UEFA European Under-19 Championship kicks off in Finland

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The final draw has taken place and we’re all set for some great football action on the pitch this summer. Finland – the hosts – will meet Portugal, Norway and Italy in Group A, while holders, England, will face Turkey, Ukraine and France in Group B.

Danfoss is one of the main sponsors of the event, so look out for some great opportunities to see some fantastic football and enjoy the atmosphere in Vaasa and Seinäjoki this summer.

Like UEFA, one of Danfoss' priorities is to promote and encourage the development of talent. If you are an experienced professional ready to bring forward your ideas, then Danfoss gives you the freedom to do so. If you are a graduate or student wanting to start your career, we give you a range of opportunities for growth. You can read more about opportunities to work for Danfoss here.

"Sustainable development is one of the important themes of the UEFA European Under-19 championship and well in line with our business. Danfoss AC drives improve energy efficiency and enable alternative energy solutions. We want to be involved in supporting young talent in both football and working life. It’s fantastic for us to be able to sponsor a major European event in a city where a large part of Danfoss personnel in Finland is working to create energy-efficient solutions for our customers in an electrifying world," explains Janne Kaskinen, Head of Strategic Marketing, Danfoss Drives.

The UEFA Under-19 championship, which has been running annually since 2001/02, is the successor to the FIFA junior tournament which began way back in 1948 as an under-18 event. In 1980, the tournament was restyled as the UEFA European Under-18 Championship, reflecting one of UEFA's main priorities, which is to promote youth football and to encourage the development of young footballers.

After the autumn 2017 qualifying round and elite round played in the spring of 2018, the eight-team final tournament will be played in Vaasa and Seinäjoki, Finland, from 16–29 July. The tournament is an exciting event in itself, but it also acts as Europe’s qualifier for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. The current holders are England following a 2–1 defeat of Portugal in the final held in Georgia last year.

Ambassadors for the event will be Tim Sparv (a Finnish midfielder, who himself played in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup), Maija Saari (Finland’s women’s captain, who played in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2009 tournament) and Ilari Äijälä (a Finnish fullback/winger, who represented Finland in all age levels up to the men’s national team).

This iconic competition has marked the first significant successes of many future stars, with England's victorious 1993 team featuring the likes of Gary Neville, Sol Campbell and Paul Scholes, all of whom went on to win well over 50 caps for the senior team.

A significant number of other players have starred in their team's triumphs at U18 and U19 level before going on to senior glory, with the victorious French side of 1996 featuring Mikaël Silvestre, William Gallas, Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet two years before the latter two were involved in FIFA World Cup success. Italian trio Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo, the Republic of Ireland's record goalscorer Robbie Keane and Spain's Fernando Torres, David Silva, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué were in a league of their own in U18 and U19 finals in recent years.

The action kicks off in Vaasa on 16 July with the final being played in Seinäjoki on 29 July. So, keep your eye on the ball and join us at some matches. You never know, the player who lifts the U19 cup might be lifting the Jules Rimet trophy at some point in the future – and you saw him first, in Finland!