Europe’s journey to Tokyo 2020 has reached its final and decisive leg. The UEFA U-21 Championship takes place in Italy, and in one venue in San Marino, from 16-30 June, where the top four teams at the end of the tournament will seal qualification to next year’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020.
Group A: Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Serbia, Austria
Group C: England, France, Romania, Croatia
Each group winner, along with the best runner-up, will advance to the semi-finals, and therefore qualify for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020. The best runner-up is determined according to the following order as outlined in UEFA’s regulations: 1. highest number of points 2. superior goal difference 3. higher number of goals scored 4. lower disciplinary points based on yellow and red cards received in all group games 5. higher position in UEFA U-21 coefficient ranking used for the final draw.
*Note: If England (ineligible for the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament) qualifies for the semi-finals, the second and third best runners-up will contest an Olympic play-off. The game will take place at 21:00 on Friday, 28 June in Cesena.
Group A: 16, 19, 22 June
Group B: 17, 20, 23 June
Group C: 18, 21, 24 June
Semi-finals: 27 June
*Possible Olympic play-off: 28 June
Final: 30 June
There are a number of players to watch out for and who already have won over many football fans. Among them are Moise Kean (ITA, pictured above), Dawid Kownacki (POL), Dani Ceballos (ESP), Joachim Andersen (DEN), Robert Skov (DEN), Maximilian Eggestein (GER), Luka Jovic (SRB, pictured at top), Alen Halilovic (CRO), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (ENG), Phil Foden (ENG), Matteo Guendouzi (FRA), Houssem Aouar (FRA) and Moussa Dembele (FRA).
Of the four European nations that participated in the previous edition of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament at Rio 2016, only defending EURO U-21 champions Germany and Denmark are in contention to return, with Portugal and Sweden missing out.