The UEFA European Under-17 Championship consists of three distinct stages: the qualifying round, the elite round and the final tournament. The format changed for 2014/15 with the expansion of the final tournament from eight to 16 teams.
The qualifying round, played in autumn, is made up of 13 groups of four countries playing in one-venue mini-tournaments. The top two from each pool progress alongside the four third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 30 qualifiers plus the top two seeds – given a bye this far – compete in eight mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners and seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section advance to the finals to join the hosts.
In the final tournament the contenders are split into four groups of four, with the front two from each proceeding to the knockout phase.
Further details, including the criteria for separating sides that finish level on points in a group, or after 80 minutes in a match, can be found in the official competition regulations.
After two weeks of competition UEFA European Under-17 Championship finalists Spain and England have united in their praise for hosts Liechtenstein.
The principality unusually did not field a team after deciding they could not be competitive but fans still turned up in large numbers to watch neighbours Switzerland, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, as well as the two teams who made Sunday's decider in Vaduz, Spain and England. The fortnight will live long in their memories.
England manager John Peacock said: "
It's been fantastic. Liechtenstein is a very beautiful country. It's small, so we can get to a training pitch in five minutes and the ground in five or ten minutes; it's very good in that respect. The hospitality, the quality of the training surfaces, the hotels – everything's been first class. It's been like home, and that's helped."
His opposite number, Spain coach Ginés Meléndez, concurred. "
Everybody welcomed us with open arms and we have felt at home," he said. "We really want to thank Liechtenstein and the people working for the federation and at the tournament. We also want to thank the public who came to the games. The hotel and training camps were very good, also the stadium in Vaduz. We have been left with a very good impression of the people that helped us a lot."
That emotion was echoed by the respective captains. England's Conor Coady said: "I'd like to thank everyone involved in Liechtenstein; the public and in the hotel. It's been brilliant hospitality and we've been made very welcome." Spain skipper Paco added: "I want to thank the organisers and the people who drove us to the stadiums; they treated us very well."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.