After the success of the senior team in the UEFA Nations League finals, Spain fans will be hoping that form will continue over to the U21 side, who begin their 2023 European U21 Championship campaign against Romania tonight (20:45 CEST).
Romania are co-hosting the tournament with Georgia and will be desperate to get off to a good start in their curtain-raiser in front of their own fans at Steaua Stadium in Bucharest.
But they could not have asked for a tougher start than facing Santi Denia’s youngsters, who boast four full internationals within their 23-man squad, plus players who have had stellar seasons with their clubs over this campaign.
Manchester City defender Sergio Gómez joins the squad having made 23 appearances in the treble-winning campaign for the new European champions and is likely to marshal the defence in front of Barcelona goalkeeper Arnau Tenas.
La Rojita will be looking to Abel Ruiz to lead the line; he scored seven times in qualifying to take his tally to ten in 20 caps at this level while making inroads at Braga, for whom he netted 12 times this season.
Spain were the only team to finish the qualification campaign with eight wins from eight, scoring 37 times and conceding just five against Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Lithuania and Malta, while Russia were disqualified from their group during qualification.
As well as with the Romanians, Spain have been drawn alongside Ukraine and Croatia in Group B for the 16-team tournament. They will face Croatia on 24 June at Giulești Stadium, also in Bucharest, before completing their group stage fixtures at the same venue against Ukraine on 27 June.
The five-time winners – most recently in 2019 – will have eyes on reaching the final at Batumi Arena, Batumi, Georgia on 8 July.
Anthony Tomas | GSFN