Upcoming Match-ups

Spain Enter 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championships as +400 Favorites

Gary Gowers

by Gary Gowers in Soccer News

Updated Apr 1, 2020 · 12:40 PM PDT

The Spanish celebrate their victory in the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Championships - a feat they repeated in 2013 - and they now start the 2019 tournament as favorites. Photo by Henrik Alexandersen (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Spain, England & France lead the betting
  • The Danes are in fine form
  • Italy, the hosts, not fancied

Despite it being an odd-numbered year, there’s no shortage of soccer this summer. The Women’s World Cup has already kicked off with the Copa America to follow, and the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championships start on June 16 – a tournament that’s being jointly-hosted by Italy and San Marino.

UEFA Under-21 European Championship Odds

Team Odds
Spain U21 +400
England U21 +450
France U21 +500
Germany U21 +550
Italy U21 +550
Denmark U21 +1800
Belgium U21 +1800
Serbia U21 +1800
Croatia U21 +2500
Poland U21 +3300
Austria U21 +4000
Romania U21 +5000

*Odds taken June 13 2019. 

The Spanish have just edged ahead as favorites, but it’s a tough, unforgiving format. The 12 teams have been drawn into three groups with the winners of each group and the best runner-up qualifying for the semifinals.

We’ll look at each group in turn.

Group A: Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium

As the home nation, Italy will be fancied to go a long way in this competition and will be hoping to do better than in 2017, when they went out at the semifinal stage, and 2013 when they were the beaten finalists.

In Under-21 terms, they have some ‘experienced’ players, like Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora and Torino striker Vittorio Parigini but also the exuberance of youth in Juventus’ 19-year-old Moise Kean, who has already made his senior debut.

The Spanish have an amazing record in this competition, having won in it 2011 and 2013, and were beaten finalists in 2017. Like Italy, they have a squad with considerable under-21 experience. For goals, they will be looking to 22-year-old Levante striker Borja Mayoral, whose goal ratio is better than one every two games.

Poland are the outsiders in Group A and have yet to make it to the semifinal stage of this tournament. Most of their players are home-based, but top scorer Dawid Kownacki – currently on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf from Sampdoria – has European experience.

Despite being FIFA’s number one ranked team at the senior level, Belgium has never won this tournament; their best showing being in 2007 when they reached the last four. Since then they have failed to qualify for five successive finals.

But the Belgians are on an 11-game unbeaten run and have been scoring goals for fun, helped by Anderlecht`s 21-year-old striker Landry Dimata, who has scored seven goals in his last 12 appearances.

Our pick: Belgium to win Group A

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Serbia, Austria

The Germans are the current holders and will be confident of defending their title. Like the Belgians, they are in great form with seven wins and a draw since last September.

They are another squad that is full of goals, with Torles Knoll, Aaron Seydel and Cedric Teuchert all contributing in qualifying and during the unbeaten run.

Denmark`s best tournament was in 2015 when they reached the semifinal stage, and they head into this tournament off the back of an unbeaten record in 2019, with three wins and a draw that includes wins over Belgium and France.

They are led by Ajax defender, Rasmus Nissen Kristensen, who has just helped his club Ajax to the domestic double, and up front they have Genk`s Marcus Ingvartsen, who has scored 17 goals in 25 Under-21 games.

Serbia reached the final of this tournament in 2007, but since then have failed to progress beyond the group stages, not even qualifying for the finals in 2011 and 2013. Oddly, they have only played one game in 2019 – a 2-0 win in Poland – so they may head into this competition a little undercooked.

It’s also a relatively inexperienced squad with their most capped player being captain Vukasin Jovanovic.

Austria heads into the tournament as underdogs and with little by way of expectation. They have a couple of useful strikers in Mathias Honsak and Arnel Jakupovic but it’s hard to see them making too much of an impact.

Our pick: Germany to win the group and Denmark to qualify as the best runner-up

Group C: England, France, Romania, Croatia

England and France kick off the tournament in a game that could potentially decide who tops Group C. The French look strong and will likely include Lyon`s Moussa Dembele – who starred for Celtic before making a £22 million move to the Ligue 1 side – and Lille’s Jonathan Bamba who has a one in three strike-rate for the French Under-21s.

England also looks very strong, with a host of players who perform week in, week out in the English Premier – among them Manchester City’s Phil Foden, who became one of the youngest-ever Premier League winners this season. They also have the Leicester City trio of Demarai Gray, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, and the Everton pairing of Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, all of whom played plenty of Premier League minutes last season.

YouTube video

Croatia’s rise as a soccer nation continues apace and they will be hoping and expecting that their Under-21s will follow the example of their senior team. It’s an inexperienced team though, with only four players in double figures for appearances. They too have a Leicester player in their squad, Philip Benkovic, who has scored twice in his seven Under-21 games.

The Spanish have an amazing record in this competition having won in it 2011 and 2013 and were beaten finalists in 2017.

Romania are the tournament’s underdogs but, in Palermo’s George Puscas, they have a striker capable of causing any defense problems. With 14 goals in his 21 Under-21 appearances and a regular goalscorer in Serie B, he is definitely one to watch.

Our pick: England to qualify

Expect a Twist

Based on our predictions above, we anticipate some surprises in this tournament and an unexpected final four of Belgium, Germany, Denmark and England. The Danes good form going into the tournament will, in our view, see them negotiate the group stage but we can’t see them going all the way. Instead, we expect England to win it, possibly via a penalty shootout.

Our pick: England to win

Author Image