The 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship kicks off for the 19th time, with host nation Israel seeded in Group A along with England, Italy and Norway, while defending champions Spain are in Group B, playing with Germany, Netherlands and Russia, with each side bringing a squad of 23 players, some of them who have already played for their senior national sides.
Spain are probably the favorites to win again, even though they’re in a very tough group. Germany didn’t bring their full-powered side, preferring that the most talented of their eligble players remain with the senior side. The Netherlands have an extremely talented team, while Italy are probably the favorites to come out of Group A on top. Israel, the hosts, will be lucky not to finish last in their group.
This is the 12th time England have made it into the competition, with two wins (1982, 1984) in their past. They made the final in 2009, losing to Germany, but failed to make it out of the group stage in 2011. They finished on top of a group that included Norway, Belgium, Azerbaijan and Iceland in the qualifying stage.
Goalkeepers – Jack Butland (Stoke), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough), Declan Rudd (Norwich).
Defense – Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Adam Smith (Tottenham), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool), Craig Dawson (WBA), Tom Lees (Leeds), Jack Robinson (Liverpool), Jason Lowe (Blackburn), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford).
Midfielders – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansburi (Nottingham Forest), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Nathan Redmond (Birmingham).
Forwards – Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Connor Wickham (Sunderland).
For the host nation this is only the second time they’ve made the tournament, with the first being in 2007 (Netherlands), losing in all three matches. For the 2009 tournament they did reach the qualification playoffs, but lost to Italy in the two-leg encounter.
Goalkeepers – Boris Klaiman (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Barak Levi (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Arik Yanko (Hakoakh Ramat Gan).
Defenders – Eli Dasa (Beitar Jerusalem), Ofir Davidzada (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Ido Levy (Maccabi Netanya), Ben Vehava (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Adi Gotlieb (Hapoel Acco), Taleb Twatiha (Maccabi Haifa), Ofer Verta (Ashdod), Omri Ben Harush (Maccabi Netanya).
Midfielders – Marwan Kabha (Maccabi Petah Tikva), Yisrael Zaguri (Hapoel Ramat Gan), Nir Biton (Ashdod), Eyal Golasa (Maccabi Haifa), Sintayehu Sallallich (Maccabi Haifa), Ahad Azam (Hapoel Haifa), Omri Altman (Fulham), Ofir Kriaf (Beitar Jerusalem).
Forwards – Mohammed Kalibat (Bnei Sakhnin), Moanes Dabour (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Orr Barouch (Bnei Yehuda), Alon Turgeman (Maccabi Haifa).
Since the inception of the U-21 tournament in 1978, Italy have missed it only twice, including in 2011. They are five-time winners (1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004). They finished on top of a group that included Turkey, Ireland, Hungary and Liechtenstein in the qualifiers, overcoming Sweden in the playoffs.
Goalkeepers – Francesco Bardi (Novara), Simone Colombi (Modena), Nicola Leali (Virtus Lanciano).
Defenders – Giulio Donati (Grosseto), Cristiano Biraghi (Cittadella), Marco Capuano (Pescara), Luca Caldirola (Cesena), Matteo Bianchetti (Verona), Vasco Regini (Empoli).
Midfielders – Marco Verratti (PSG), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Luca Marrone (Juventus), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Nicola Sansone (Parma), Andrea Bertolacci (Genoa), Riccardo Saponara (Milan), Fausto Rossi (Brescia), Marco Crimi (Grosseto).
Forwards – Ciro Immobile (Genoa), Manolo Gabbiadini (Bologna), Mattia Destro (Roma), Alberto Paloschi (Chievo), Fabio Borini (Liverpool).
Just like the hosts, this is only the second time Norway have qualified to the competition. They made it in 1998, finishing at third place after winning two of three matches (no group stage back then). To get to the tournament in 2013, they finished second in the group with England before stunning France in the playoffs.
Goalkeepers – Arild Østbø (Strømmen), Ørjan Nyland (Molde), Gudmund Kongshavn (Vålerenga).
Defenders – Martin Linnes (Molde), Thomas Rogne (Celtic), Stefan Strandberg (Rosenborg), Vegar Eggen Hedenstad (Freiburg), Omar Elabdellaoui (Braunschweig), Fredrik Semb Berge (Odds).
Midfielders – Harmeet Singh (Feyenoord), Markus Henriksen (AZ), Håvard Nordtveit (Monchengladbach), Anders Konradsen (Rennes), Magnus Wolff Eikrem (Molde), Stefan Johansen (Strømsgodset), Abdisalam Ibrahim (Strømsgodset).
