Spain Under-23
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)La Rojita (The Little Red One)
La Furia Roja
(The Red Fury)
AssociationRoyal Spanish Football Federation
(Real Federación Española de Fútbol – RFEF)
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachLuis de la Fuente
Most capsLuis Enrique (14)
Top scorerKiko (7)
FIFA codeESP
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.
Olympic Games
Appearances5 (first in 1992)
Best result
Gold medal.svg
Gold medalist (1992)
Mediterranean Games
Appearances4 (first in 1997)
Best result
Gold medal MedGames.svg
Gold medalist (2005, 2009, 2018)

The Spain 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 for the Olympics which allows the men's team up to three overage players. The team is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation. Having qualified for five Olympic competitions since 1992, Spain has won one gold medal (1992) and two silver medals (2000 and 2020). It is one of the most successful Olympic teams

History

1920–1988 Summer Olympics

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. Meanwhile, communist nations entered their top professional teams using a loophole in the rules.

The team's final two tournaments came in 1976 and 1980, where they failed to make it out of the group stage, being powerless against first teams of the Eastern Bloc.

Debut and Gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics

The football competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics was the first under-23 competition. Spain were awarded a place at the tournament because they were the host nation. Expectations were high for the Spanish team and they did not disappoint: The team was able to win their 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

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

Silver at the 2000 Summer Olympics – Sydney

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

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.

Silver at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Tokyo

Spain qualified to the 2020 Olympics after winning the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Six Spanish players: Unai Simón, Pau Torres, Eric García, Pedri, Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo who had participated in the UEFA Euro 2020 played a major role for Spain in the 2020 Olympics under coach Luis de la Fuente. La Rojita reached the final, but they lost 2–1 against Brazil after extra time.[2]

Results and fixtures

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

Legend

  Win   Draw   Lose   Fixture

2021

17 July Kirin Challenge Cup (Under-24) Japan  1–1  Spain Hyogo, Japan
19:20 UTC+9
  • Doan 42'
Source (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Stadium: Noevir Stadium Kobe
Attendance: 4,909
Referee: Yusuke Araki (Japan)
22 July 2020 Summer Olympics GS Group C Egypt  0–0  Spain Sapporo, Japan
16:30 UTC+9 Report (FIFA) Stadium: Sapporo Dome
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (Jordan)
25 July 2020 Summer Olympics GS Group C Australia  0–1  Spain Sapporo, Japan
19:30 UTC+9 Report (FIFA) Stadium: Sapporo Dome
Referee: Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia)
28 July 2020 Summer Olympics GS Group C Spain  1–1  Argentina Saitama, Japan
20:00 UTC+9
Report (FIFA) Stadium: Saitama Stadium 2002
Referee: Ismail Elfath (United States)
31 July 2020 Summer Olympics Quarter-finals Spain  5–2 (a.e.t.)  Ivory Coast Rifu, Japan
17:00 UTC+9
Stadium: Miyagi Stadium
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (Venezuela)
3 August 2020 Summer Olympics Semi-finals Japan  0–1 (a.e.t.)  Spain Saitama, Japan
20:00 UTC+9 Report
Stadium: Saitama Stadium 2002
Referee: Kevin Ortega (Peru)
7 August 2020 Summer Olympics Final Brazil  2–1 (a.e.t.)  Spain Yokohama, Japan
20:30 UTC+9
Report Stadium: International Stadium Yokohama
Referee: Chris Beath (Australia)

Records

Further information: Category:Spain under-23 international footballers

See also: Category:Olympic footballers of Spain

Most capped players

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

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

Top goalscorers

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
  Luis Enrique Sporting Gijón, Real Madrid 1991–1992 3
  Mikel Oyarzabal Real Sociedad 2021 3
  Carles Rexach Condal, Barcelona 1967–1970 3
  José Mari Milan 2000 3
  Rafa Mir Wolverhampton 2021 3
  Vavá Elche 1967 3

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

Players

The following players were named to the squad for the 2020 Summer Olympics.[3]

Caps and goals correct as of 7 August 2021.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Unai Simón* (1997-06-11) 11 June 1997 (age 25) 7 0 Spain Athletic Bilbao
13 1GK Álvaro Fernández (1998-04-13) 13 April 1998 (age 24) 1 0 Spain Huesca
22 1GK Iván Villar (1997-07-09) 9 July 1997 (age 24) 0 0 Spain Celta

