The best of Europe’s young footballing talent will be on show over the next two weeks and here is how you can watch all the action
The 2018-19 domestic season may be over but there is still plenty of football to keep us entertained over the summer, including the European Under-21 Championships.
The 22nd edition of the tournament will be co-hosted by Italy and San Marino featuring 12 teams competing across six venues.
Germany are the defending champions, having won the tournament for a second time in Poland two years ago.
England, Spain, France, Serbia, Croatia, Denmark, Belgium, and Romania all qualified for the tournament as group winners while Poland and Austria came through play-offs. Hosts Italy qualified automatically.
The 12 teams will be divided into three groups of four, with the group winners and best runner-up advancing to the semi-finals.
Those four sides will also earn a spot at the Tokyo Olympics next year, though as England aren’t eligible there will be a play-off between the other two runners-up should the Young Lions reach the last four.
The action gets underway on Sunday afternoon in Reggio Emilia when Poland take on Belgium. Hosts Italy then face defending champions Spain in Bologna later that evening.
England are two-time winners of the competition but the last of those wins was in 1984, with their best performance since coming in 2009 when they were beaten by Germany in the final.
They do, however, head to Italy full of confidence and a squad packed with young talent.
Young Lions to watch out for include Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden, Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon. Leicester quartet James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Demarai Gray, and Hamza Choudhury are also expected to feature heavily.
Aside from England, there is plenty of other young European talent on show including Serbia’s Luka Jovic, who has just completed a £60 million move from Eintracht Frankfurt to Real Madrid.
His new Real Madrid team-mate Dani Ceballos will also feature once more for Spain after winning player of the tournament two years ago.
Moise Kean of Juventus will represent hosts Italy having already broken a string of records in his fledging career. The 19-year-old became the first player born after 2000 to play in the Champions League, to play and score in Serie A and to score for Italy. It is little wonder then that Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini says he is a player of “enormous potential”.
With so much young talent on show it is set to be a thrilling tournament. Here is how you can watch the action:
In the UK, Sky Sports will show every match of the tournament live on its Sky Sports football or Sky Sports Main Event channels.
You will also be able to stream every match on Sky Go. That’s a free online service for Sky TV subscribers and can be used on a range of devices.
In the US, ESPN hold the rights buts current listings suggest only a limited number of games will be broadcast in English on ESPN U and in Spanish on Univision Deportes.
However, you will be able to watch the tournament online if you’ve signed up for their ESPN3 and WatchESPN online streaming platforms which are available as part of participating cable, internet and satellite TV packages.
UEFA has a long list of broadcast partners around the world that will be airing the tournament. In Australia, BeIN Sports hold the rights but current listings suggest the games will not be broadcast. However, you will be able to stream the tournament for free on UEFA.com and UEFA’s YouTube channel.