Spain v Belgium facts

Spain and Belgium meet in a competitive fixture for the first time since 2005 in the second round of Group A games.

Dani Ceballos training in Italy
©Sportsfile

Spain and Belgium meet competitively for the first time in 14 years as they face off in the second round of Group A matches at the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Each side is looking to recover from an opening-day defeat; Spain went down 3-1 against hosts Italy, despite taking the lead through Dani Ceballos, and Belgium were beaten 3-2 by Poland in the tournament's opening match, also after having scored first. 

Under-21 rewind: Asensio nets long-range stunner
Under-21 rewind: Asensio nets long-range stunner

Previous meetings
• This is the first time the teams have played a competitive game since October 2005, when Thomas Vermaelen's second-half goal gave Belgium a 1-0 victory in Liege. The sides had drawn 2-2 in Spain 12 months earlier, Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fàbregas with the goals for the home side; neither side reached the 2006 finals.

• The countries had also shared two draws in qualifying for the 1996 competition, the game in Brussels finishing 3-3 before a 1-1 result in Malaga. Spain went on to reach the quarter-finals and were eventually beaten by Italy in the Barcelona final after a penalty shoot-out.

• Most recently, Belgium were 4-1 winners away to Spain in a November 2014 friendly played in Ferrol; Nathan Kabasele, Youri Tielemans, Joris Kayembe-Ditu and Benito Raman got the goals for the visitors with a Munir El Haddadi strike three minutes after half-time Spain's sole response.

• In February 2013, Hannes Van der Bruggen cancelled out Gerard Deulofeu's opener to give Belgium a 1-1 friendly draw in Mechelen.

• Spain's last win against Belgium was a 3-0 success in January 1997.

• Captain Sebastiaan Bornauw and Alexis Saelemaekers were both in the Belgium side beaten 3-0 by Spain in the European U19 Championship elite round in March 2018.

• Bornauw was in the Belgium U17 side that beat Spain 4-3 on penalties in the 2016 European Championship elite round after a goalless draw. Belgium therefore finished top of the section, although both countries advanced to the final tournament.

• A Belgium side featuring Siebe Schrijvers lost 2-1 against Spain in the U17 elite round in 2013.

Highlights: Italy 3-1 Spain
Highlights: Italy 3-1 Spain

Form guide
Spain
• This is Spain's seventh appearance in the U21 final tournament since 1998, and a fifth in the competition's last six editions. They have only once failed to get past the group stage in their six previous participations, in 2009, and have reached the final in each of their last three, lifting the trophy in 2011 and 2013.

• Spain were also champions in 1986, and runners-up in 1984 and 1996.

• This time Spain qualified by finishing top of Group 2, winning nine of their ten qualifying fixtures with 31 goals scored and ten conceded.

• Defeat by Germany in the 2017 final ended Spain's ten-match unbeaten run in competitive U21 matches (W7 D3); the opening loss to Italy at these finals was only their third in their last 22 European U21 Championship games (W16 D3), the other in qualification at home to Northern Ireland on 11 September 2018 (1-2).

• The matchday one loss to Italy ended Spain's eight-match winning run in group games at the finals, and was their first defeat in the group stage since a 2-0 reverse to England on 18 June 2009.

• Coach Luis de la Fuente, who succeeded Albert Celades in July 2018, led Spain to the 2015 UEFA European Under-19 Championship title in Greece with a squad including Antonio Sivera, Unai Simón, Jorge Meré, Mikel Merino, Alfonso Pedraza, Dani Ceballos and Borja Mayoral.

Highlights: Poland 3-2 Belgium
Highlights: Poland 3-2 Belgium

Belgium
• This is Belgium's third U21 finals, and a first since 2007. Then they reached the semi-finals across the border in the Netherlands, losing 2-0 to Serbia in the last four.

• The Young Devils' only other appearance in the final tournament came in Switzerland in 2002, when they finished third in their group behind France and eventual champions the Czech Republic having picked up three points from their three matches.

• After losing to Poland, Belgium's record in the final tournament is therefore W2 D2 L4 F7 A11.

• One of five countries unbeaten in qualification, Johan Walem's team won eight of their ten games en route to these finals, drawing the other two to finish six points clear of Sweden at the top of Group 6. They won their last seven qualifiers, keeping clean sheets in the last four while scoring 13 times themselves.

Links and trivia
• On 23 February 2015 Aaron Leya Iseka scored the only goal as Anderlecht beat Barcelona to qualify for the UEFA Youth League quarter-finals.

• Fabián Ruiz came on as a substitute in Spain's 4-1 UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying win away to the Faroe Islands on 7 June and started the 3-0 defeat of Sweden in Madrid three days later. Mikel Oyarzabal came on against Sweden to score Spain's third goal, his first at senior international level.

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