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.
The road to the expanded 2014/15 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament in Bulgaria has been paved after the qualifying round draw was made.
Involving 52 teams, the draw was conducted by Jim Boyce, UEFA Youth and Amateur Committee chairman, and 2012/13 Austria captain Michael Lercher, who received the Fair Play trophy. While top seeds Germany have been given a bye to the elite round, the remaining entrants were split into 13 groups of four sides to be played as mini-tournaments in between 19 September and 31 October 2014.
The top two in each section along with the five third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair will join Germany in the elite round in spring 2015. In all, 15 nations will join Bulgaria that May, the size of the showpiece doubled from the eight countries that comprised the finals between 2002/03 and 2013/14.
Group 1 (22-27 September): Scotland, Republic of Ireland*, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar
Group 2 (26-31 October): Poland, Georgia*, Estonia, Liechtenstein
Group 3 (15-20 October): Iceland, Italy, Moldova*, Armenia
Group 4 (25-30 October): England, France, Cyprus*, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Group 5 (25-30 September): Ukraine, Sweden, Greece, Latvia*
Group 6 (19-24 September): Turkey, Portugal, Slovenia*, Northern Ireland
Group 7 (21-26 October): Croatia, Hungary*, Kazakhstan, Israel
Group 8 (9-14 October): Serbia*, Netherlands, Malta, Finland
Group 9 (8-13 October): Austria, Norway, San Marino, Albania*
Group 10 (23-28 October): Belgium*, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Group 11 (24-29 October): Slovakia*, Spain, Luxembourg, Lithuania
Group 12 (25-30 September): Czech Republic, Denmark, Romania, Andorra*
Group 13 (19-24 October): Russia, Belarus*, Wales, Montenegro
Bye to elite round: Germany
Bye to finals: Bulgaria (hosts)
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