2 2DF Óscar Mingueza (1999-05-13) 13 May 1999 (age 23) 3 0 Spain Barcelona
3 2DF Marc Cucurella (1998-07-22) 22 July 1998 (age 23) 6 0 Spain Getafe
4 2DF Pau Torres* (1997-01-16) 16 January 1997 (age 25) 7 0 Spain Villarreal
5 2DF Jesús Vallejo (1997-06-05) 5 June 1997 (age 25) 5 0 Spain Real Madrid
12 2DF Eric García* (2001-01-09) 9 January 2001 (age 21) 7 0 Spain Barcelona
18 2DF Óscar Gil (1998-04-26) 26 April 1998 (age 24) 5 0 Spain Espanyol
20 2DF Juan Miranda (2000-01-19) 19 January 2000 (age 22) 5 0 Spain Betis

6 3MF Martín Zubimendi (1999-02-02) 2 February 1999 (age 23) 6 0 Spain Real Sociedad
8 3MF Mikel Merino (1996-06-22) 22 June 1996 (age 26) 6 1 Spain Real Sociedad
10 3MF Dani Ceballos (captain) (1996-08-07) 7 August 1996 (age 25) 2 0 Spain Real Madrid
14 3MF Carlos Soler (1997-01-02) 2 January 1997 (age 25) 7 1 Spain Valencia
15 3MF Jon Moncayola (1998-05-13) 13 May 1998 (age 24) 6 0 Spain Osasuna
16 3MF Pedri* (2002-11-25) 25 November 2002 (age 19) 7 0 Spain Barcelona
17 3MF Javi Puado (1998-05-25) 25 May 1998 (age 24) 3 0 Spain Espanyol

7 4FW Marco Asensio (1996-01-21) 21 January 1996 (age 26) 7 1 Spain Real Madrid
9 4FW Rafa Mir (1997-06-18) 18 June 1997 (age 25) 7 3 England Wolverhampton Wanderers
11 4FW Mikel Oyarzabal* (1997-04-21) 21 April 1997 (age 25) 7 3 Spain Real Sociedad
19 4FW Dani Olmo* (1998-05-07) 7 May 1998 (age 24) 7 1 Germany RB Leipzig
21 4FW Bryan Gil (2001-02-11) 11 February 2001 (age 21) 6 0 England Tottenham Hotspur

Players who were also called up for Euro 2020 are marked with asterisk (*).

Honours

Summer Olympics

Competitive record

Summer Olympics

Rules (UEFA)
Note
Olympic Games record
Year Host Round Pos. Pld. W D L GF GA
1920 Silver Medalist 2nd 5 4 0 1 9 5
1924 Round 1 17th 1 0 0 1 0 1
1928 Quarter-finals 6th 3 1 1 1 9 9
1936 Withdrew
1948 Did not qualify
1952
1956
1960
1964
1968 Quarter-finals 5th 4 2 1 1 4 2
1972 Did not qualify
1976 Group stage 13th 2 0 0 2 1 3
1980 Group stage 10th 3 0 3 0 2 2
1984 Did not qualify
1988
1992 Gold Medalists 1st 6 6 0 0 14 2
1996 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 1 1 5 7
2000 Silver Medalist 2nd 6 4 1 1 12 6
2004 Did not qualify
2008
2012 Group stage 14th 3 0 1 2 0 2
2016 Did not qualify
2020 Silver Medalist 2nd 6 3 2 1 9 5
Total 1-3-0 11/23 43 22 10 11 65 44
*Denotes draws including knockout matches decided via penalty shoot-out.
**Since 1968, Spain has sent its under 23 national team.

UEFA European Under-23 Challenge Cup

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

Year Round GP W D L GS GA
1972 Qualifying stage 2 0 1 1 2 3
1974 Did not enter
1976
Total 0/3 2 0 1 1 2 3

Mediterranean Games

Mediterranean Games record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
Spain 2005 Gold medalists 1st 4 3 1 0 9 1
Total 1 Gold medal 1/1 4 3 1 0 9 1

See also

Notes

  1. ^ the 1924 and 1932 editions were co-organised by FIFA)[4][6]
  2. ^ Countries from Eastern Europe competed with professional players.[6]

References

  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. ^ "Brazil edge Spain in men's Olympic football final thanks to Malcom's magic". Guardian. 7 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  3. ^ | OFICIAL | Estos son los internacionales que representarán a España en Tokio. SEFútbol (in Spanish). 29 June 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2021
  4. ^ a b El Fútbol Masculino en los Juegos Olímpicos on AFA.org, 19 July 2021
  5. ^ a b c Historia del fútbol en los Juegos Olímpicos: medallero, palmarés y ganadores by Alberto P. Sierra on As, 20 July 2021
  6. ^ a b c d Fútbol en los Juegos Olímpicos by José M. Martín, 8 August 2021