England began the defence of their UEFA European Under-17 Championship title by advancing to the elite round as qualifying Group 3 winners along with hosts Georgia, second on goal difference.
Georgia, who included German-born 16-year-old Lucas Hufnagel in their starting lineup, defeated Poland 2-1 on Matchday 1. Hufnagel, whose mother is Georgian, said before the game he was "very proud" to be representing the mini-tournament hosts and showed no sign of nerves as Georgia ran out winners thanks to goals by Avto Endeladze and Bachana Arabuli. Hallam Hope, meanwhile, scored twice in England's 3-0 defeat of Sweden.
Sweden and Poland played out a goalless draw on Matchday 2, while Arabuli's brilliant strike cancelled out Hope's ninth-minute opener in a 1-1 stalemate between the top two. On the final day Guram Samushia's strike earned Georgia a 1-0 success against an obdurate Sweden team, and England defeated Poland by the same scoreline courtesy of Blair Turgott's 62nd-minute winner.
"I am very happy that we finished the qualifying round in first place," England manager John Peacock told UEFA.com. "We had good opponents in our group and I am especially pleased that we were stronger than all of them. I don't think the success of the hosts, who go through to the next round, was unjust; they deserved to come second. Georgia were a good side and they played with great confidence against us."
Georgia coach Koba Zhorzhikashvili added: "First of all I would say thanks to the fans; there were over 6,000 of them out there. Thanks also to the players, who did a great job and reached our goal. England are one of the best sides and we were a match for them, which means we can aim to reach the last eight."
Both nations will learn their elite round opponents when the draw is made on 30 November.
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