009 for them to lift this title for the first time. When you look at the line-up that contested the final against England, it's easy to see why this was their time to shine; Mesut Özil, Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels were just some of the names involved in that 4-0 win.

2007 (Netherlands)

Winners: Netherlands
Runners-up: Serbia
Top scorer: Maceo Rigters, Netherlands (4)
Golden Player: Royston Drenthe, Netherlands

The sea of orange that greeted the Dutch every time they played on home soil helped propel them to a second straight title. The final pitted them against Serbia and the Dutch fans were treated to a 4-1 victory in a tournament that smashed attendance records. The biggest scare for the eventual winners had come in the semis, when they outlasted England 13-12 on spot kicks.

2006 (Portugal)

Winners: Netherlands
Runners-up: Ukraine
Top scorer: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Netherlands (4)
Golden Player: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Netherlands

After a five-time winner in 2004 there was a first-time champion in 2006. Ukraine overcame the Dutch in their opening group match but these teams would meet again in the final. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the competition's star player and he underlined his status with two goals in the decider.

2004 (Germany)

Watch the best goals from the 2004 tournament
Watch the best goals from the 2004 tournament

Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Serbia and Montenegro
Top scorer: Alberto Gilardino, Italy, Johan Elmander, Sweden (4)
Golden Player: Alberto Gilardino, Italy

Germany hosted the 2004 championship but it was Italy who again took the honours with a 3-0 defeat of Serbia and Montenegro in the final. It was the fifth time the Azzurrini had claimed the trophy in seven tournaments, Daniele De Rossi, Cesare Bovo and Alberto Gilardino on the mark in the showpiece.

2002 (Switzerland)

Winners: Czech Republic
Runners-up: France
Top scorer: Massimo Maccarone, Italy (3)
Golden Player: Petr Čech, Czech Republic

"They had a great keeper, great not only in size but also in the way he played, and that made the difference," said France coach Raymond Domenech of Čech, who starred not just in the final against Les Bleus but all tournament. Not content with keeping a clean sheet for 120 minutes of the final, Čech also saved two penalties in the shoot-out for the victorious Czechs.

2000 (Slovakia)

Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Czech Republic
Top scorer: Andrea Pirlo, Italy (3)
Golden Player: Andrea Pirlo, Italy

Andrea Pirlo announced himself with a series of superb displays which culminated in a two-goal show in the final to help Italy land the trophy for the fourth time. Both Italy and Czech Republic advanced to the final unbeaten, but a midfield partnership of Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso proved too formidable for the Czechs.

1998 (Romania)

Watch the best goals from the 1998 tournament
Watch the best goals from the 1998 tournament

Winners: Spain
Runners-up: Greece
Top scorer: Steffen Iversen, Norway, Nikos Liberopoulos, Greece (3)
Golden Player: Francesc Arnau, Spain

Spain made up for the disappointment of losing the final two years before with a stubborn 1-0 win against Greece, Iván Pérez the scorer. The event had talented players including Guti, Míchel Salgado and Michael Ballack on show, while future UEFA EURO 2004 winners Georgios Karagounis, Traianos Dellas, Ioannis Goumas and Vassilios Lakis all figured for Greece.

1996 (Spain)

Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Spain
Top scorer: Raúl González, Spain (3)
Golden Player: Fabio Cannavaro, Italy

Two of Europe's most iconic strikers of the last two decades – Francesco Totti and Raúl González – were on the mark as Italy and Spain played out an intriguing final that went all the way to penalties. Raffaele Ametrano's extra-time red card made life even tougher for Italy but they held on and won 4-2 in the shoot-out.

1994 (France)

Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Portugal
Top scorer: João Pinto, Portugal (3)
Golden Player: Luís Figo, Portugal

A Pierluigi Orlandini golden goal decided the first single-game final. A sparkling generation of Portugal players including Luís Figo, Rui Costa and João Pinto met an Italy side featuring the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Christian Panucci and Filippo Inzaghi. The standard was so high, even Zinédine Zidane was unable to get beyond the semis with France.

