Hungary to co-host UEFA Men's Under-21 Euros in 2021
The UEFA Executive Committee has awarded the co-hosting rights of the UEFA Men's European Under-21 Championship final tournament in 2021 to Hungary and Slovenia, making it the third major UEFA event to be held in Hungary in the near future after the UEFA Women’s Champions League final in 1919 and the UEFA Men's European Championship in 2020.
The Hungarian Football Federation has achieved yet another important success in the field of sports diplomacy in being awarded the right to co-host the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals along with Slovenia. For the first time in its history, Hungary will now play host to three prestigious European finals in three consecutive years, which is also a unique achievement in international football over the past few decades.
Speaking to mlsz.hu, federation president Sándor Csányi said that: “Thanks to infrastructural development, Hungary has become capable of being a regular host of the most prestigious international football competitions. With its decision UEFA is also supporting the future of Hungarian football. Hosting the European Under-21 Championship along with the European Championship also means that we are providing the talented young players who represent the future spine of the Hungarian national team the opportunity to test their mettle in competitive matches against the very best the continent has to offer, and on home soil.”
The 2019 UEFA Women’s Champions League final will be the first time ever that the most prestigious club event in the calendar of the women’s game will be held in at a venue independent from that of the men’s Champions League final. The following year will see the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in Budapest be one of the venues for the largest European Championship final tournament to date, which is being co-hosted by 12 cities in 12 different countries across Europe.
The final tournament will have 12 participating teams and will be hosted in six cities across the two countries, the planned venues being Székesfehérvár, Szombathely, and Budapest in Hungary and Celje, Ljubljana, and Maribor in Slovenia. Hungary and Slovenia both qualify automatically for the finals as hosts, neither team therefore participating in the qualification stage which will commence next autumn, and thus meaning they will play friendly matches in the run-up to the finals.
The opening match of the tournament will be held in Ljubljana, with the final being held in Hungary. The 12 teams will be split into three groups of four, with the group winners and the best runner-up progressing to the semi-finals. Players born after 1 January 1998 are eligible to play.
UEFA has held a European Under-21 competition since 1978, Hungary having reached the final tournament on one occasion, when in 1986 they reached the semi-finals (Hungary did win the competition’s predecessor, the European Under-23 competition, in 1974). UEFA holds the competition every two years, with eight teams participating in the final tournament until 2015, and with 12 participants since the 2017 edition.
The Hungary Under-21 national team completed its participation in the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 competition in the qualification round in October, coming fourth in their group. Having gotten off to a great start, Hungary’s campaign lost momentum towards the end, the team failing to pick up any points in their last five matches. The team now have until summer 2021 to prepare for the finals.