Nazionale U19

In defence of the European throne, Italy to discover its group rivals. The draw for the finals will take place in Belfast

Tomorrow at 16:00 CEST in the Northern Ireland capital will be the draw for the UEFA Euro U19 finals. The Azzurrini are defending champions, with Spain and France being the other big contenders

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

In defence of the European throne, Italy to discover its group rivals. The draw for the finals will take place in Belfast

A throne to defend and a dream to nurture. The Under 19’s, as defending champions, are gearing up for Euro 2024, setting a new goal and raising the bar towards Northern Ireland. Tomorrow at 16:00 CEST in Belfast, the draw for the final phase of the European Championship, scheduled from 15 to 28 July, will take place. The 7 winners of the Elite Round, plus the Northern Irish hosts qualified by right, will be divided into two groups, which will be played at the Seaview Stadium in Belfast and the Inver Parke in Larne (semi-finals and final at the National Football Stadium in Belfast). The top two from each group will advance to the semifinals and qualify for the U20 World Cup in Chile in 2025. The two third-placed teams will face a playoff to determine the 5th and final UEFA representative that will fly to South America in 2025.

ITALY INTO THE FINALS. The Azzurrini have reached the final phase for the fifth consecutive time, the tenth in 20 editions (18 out of 38 if we also consider the previous U18 format), after finishing the Qualifying Round in second place behind Switzerland (ahead of Sweden and Liechtenstein) and winning the Elite phase with a maximum points thanks to victories over Czech Republic, Georgia, and Scotland. Italy, who are the defending champions and have also won the 2003 edition in Liechtenstein (both times defeating Portugal), have reached the final three more times, losing to Portugal in 2018, to Mbappè's France in 2016, and to Germany in 2008, while finishing third in 2022 for a total of 9 podiums and an overall sixth place in the medal table. Looking back to before the U19 European Championship was formed in the 2001/2002 season, the Azzurrini lost 3 finals of the EURO U18 tournaments, which began in 1981. Firstly, in 1986 to East Germany, followed by defeats to Spain in 1995 (with players like Buffon and Totti in the Italian team), and again to Portugal, in 1999. It's also worth noting the two victories in 1958 and 1966 in what was then the 'Youth Tournament' promoted by UEFA.

THE OTHER FINALISTS. The tournament is made up of Italy, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Turkey, France, Norway, Spain, and Ukraine. Notable absences include big names, such as Portugal; finalist and defeated by the Azzurrini in the last tournament. They went out in the group won by Denmark. Germany and England, who together boast 2 titles each, are also missing, with the former eliminated in the Elite Round in the group won by Turkey, and the latter being knocked out in the Qualifying Round. Spain, on the other hand, is present. They have dominated the European Championships so far, with 8 victories in the 20 tournaments to date. Since the format changed from U18 to U19, the Furia Roja boasts almost 50% of the total successes, being the only one to have won two consecutive titles (2006, 2007 and 2011, 2012) and also hold the record for reaching the finals (14 times). Denmark on the other hand are making their debut in the finals. Norway, Turkey, and Northern Ireland have never won (the best result being that of the Turks, second in 2004). Ukraine in 2009 and France with the 2005 hat-trick (also hosted in Northern Ireland), 2010, and 2016 are the other National Teams able to boast a European title besides the Azzurrini.


The Stadiums

Seaview Stadium, Belfast: Group phase and the playoffs for the FIFA U20 World Cup
Inver Park, Larne: Group phase
National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast: Semi-final and final

The Dates

Group Phase: 15-16, 18-19, 21-22 July
U20 World Cup Playoffs: 25 July
Semi-final: 25 July
Final: 28 July

Previous Winners

2002 Spain; 2003 Italy; 2004 Spain, 2005 France; 2006 Spain; 2007 Spain; 2008 Germany; 2009 Ukraine; 2010 France; 2011 Spain; 2012 Spain; 2013 Serbia; 2014 Germany; 2015 Spain; 2016 France; 2017 England; 2018 Portugal; 2019 Spain; 2022 England; 2023 Italy