Russia will start off against Ukraine while Austria are in a group with Switzerland after the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals draw was held today in Slovakia.
In the ceremony at the Congress Hotel Senec, UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee chairman Jim Boyce and tournament ambassadors Ľubomir Moravčík and Viktor Pečovský placed hosts Slovakia with opening opponents Austria and other Group A rivals Switzerland and Sweden. Group B will begin with Russia facing Ukraine and Croatia up against Italy, who ended the Netherlands' bid for a third straight title.
Group A: Slovakia (hosts), Austria, Switzerland, Sweden
Group B: Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Italy
Both Slovakia and Sweden are making their U17 finals debuts while only two of the nine nations who have won this title have qualified: Russia (2006) and Switzerland (2002). None of the eight sides who competed last year in Slovenia have made it again.
The pool games will be played on 5, 8 and 11 May (full schedule to be announced in the coming days), with Group A in Zilina and Dubnica nad Vahom, and Group B in Nitra and Zlate Marovce. The top two from each section advance to the semi-finals on 14 May in Zilina, where the decider will also take place three days later. The top three teams in each pool will also qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates from 17 October to 8 November.
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