Spain national under-21 football team
The Spain national under-21 football team is the national under-21 football team of Spain and is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation. The team, nicknamed La Rojita (The Little Red [One]), competes in the biennial UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
|Nickname(s)||La Rojita (The Little Red [One])|
|Association||Royal Spanish Football Federation|
|Head coach||Luis de la Fuente|
|Most caps||Gerard Deulofeu (36)|
|Top scorer||Gerard Deulofeu (17)|
| Yugoslavia 4–1 Spain |
(Zagreb, Yugoslavia; 9 October 1976)
| Spain 14–0 San Marino |
(El Ejido, Spain; 8 February 2005)
| Netherlands 5–0 Spain |
(Utrecht, Netherlands; 16 February 1983)
|UEFA U-21 Championship|
|Appearances||13 (first in 1982)|
|Best result||Winners (1986, 1998, 2011, 2013, 2019)|
Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976, the Spanish under-21 team was formed. Spain has a strong record (competition winners five times and runners-up twice); having consecutively won the 2011 and 2013 Championships. They hold the joint record with Italy for the most wins of the competition.
Since the under-21 competition rules insist that players must be 21 or under at the start of a two-year competition, technically it is an U-23 competition. For this reason, Spain's brief record in the preceding U-23 competitions is also shown, though in actuality, Spain played only three competitive U-23 matches. The first was in the "under-23 Challenge", which they lost, while the next two were in a two-team qualification "group" for the 1972 competition (facing the Soviet Union team, they lost 2–1 at home then drew 1–1 away and failed to qualify. Spain did not enter a team in the other two U-23 competitions, but have been ever present in under-21 competitions).
Spain's youth development programs has been challenging the South American dominance in the FIFA U-17 World Championship and the FIFA U-20 World Cup. In fact, 20 of the Spanish 23-man squad that won the Euro 2008 came through the ranks of the youth teams; most of them had won titles at the youth level as well.