Forwards – Jo Inge Berget (Molde), Valon Berisha (Red Bull Salzburg), Marcus Pedersen (OB), Håvard Nielsen (Red Bull Salzburg), Yann-Erik de Lanlay (Viking), Flamur Kastrati (Erzgebirge Aue), Joshua King (Blackburn).
Germany haven’t been a constant member of the tournament, usually having on and off periods with their younger generation. For example, after winning the tournament in 2009, they failed to qualify in 2011. In 2013, they finished on top of their qualification group above Bosnia, Greece, Belarus, Cyprus and San Marino, beating Switzerland in the playoff.
Goalkeepers – Bernd Leno (Leverkusen), Oliver Baumann (Freiburg), Timo Horn (FC Koln).
Defenders – Tony Jantschke (Monchengladbach), Stefan Thesker (Hoffenheim), Lasse Sobiech (Greuther Furth), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Sead Kolašinac (Schalke), Oliver Sorg (Freiburg), Antonio Rüdiger (Stuttgart).
Midfielders – Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Patrick Funk (St. Pauli), Sebastian Rode (Frankfurt), Lewis Holtby (Tottenham), Patrick Herrmann (Monchengladbach), Christian Clemens (FC Koln), Christoph Moritz (Schalke), Emre Can (Bayern Munich.
Forwards – Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim), Peniel Mlapa (Monchengladbach), Sebastian Polter (Nuremberg), Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hertha Berlin).
After winning the tournament twice in a row (2006, 2007), the Netherlands have failed to reach the competition in 2009 and 2011. This time, they above Scotland, Bulgaria, Austria and Luxembourg, before beating Slovakia in the playoff.
Goalkeepers – Jeroen Zoet (Waalwijk), Marco Bizot (Groningen), Nick Marsman (GOA).
Defenders – Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Daley Blind (Ajax), Mike van der Hoorn (Utrecht), Bram Nuytinck (Anderlecht), Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea).
Midfielders – Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Kevin Strootman (PSV), Adam Maher (AZ), Kelvin Leerdam (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV), Leroy Fer (Twente), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord).
Forwards – Florian Jozefzoon (Waalwijk), Luuk de Jong (Monchengladbach), Ola John (Benfica), Danny Hoesen (Ajax), Memphis (PSV).
This is only the third for Russia in the tournament, reaching it (and not getting very far) in 1994 and 1998. They finished on top of a group that included Portugal, Poland, Moldova and Albania in the qualifiers, before beating the Czech Republic in the playoff.
Goalkeepers – Nikolai Zabolotny (Rostov), Stanislav Kritsyuk (Braga), Aleksandr Filtsov (Krasnodar).
Defenders – Ibragim Tsallagov (Samara), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow), Nikita Chicherin (Dynamo Moscow), Taras Burlak (Lokomotiv Moscow), Sergei Bryzgalov (Spartak Moscow), Maksim Belyayev (Rostov), Ivan Knyazev (Torpedo Moscow).
Midfielders – Yuri Kirillov (Dynamo Moscow), Sergei Petrov (Krasnodar), Oleg Shatov (Anzhi), Roman Yemelyanov (Mariupol), Maksim Grigoryev (Lokomotiv Moscow), Shota Bibilov (Novogrod), Aleksandr Zotov (Tom Tomsk).
Forwards – Aleksandr Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow), Fyodor Smolov (Anzhi), Maksim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Pavel Yakovlev (Spartak Moscow), Denis Cheryshev (Real Madrid), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow).
Spain are the defending champions, winning the tournament for the third time in 2011. They finished on top of a group that included Georgia, Croatia, Switzerland and Estonia before beating Denmark in the playoff.
Goalkeepers – David de Gea (Manchester United), Diego Mariño (Villarreal), Joel Robles (Wigan).
Defenders – Martín Montoya (Barcelona), Nacho (Real Madrid), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Marc Muniesa (Barcelona), Álvaro González (Zaragoza), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla), Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid.
Midfielders – Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad), Iñigo Martínez (Real Sociedad), Sergio Canales (Valencia), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcântara (Barcelona), Ignacio Camacho (Malaga), Pablo Sarabia (Getafe), Isco (Malaga).
Forwards – Rodrigo (Benfica), Cristian Tello (Barcelona), Álvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Álvaro Vázquez (Getafe).