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]),[1] competes in the biennial UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Spain Under-21
Nickname(s)La Rojita (The Little Red [One])
AssociationRoyal Spanish Football Federation
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachLuis de la Fuente
CaptainBryan Gil
Most capsGerard Deulofeu (36)
Top scorerGerard Deulofeu (17)
FIFA codeESP
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Yugoslavia 4–1 Spain 
(Zagreb, Yugoslavia; 9 October 1976)
Biggest win
 Spain 14–0 San Marino 
(El Ejido, Spain; 8 February 2005)
Biggest defeat
 Netherlands 5–0 Spain 
(Utrecht, Netherlands; 16 February 1983)
Records for competitive matches only.
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances13 (first in 1982)
Best resultWinners (1986, 1998, 2011, 2013, 2019)
The 2011 winning team

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.