On the 8th of July, 2023 England won the U21 European Championship in dramatic fashion. In recent years, they have enjoyed a good degree of success in various age group tournaments and so following their recent victory in Georgia and Romania, we thought it was a good opportunity to take a look at all the different major tournaments won by the Young Lions over the years.
Note that in this feature we are considering only European Championships and World Cups. In addition, whilst there are six national youth teams, the under-16s do not have either of those competitions, so are not considered here. It should also be noted that not all age groups have both tournaments available to them – for example, there is no U21 World Cup.
All Tournament Wins
The table below shows all relevant wins across the England U17, U18, U19, U20 and U21 teams. Bear in mind that changes to format and age qualifications over the years mean this is not quite as straightforward as it should be. In addition, there have been tournaments, such as the FIFA International Youth Tournament and a UEFA equivalent that some may class as the World Cup and Euros respectively but we do not, whilst other events have been rebranded in retrospect.
2023 U21 European Championship
England coasted to the final despite not using several players who would have been eligible but were either rested or not selected due to their involvement with the full England side. They claimed this trophy for the first time since 1984 and did not concede a single goal, beating Spain 1-0 in the final, aided by a penalty save in the 99th minute. Lee Carsley was the manager and they had too many stars to list but the likes of Anthony Gordon, James Trafford, Levi Colwill, Emile Smith Row, Curtis Jones and Angel Gomes will all hope to force their way into Gareth Southgate’s reckoning.
2017 U20 World Cup
England beat Venezuela in South Korea to take glory after winning Group A ahead of the hosts. They then beat Costa Rica and Mexico before beating a good Italian side 3-1 in the semis. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the final to bring the Lions glory but his teammate, Dominic Solanke, was the winner of the Golden Ball (not Boot, which went to Italy’s Riccardo Orsolini). Solanke netted four times, with Calvert-Lewin bagging two and Ademola Lookman three. Of the group, none have quite hit the heights yet, though DCL has been capped by the full international side.
2017 U19 European Championship
2017 was a fine year for England’s best youngsters and there was more glory in Georgia, this time for the under-19s. The squad included Aaron Ramsdale, Reece James, Ryan Sessegnon and Mason Mount and they won three out of three in Group B, including a 4-1 hammering of Germany. They beat the Czechs 1-0 in the semis before a 2-1 victory over Portugal. Just four Lions made the 18-player “Team” of the Tournament, whilst Portugal had seven representatives.
2017 U17 World Cup
Completing the hat-trick in 2017 was an U17 group featuring recent U21 stars Angel Gomes, Morgan Gibbs-White and Emile Smith Row. Marc Guehi, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Conor Gallagher, all of whom have full caps, also played. England beat Spain in the final in India, overall winning six of seven games, drawing the other. Foden was the Golden Ball winner as player of the tournament whilst Rhian Brewster’s eight goals landed him the Golden Boot. The final itself was a real thriller as England were superb, beating a classy Spain 5-2.
2014 U17 European Championship
Several of this group would go on to lift the U20 World Cup three years later, with Freddie Woodman, Jonjoe Kenny, Solanke and Lewis Cook just some of the players to feature in both tournament successes. John Peacock was the manager as England won in Malta, though they were only runners-up in their group, losing 2-0 to Netherlands who topped the pile. They then played Group B winners Portugal in the semis, winning 2-0. A rematch with Netherlands awaited in the final and Solanke gave the Lions the lead after 25 minutes. It finished 1-1 and eventually went to penalties, with England triumphing 4-1.
2010 U17 European Championship
In 2010, an U17 squad featuring Conor Coady, Jack Butland and Ross Barkley won the Euros in Liechtenstein, beating Spain in the final once again. England had seven different scorers in total and beat Spain 2-1 with goals from Andre Wisdom and Conor Wickham. Gerard Deulofeu notched for the runners-up.
1993 U18 European Championship
Before the golden era of recent times, England’s last age-group triumph came back in 1993. England were hosts and topped a very strong Group B ahead of Spain, Netherlands and France. They scored 11 goals in three group games but the final was less eventful, a 1-0 win over Turkey. Nicky Butt, Sol Campbell, Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes featured and whilst Fowler was the tournament’s top scorer, Julian Joachim was the star!
1984 U21 European Championship
Back in 1984 we once again had an England v Spain final and with Mark Hateley starring, and scoring freely, the young Lions prevailed. Gary Stevens, Steve Hodge, Paul Bracewell and Paul Walsh were among the other squad members who went on to earn full caps.
1982 U21 European Championship
Two years prior to that, England won their first U21 Euros, this time beating Germany in the final. They beat Poland and then Scotland in the knockout phase before seeing off the old enemy 5-4. All these games were over two legs back then and England won 3-1 at Bramall Lane before managing a 3-2 defeat in the return to clinch the championship.
1980 U18 European Championship
The first win in any age-group championship for England came in 1980 as the under-18s claimed the Euros. Hateley and Mabbutt would both go on to claim glory with the U21 team as John Cartwright guided a fairly low-key squad to success over Poland in the final in Leipzig, East Germany the hosts.