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Spain national under-23 football team

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 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 1920 Antwerp Team[1]
Gold 1992 Barcelona Team
Silver 2000 Sydney Team
Spain national under-23 football team
Medal record
U-23 Mediterranean Games
Gold 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.


  • History 1
    • 1920–1988 Summer Olympics 1.1
    • Debut and Gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics 1.2
    • 1996 Summer Olympics 1.3
    • Silver at the 2000 Summer Olympics - Sydney 1.4
    • 2012 Summer Olympics 1.5
  • Competitive Record 2
    • UEFA European Under-23 Challenge Cup 2.1
    • UEFA European Under-23 Championship Record 2.2
    • Olympic Games 2.3
  • Players 3
    • Top Appearances 3.1
    • Top Goalscorers 3.2
  • Recent results 4
  • Current squad 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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 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 out brightly 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 very hard 1–7 defeat.

Spain would not compete in another Olympic tournament until the 1968 edition held in Mexico. There the team fielded a very young under-21 amateur squad and managed to 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

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 as the team was able to win their very first gold medal after winning their group stage, defeating longtime rivals Italy in the quarter-finals and Poland in the finals 3–2.

1996 Summer Olympics

Spain were able to qualified for the following Olympic, 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

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 8 years without participation, Spain qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics after winning the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Cup under head coach Luis Milla and were scheduled to play against Japan, Morocco and Honduras in the group stages. Before the start of the tournament Spain scheduled three friendly matches against teams that would be competing at the Olympics. The first match was a 3–1 victory over Egypt. That was 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 and thus Spain exited the tournament for the first time in the Group Stage 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

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 Record

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

A gold background color indicates that Spain won the tournament.
Summer Olympic record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA Squad
1992 Champions 1st 6 6 0 0 14 2 Squad
1996 Quarter-Finals 5th 4 2 1 1 5 7 Squad
2000 Runners-Up 2nd 6 4 1 1 12 6 Squad
2004 Did Not Qualify
2012 Group Stage 14th 3 0 1 2 0 2 Squad
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

Rank Player Club(s) Year(s) U-23 Caps
1 Luis Enrique Martínez Real Madrid 1991–1992 14
2 Mikel Lasa Real Sociedad, Real Madrid 1991–1992 13
3 Abelardo Fernández Sporting Gijón 1991–1992 12
3 Josep Guardiola Barcelona 1991–1992 12
3 Kiko Narváez Cádiz 1991–1992 12
3 Roberto Solozábal Atlético Madrid 1991–1992 12
7 Alfonso Pérez Real Madrid 1991–1992 11
7 Francisco 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 Jiménez 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

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

Date Competition Location Opponent Result Scorers

Current squad

  • National team caps and goals correct as of 1 August 2012.
0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK David de Gea (1990-11-07) 7 November 1990 5 0 Manchester United
18 1GK Diego Mariño (1990-05-09) 9 May 1990 3 0 Villarreal
2 2DF César Azpilicueta (1989-08-28) 28 August 1989 4 0 Chelsea
3 2DF Álvaro Domínguez (1989-05-15) 15 May 1989 5 0 Borussia Mönchengladbach
5 2DF Iñigo Martínez (1991-05-17) 17 May 1991 4 0 Real Sociedad
6 2DF Jordi Alba (1989-03-21) 21 March 1989 4 0 Barcelona
13 2DF Alberto Botía (1989-01-27) 27 January 1989 4 0 Sporting Gijón
12 2DF Martín Montoya (1991-04-14) 14 April 1991 5 0 Barcelona
4 3MF Javi Martínez* (captain) (1988-09-02) 2 September 1988 4 1 Bayern Munich
8 3MF Iker Muniain (1992-12-19) 19 December 1992 3 0 Athletic Bilbao
10 3MF Juan Mata* (1988-04-28) 28 April 1988 4 0 Manchester United
11 3MF Koke (1992-01-08) 8 January 1992 6 1 Atlético Madrid
14 3MF Oriol Romeu (1991-09-24) 24 September 1991 5 0 Stuttgart
15 3MF Isco (1992-04-21) 21 April 1992 5 0 Real Madrid
17 3MF Ander Herrera (1989-09-14) 14 September 1989 5 0 Manchester United
7 4FW Adrián López* (1988-01-08) 8 January 1988 5 0 FC Porto
9 4FW Rodrigo Moreno (1991-03-06) 6 March 1991 4 0 Benfica
16 4FW Cristian Tello (1991-08-11) 11 August 1991 6 0 Porto

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

See also


  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. ^ Convocatoria oficial para la fase de preparación y los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres 2012; RFEF (Spanish)
  3. ^ Baja y alta en la Selección Nacional con vistas a los Juegos de Londres; RFEF (Spanish)
  4. ^ Intensidad y acierto en la sesión de trabajo de la Selección; RFEF (Spanish)
  5. ^ Gratitud en la despedida a los jugadores que no estarán en Londres; RFEF (Spanish)

External links

  • siemprecantera (Spanish)
  • Tournament archive at
  • UEFA U-23 European Championship at rsssf
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