Spain national under-23 football team

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Spain Under-23
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) La Rojita (The Little Red One)
La Furia Roja
(The Red Fury)
Association Royal Spanish Football Federation
(Real Federación Española de Fútbol – RFEF)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Luis Milla
Most caps Luis Enrique (14)
Top scorer Kiko (7)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Yugoslavia 3 – 0 Spain 
(Novi Sad, Yugoslavia; 18 June 1969)
Biggest win
 Spain 5 – 0 Libya 
(El Ejido, Spain; 1 July 2005)
Biggest defeat
 Argentina 4 – 0 Spain 
(Birmingham, United States; 27 July 1996)
Records for competitive matches only.
Appearances 4 (first in 1992)
Best result Winners: 1992
Olympic medal record
Men's Football
Silver medal – second place 1920 Antwerp Team[1]
Gold medal – first place 1992 Barcelona Team
Silver medal – second place 2000 Sydney Team
Spain national under-23 football team
Medal record
U-23 Mediterranean Games
Gold medal – first place 2005 Almería, Spain Team

Spain's Olympic football team (also known as Spain Under-23, or Spain U-23) represents Spain in international football competitions in the Olympic Games. The selection is limited to players under the age of 23, except the Olympics allows the men's team up to three overage players. The team is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation. Having qualified for four Olympic competitions since 1992, Spain has won one gold medal (1992) and one silver medal (2000), It is after Argentina the second most successful Olympic team.[2]


1920–1988 Summer Olympics[edit]

Unlike later tournaments, the Summer Olympics used to be represented by senior or amateur teams. Spain's first participation in the Olympics was in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920. Fourteen teams entered the competition which was organized on a knockout basis. Twelve teams entered the first round, with the six winners joining the host nation (Belgium) and France, in the quarter-finals. Czechoslovakia, participating in their first international tournament, cruised to the final, inflicting heavy defeats on Yugoslavia (who played their first ever international match in the competition), Norway, and France. Belgium beat a talented Spain and then the Netherlands on their way to the final. Belgium won the gold medal by default after Czechoslovakia walked off in protest during the final, unhappy with the performance of the English referee, John Lewis. The Bergvall System was used to determine second and third places. The beaten quarter-finalists played-off, Spain emerged triumphant overcoming Sweden 2–1 and Italy 2–0. Ordinarily, Spain would then have played the beaten finalists, but Czechoslovakia had been disqualified from the tournament. Spain thus advanced straight to the silver medal match against Holland, beaten in the semi-finals by gold medallists Belgium. Spain won 3–1.

1924 was not as successful, Spain bowed out of competition in round 1 after losing to Italy 1–0

At the 1928 Summer Olympics things would go from good to worse. Spain were, potentially, much to be feared. Defeated once since the last Olympic Games tournament their traditional tournament nerves would handicap them here, a key note that would strike throughout the coming years. The unavoidable loss of their experienced captain Pedro Vallana after their first game, though, would cost them dearly. Spain started with a 7–1 win over Mexico, then a 1–1 draw against Italy which would cause the match to go on a reply. There Spain were eventually eliminating with a 1–7 defeat.

Spain would not compete in another Olympic tournament until the 1968 edition held in Mexico. There the team fielded an under-21 amateur squad and reached the quarter-finals, losing only to the host nation.

The team's final two tournament came in 1976 and 1980, where they failed to make it out of the group stage.

Debut and Gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics[edit]

The football competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics was the first under-23 competition. Spain were awarded a place at the tournament due to being the host nation. Expectations were high for the Spanish team and they did not disappoint: The team was able to win their very first gold medal after winning their group stage, defeating long-time rivals Italy in the quarter-finals and lastly Poland in the finals, 3–2.

1996 Summer Olympics[edit]

Spain were able to qualify for the following Olympics, managed by then coach Javier Clemente. La Rojita failed to repeat its past success and were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual runners-up Argentina.

Silver at the 2000 Summer Olympics – Sydney[edit]

Spain qualified for their third consecutive tournament in 2000. The squad, managed by head coach Iñaki Sáez, reached their second final but were not able to take gold, losing to Cameroon. Spain had a 2–0 lead at half time but things changed in the second half when an own goal from Iván Amaya (who also missed a penalty), and a goal from Samuel Eto'o five minutes later, levelled the scores at 2–2. The score was unchanged after extra time and the match was decided via penalty shootout, with Spain losing 5–3.

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

After eight years without participation, Spain qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics after winning the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship under head coach Luis Milla. They were scheduled to play against Japan, Morocco and Honduras in the group stage. Before the start of the tournament, Spain scheduled three friendly matches against teams that would be competing at the Olympics: The first was a 3–1 victory over Egypt, followed by a 2–0 defeat against Senegal and a 1–0 victory over Mexico five days later. At the Olympics, Spain was eliminated in the group stage after falling shockingly 1–0 to Japan and a controversial loss to Honduras. This was followed by a 0–0 draw to Morocco, forcing Spain's exit from the tournament at the group stage for the first time, and without scoring a single goal. Luis Milla was sacked from both the under-23 and under-21 teams the following day and replaced by Julen Lopetegui.

Competitive Record[edit]

UEFA European Under-23 Challenge Cup[edit]

This was competed for on a basis similar to a boxing title belt. The holders played a randomly chosen opponent for the championship.

