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 five third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
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.
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.
Estonia have completed the UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round lineup after a 3-1 win against Wales in a delayed match to progress through a stage at this level for the first time.
Having finished third in qualifying round Group 13 on 4 November, Scotland had to wait to see if they would join Spain in going through as one of the two teams in that position with the best record against the leading pair in their section. For that to happen, Estonia needed to lose to Wales in a Group 7 game that was abandoned 27 minutes in due to snow on 26 October.
Wales, who were already out, were 1-0 up when the game was resumed on Wednesday evening in Tallinn. Estonia overturned the deficit thanks to goals from Sten Sinisalu and Svjatoslav Jakovlev, and wrapped up the victory through a Märten Kuusk effort nine minutes from time.
With that result, Estonia pipped Scotland to be the second-best third-placed side while Northern Ireland were confirmed as Group 7 runners-up. They go into the 28-team elite round draw at 11.00CET on 5 December in Nyon, when the teams will be split into seven groups of four, to be played in March, with the seedings announced in due course. The seven group winners will progress to join hosts Slovakia in the final tournament from 5 to 17 May 2013.
Progressing from qualifying round
Group 1: Serbia, Belarus
Group 2: Germany, Finland
Group 3: Netherlands (holders), Belgium
Group 4: Poland, Bulgaria, Spain*
Group 5: Slovenia, France
Group 6: Switzerland, Austria
Group 7: England, Northern Ireland, Estonia*
Group 8: Hungary, Italy
Group 9: Norway, Portugal
Group 10: Republic of Ireland, Sweden
Group 11: Czech Republic, Russia
Group 12: Croatia, Israel
Group 13: Ukraine, Georgia
*Best third-placed teams
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