Last season's UEFA European Under-17 Championship hosts Serbia stormed to victory in first qualifying round Group 9 with three victories while Lithuania won a three-way tie for second place to make progress for the first time at this level.
Serbia were in control with opening victories against Lithuania and Armenia, and ended on maximum points by beating Wales 6-1. Nikola Ivković and Saša Zdjelar scored inside the first nine minutes, Veljko Simić and Nemanja Jakšić adding more before half-time and substitutes Bogdan Tepić and Filip Janković completing the triumph.
Lithuania were without a point ahead of their last game against Armenia but a 4-0 victory with all the goals from Simonas Stankevičius ensured they join Serbia in the elite round. That is thanks to a three-way head-to-head tie between themselves, Armenia and Wales, whose victory against Lithuania means they may yet progress as one of the two third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair in their section across the 13 groups.
Milan Spremo and Veljko Simić got Serbia off to a good start with a 2-0 defeat of Lithuania. Armenia, meanwhile, ended a 12-game winless run in this competition despite trailing Wales to two Gethyn Hill goals in the first 29 minutes, Edgar Harutyunyan equalising on the stroke of half-time and pulling one back not long before the hour before Vardan Bakalyan made it 3-2 in added time.
Wales recovered to beat Lithuania 2-0 through Rhys James and Declan Weeks, and in the meeting of the two opening winners, Serbia prevailed 2-1 despite Armenia leading early on through Nairi Minasyan, Ivković striking on 33 and 60 minutes. Armenia still had hopes of getting through a stage of this competition for the first time in eight years, but it was Lithuania who were to celebrate having previously fallen in the opening round every time since making their debut in the old U16 Championship in 1993/94.
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