Date Winners Runners-up Venue
18 June 1969  Yugoslavia  Spain Novi Sad, Yugoslavia

UEFA European Under-23 Championship Record[edit]

Year Round GP W D L GS GA
1972 Qualifying Stage 2 0 1 1 2 3
1974 Did Not Enter
Total 0/3 2 0 1 1 2 3

Olympic Games[edit]

A gold background color indicates that Spain won the tournament.

Summer Olympic record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA Squad
Spain 1992 Champions 1st 6 6 0 0 14 2 Squad
United States 1996 Quarter-Finals 5th 4 2 1 1 5 7 Squad
Australia 2000 Runners-Up 2nd 6 4 1 1 12 6 Squad
Greece 2004 Did Not Qualify
China 2008
United Kingdom 2012 Group Stage 14th 3 0 1 2 0 2 Squad
Brazil 2016 Did Not Qualify
Total 4/6 2 Medals 19 12 3 4 31 17 -

*Denotes draws including knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

  • Gold background color indicates first-place finish. Silver background color indicates second-place finish.
  • Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.


Top appearances[edit]

Rank Player Club(s) Year(s) U-23 Caps
1 Luis Enrique Real Madrid 1991–1992 14
2 Mikel Lasa Real Sociedad, Real Madrid 1991–1992 13
3 Abelardo Sporting Gijón 1991–1992 12
3 Pep Guardiola Barcelona 1991–1992 12
3 Kiko Cádiz 1991–1992 12
3 Roberto Solozábal Atlético Madrid 1991–1992 12
7 Alfonso Real Madrid 1991–1992 11
7 Paco Soler Mallorca 1991–1992 11
9 Joaquín Alonso Sporting Gijón 1979–1982 8
9 Juan Manuel Asensi Elche, Barcelona 1969–1971 8
9 Rafael Berges Córdoba, Tenerife 1991–1992 8
9 Toni Figueres 1992 8
9 Antonio Pinilla Barcelona, Mallorca 1991–1992 8

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-23s.

Top goalscorers[edit]

Rank Player Club(s) Year(s) U-23 Goals
1 Kiko Cádiz 1991–1992 7
2 Alfonso Real Madrid 1991–1992 6
3 Abelardo Sporting Gijón 1991–1992 5
4 Ramón Vázquez Sevilla 1987–1988 4
5 Gabri Barcelona 2000 3
5 Luis Enrique Real Madrid 1991–1992 3
5 Carles Rexach Barcelona 1967–1970 3
5 José Mari Milan 2000 3
5 Vavá Elche 1967 3

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-23s.

Recent results[edit]

Date Competition Location Opponent Result Scorers

Current squad[edit]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK David de Gea (1990-11-07) 7 November 1990 (age 26) 5 0 England Manchester United
18 1GK Diego Mariño (1990-05-09) 9 May 1990 (age 26) 3 0 Spain Sporting Gijón
2 2DF César Azpilicueta (1989-08-28) 28 August 1989 (age 27) 4 0 England Chelsea
3 2DF Álvaro Domínguez (1989-05-15) 15 May 1989 (age 27) 5 0 Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach
5 2DF Iñigo Martínez (1991-05-17) 17 May 1991 (age 25) 4 0 Spain Real Sociedad
6 2DF Jordi Alba (1989-03-21) 21 March 1989 (age 28) 4 0 Spain Barcelona
13 2DF Alberto Botía (1989-01-27) 27 January 1989 (age 28) 4 0 Greece Olympiacos
12 2DF Martín Montoya (1991-04-14) 14 April 1991 (age 25) 5 0 Spain Real Betis
4 3MF Javi Martínez* (captain) (1988-09-02) 2 September 1988 (age 28) 4 1 Germany Bayern Munich
8 3MF Iker Muniain (1992-12-19) 19 December 1992 (age 24) 3 0 Spain Athletic Bilbao
10 3MF Juan Mata* (1988-04-28) 28 April 1988 (age 28) 4 0 England Manchester United
11 3MF Koke (1992-01-08) 8 January 1992 (age 25) 6 1 Spain Atlético Madrid
14 3MF Oriol Romeu (1991-09-24) 24 September 1991 (age 25) 5 0 England Southampton
15 3MF Isco (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 (age 24) 5 0 Spain Real Madrid
17 3MF Ander Herrera (1989-09-14) 14 September 1989 (age 27) 5 0 England Manchester United
7 4FW Adrián* (1988-01-08) 8 January 1988 (age 29) 5 0 Spain Villarreal
9 4FW Rodrigo (1991-03-06) 6 March 1991 (age 26) 4 0 Spain Valencia
16 4FW Cristian Tello (1991-08-11) 11 August 1991 (age 25) 6 0 Spain Barcelona

Note: Players marked with a * are the three overage players called up as reinforcements

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since 1992, squads for Football at the Summer Olympics have been restricted to three players over the age of 23. The achievements of such teams are not usually included in the statistics of the international team.
  2. ^ oyit
  3. ^ Convocatoria oficial para la fase de preparación y los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres 2012; RFEF (Spanish)
  4. ^ Baja y alta en la Selección Nacional con vistas a los Juegos de Londres; RFEF (Spanish)
  5. ^ Intensidad y acierto en la sesión de trabajo de la Selección; RFEF (Spanish)
  6. ^ Gratitud en la despedida a los jugadores que no estarán en Londres; RFEF (Spanish)

External links[edit]