Under-21 EURO 2019: all you need to know

Two weeks of thrilling football in Italy ended with Spain clinching their fifth Under-21 title.

The official tournament ball out and about in Bologna
The official tournament ball out and about in Bologna ©Sportsfile

Who was involved in U21 EURO?

There were three groups of four teams; each of the group winners plus the best runner-up progressed to the semi-finals.

The groups finished as follows:

Group A: Spain*, Italy, Poland, Belgium
Group B: Germany*, Denmark, Austria, Serbia
Group C: Romania*, France*, England, Croatia

*Qualified for semi-finals

Spain and Dani Ceballos emerged triumphant
Spain and Dani Ceballos emerged triumphant©Sportsfile

Spain, Germany and Romania won their groups to clinch semi-final spots, while France took the best runner-up berth after a goalless draw with Romania ensured they pipped hosts Italy.

Germany 4-2 Romania
Spain 4-1 France

Spain 2-1 Germany

What is the link with the Olympics?

The finals serve as European qualifying for the 2020 Olympic football tournament, with the four semi-finalists – France, Germany, Romania and Spain – now assured of going to Japan.

Where was it played?

The tournament was held in Italy. The venues were:

Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna
Stadio Città del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia
Stadio Dino Manuzzi, Cesena
Stadio Nereo Rocco, Trieste
Stadio Friuli, Udine
San Marino Stadium, Serravalle

What was the format?

Watch highlights of a remarkable game between Romania and England
Watch highlights of a remarkable game between Romania and England

The four sides in each group faced each other in a round-robin format, with the three group winners advancing to the semi-finals along with the best runner-up. It then became a knockout competition. Full explanation can be found in the regulations.

Who were the recent winners?

2017: Germany
2015: Sweden
2013: Spain
2011: Spain
2009: Germany

What was Andrea Pirlo's role?

The Italy great is tournament ambassador, refamiliarising himself with a tournament he illuminated in 2000, playing a starring role as the Azzurrini triumphed in the Czech Republic. The man who inspired T-shirts embossed with the slogan 'Keep calm and pass the ball to Pirlo' went on to win two UEFA Champions League titles, a FIFA World Cup and 116 senior caps.