Euro Under-21 Football Championship Betting

The European Under-21 Football Championship is a biennial tournament organised by European football governing body UEFA.

Since 1978, the competition has been staged 18 times in its current form, the latest being held in Denmark, 2011, where the hosts where beaten in the final by Spain.

The tournament, as its name suggests, is exclusive to players under the age of 21, however players of up to 23 years of age can be selected if they were 21 years of age or under before the qualifying stages started.

Qualifying for the tournament often starts up to two years in advance of the event, with matches usually being played the day before senior internationals take place.

Currently, eight teams form two groups of four with the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

The winners of the semi-finals naturally earn the right to contest the showpiece final and cement their status as the best Under-21 footballing nation in Europe.

Betting wise, the competition can prove to be quite a lucrative spectacle for the backer if one is extremely knowledgeable about the players on show and the clubs which they play for.

As a starting rule, the standard of Under-21 football in a particular country is usually relative to the success and reputation of the senior national side, as often, Under-21 players are nurtured gradually into their main national team after playing for a couple of years at age restricted level.

So for example, a highly ranked nation such as Spain is always likely to have a more than decent Under-21 team as the players involved are the future of the senior national side as well as being potential back up for the current squad.

Conversely, a lowly ranked nation such as Estonia is unlikely to possess decent youngsters as their football pedigree as a whole is poor. Also, if Estonia’s Under-21 players did happen to be of decent quality, they would be more likely to slot straight into the senior national team.

Being able to identify the best youngsters in each of Europe’s top domestic leagues goes a long way towards deciphering which nation has the best chance in the competition.

England, despite winning the tournament in 1982 and 1984 are usually a nation to avoid betting on due to the confused structure of their national game.

Players in England often bounce between the Under-21 and senior side without properly establishing themselves in either. Star youngsters in England are also often bypassed for Under-21 selection in favour of the senior team as the crop of quality players and mass youth development in the country is poor due to the influx of foreign players since the start of the Premier League in 1992.

An incoherent England Under-21 side proved this in 2011 by exiting the tournament tamely in the group stages, as opposed to the triumphant Spain side whose youngsters had played together week in week out in the academies and B teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid for a number of years.

Home support is also massive in a tournament which is light on spectatorship, so the host nation is always likely to go close, especially as they have already shown intent to perform well by bidding to host the event in the first place.

Information in betting is just as important as results, so the tournament can also be used as a scouting platform to seek out who may blood a strong senior national team for the years to come, allowing greater, more valuable ante-post betting opportunities.

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