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France under no illusions, Iceland optimistic

Published: Wednesday 9 May 2012, 18.30CET
Coach Jean-Claude Giuntini is aware France control their own destiny ahead of their "must-win" contest, while Gunnar Gudmundsson says "Iceland are ready for the Georgian challenge".
by Dan Ross
from Ljubljana
France under no illusions, Iceland optimistic
Aevar Jóhannesson of Iceland in action against Jean Corentin of France ©Sportsfile

Road to the final

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.

Qualifying round
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 five third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.

Elite round
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 31 qualifiers plus the top seed – 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.

Final tournament
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.

 

Published: Wednesday 9 May 2012, 18.30CET

France under no illusions, Iceland optimistic

Coach Jean-Claude Giuntini is aware France control their own destiny ahead of their "must-win" contest, while Gunnar Gudmundsson says "Iceland are ready for the Georgian challenge".

Pressure is mounting ahead of matchday three as the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A curtain prepares to come down in dramatic style.

Following two victories, Germany's Stefan Böger is the only one of the four coaches sure of his fate, while the remaining trio, without a win between them, are left to scrap it out for the second semi-final berth.

France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini is at least in control of his own destiny but is under no illusions about exactly what is at stake against Germany. "It is not an ideal situation," he said. "We find ourselves in a must-win game to reach the next stage. It will be like a final for us. My players will be focused, they will give their maximum and we hope that will be enough."

His counterpart, Böger, has already stated his intention to do a professional job and play for a perfect points tally, and reiterated that Germany will not be resting on their laurels against France despite having already secured top spot.

"Now is not the time for celebrating," said Böger. "I think for now we are happy, but we have to concentrate for the next match. I expect it from all players, and the staff too. We might make changes ahead of the final match, but we want to win. We want to win every match here, and the game against France is no different."

Those words will be music to the ears of the two teams going toe-to-toe in the group's other contest. Iceland face Georgia with both coaches aware a win in Domzale could see them into the final four if it is coupled with a victory for Germany in Ljubljana.

"We have a chance to qualify, if we do well in this final game," said Georgia coach Vasil Maisuradze. "We will certainly have done our homework ahead of the Iceland match, but everything now depends on Germany. We need them not to lose to France, and if they don't then we have a shot."

With determined displays in two tough matches so far, Iceland will be hoping a repeat performance can see them sneak through. Despite the pressure on his shoulders, coach Gunnar Gudmundsson exudes positivity. "We still have a chance, I am always optimistic," he said. "I think Georgia are a very good team, but we have shown in two tough games against big teams that we can compete, and we are definitely capable of getting a win.

"The fact that we are still in with a chance in our final game will keep spirits high. We are a great group who always stick together, and I know we will be ready for the Georgian challenge."

Last updated: 10/05/12 14.19CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/under17/news/newsid=1795100.html#france+under+illusions+iceland+optimistic