1992 (home and away)

A look back at some of the previous finals
A look back at some of the previous finals

Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Sweden
Top scorer: Renato Buso, Italy (3)
Golden Player: Renato Buso, Italy

A 6-0 defeat in the qualifiers did little to fuel optimism that Italy could go on to secure their first title, but that's exactly what they did. That humbling loss to Norway was avenged and Italy made it all the way through to the final, where they completed a 2-1 aggregate win against Sweden.

1990 (home and away)

Winners: Soviet Union
Runners-up: Yugoslavia
Top scorer: Davor Šuker, Yugoslavia, Andrei Sidelnikov, USSR (3)
Golden Player: Davor Šuker, Yugoslavia

The USSR posted a comfortable two-leg victory over Yugoslavia in the 1990 final but both nations boasted excellent young players that went on to have great careers around Europe. Andrei Kanchelskis and Aleksandr Mostovoi starred for the Soviets while Yugoslavia paraded the likes of Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinečki, Predrag Mijatović and Šuker.

1988 (home and away)

Winners: France
Runners-up: Greece
Top scorer: Aristidis Karasavidis, Greece (5)
Golden Player: Laurent Blanc, France

France were champions for the first time after a thoroughly professional effort in the final against Greece. Despite the presence of exciting French talents such as Eric Cantona and Franck Sauzée, two clean sheets in the final meant it was entirely fitting that future FIFA World Cup winner Laurent Blanc received the Golden Player award.

1986 (home and away)

Watch classic Italy U21 goals
Watch classic Italy U21 goals

Winners: Spain
Runners-up: Italy
Top scorer: Gianluca Vialli, Italy (4)
Golden Player: Manuel Sanchís, Spain

Spain picked up the trophy for the first time in 1986 but the tournament was arguably more useful to Italy, with Walter Zenga, Roberto Mancini, Roberto Donadoni and Gianluca Vialli all playing in a home World Cup four years later. They suffered heartbreak here, losing to Spain in a final shoot-out after a 3-3 aggregate draw.

1984 (home and away)

Winners: England
Runners-up: Spain
Top scorer: Mark Hateley, England (6)
Golden Player: Mark Hateley, England

Mark Hateley was the England hero as Dave Sexton's team retained their title. The tall forward went goal crazy in the knockout rounds, scoring four in the quarter-finals against France alone. He also struck in the home leg of the final against Spain, helping England to register a 3-0 aggregate success.

1982 (home and away)

Winners: England
Runners-up: West Germany
Top scorer: Pierre Littbarski, Germany (6)
Golden Player: Rudi Völler, Germany

West Germany and England both lost their opening group games before going on to reach the final – and what a final it was! Pierre Littbarski hit a hat-trick in the second leg in Bremen but still ended up on the losing side, England having won 3-1 on home soil.

1980 (home and away)

A guide to this year's host cities
A guide to this year's host cities

Winners: Soviet Union
Runners-up: German Democratic Republic
Top scorer: Ramaz Shengelia, USSR (3)
Golden Player: Anatoli Demianenko, USSR

East Germany were the unlucky losers again in the 1980 final, an eventful affair settled by a single goal. The first leg, in Rostock, ended 0-0 but the USSR had keeper Victor Tchanov red-carded with five minutes left. Valeri Novikov took the gloves for the Moscow return and did a great job as he too kept a clean sheet. Yuri Susloparov scored the only goal.

1978 (home and away)

Winners: Yugoslavia
Runners-up: German Democratic Republic
Top scorer: Vahid Halihodžić, Yugoslavia (6)
Golden Player: Vahid Halihodžić, Yugoslavia

Age-group football was a stronghold in central and eastern Europe, and when Bulgaria and England were knocked out in the semis, it left Yugoslavia and East Germany to battle for the title. Up stepped Vahid Halihodžić, as the future Paris, Dinamo Zagreb and Japan manager became the hero with a second-leg treble.

This text has been adapted from the official UEFA European Under-21 Champioship tournament programme.

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