The 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship (also known as UEFA Under-21 Euro 2019) will be the 22nd edition of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship (25th edition if the Under-23 era is also included), the biennial international youth football championship organised by UEFA for the men's under-21 national teams of Europe. The final tournament will be hosted by Italy (and some matches by San Marino) in mid-2019, after their bid was selected by the UEFA Executive Committee on 9 December 2016 in Nyon, Switzerland.
A total of 12 teams will play in the tournament, with players born on or after 1 January 1996 eligible to participate.
Same as previous Under-21 Championships that were held one year prior to the Olympics, this tournament will serve as European qualifying for the Olympic football tournament, with the top four teams of the tournament qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympic men's football tournament in Japan, where they will be represented by their under-23 national teams with maximum of three overage players allowed.
All 55 UEFA nations entered the competition, and with the hosts Italy qualifying automatically (the other co-hosts San Marino will not qualify automatically), the other 54 teams will compete in the qualifying competition to determine the remaining 11 spots in the final tournament. The qualifying competition, which will take place from March 2017 to November 2018, consists of two rounds:
Qualifying group stage: The 54 teams are drawn into nine groups of six teams. Each group is played in home-and-away round-robin format. The nine group winners qualify directly for the final tournament, while the four best runners-up (not counting results against the sixth-placed team) advance to the play-offs.
Play-offs: The four teams are drawn into two ties to play home-and-away two-legged matches to determine the last two qualified teams.
The final draw will be held on 23 November 2018, 18:00 CET (UTC+1), in Bologna. The 12 teams are drawn into three groups of four teams. Hosts Italy are assigned to position A1 in the draw, while the other teams are seeded according to their coefficient ranking following the end of the qualifying stage, calculated based on the following:
Each national team have to submit a squad of 23 players, three of whom must be goalkeepers. If a player is injured or ill severely enough to prevent his participation in the tournament before his team's first match, he can be replaced by another player.
The group winners and the best runner-up advance to the semi-finals and qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
In the group stage, teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), and if tied on points, the following tiebreaking criteria are applied, in the order given, to determine the rankings (Regulations Articles 18.01 and 18.02):
Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
If more than two teams are tied, and after applying all head-to-head criteria above, a subset of teams are still tied, all head-to-head criteria above are reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams;
Goal difference in all group matches;
Goals scored in all group matches;
Penalty shoot-out if only two teams have the same number of points, and they met in the last round of the group and are tied after applying all criteria above (not used if more than two teams have the same number of points, or if their rankings are not relevant for qualification for the next stage);
Disciplinary points (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points);
Position in the UEFA under-21 national team coefficient ranking for the final draw.
First match(es) will be played on 16 June 2019. Source: UEFA Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) goals scored; 4) disciplinary points; 5) coefficient (Regulations Article 18.03). Notes:
^In case any of the teams which advance to the semi-finals are not an IOC member (England) and thus ineligible for the Olympics, an Olympic play-off may be played to decide one of the Olympic spots.
The match-ups of the semi-finals depend on which runner-up qualifies (Regulations Article 17.02):