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.
Scotland manager Scot Gemmill praised his side's character and ability to adapt after a change in system prompted a dramatic turnaround against Switzerland. The Scots' 3-1 success means they progress to the semi-finals from Group B along with Portugal, whose coach Emilio Peixe was delighted to see his side beat Germany while resting some players.
Switzerland 1-3 Scotland
Yves Débonnaire, Switzerland coach
We could easily have been 2-0 up, but instead we lacked discipline. A match lasts 80 minutes, not 30 minutes. Suddenly we had four, five players who stopped playing, as if it didn't matter anymore. We knew they were going to come at us with two strikers in the second half and that they were going to take a few more risks, so we just had to be a bit more intelligent, anticipate their runs better and be ruthless. But we came out with less discipline, less engagement and less intensity – you pay for that.
We played the game to win, but it's quite simple ... in a game of football you need to have some organisation. When lose this organisation you make huge mistakes, because if you see the Scottish goals you can almost die laughing. Scotland did well, but looking at the way we played, you could die die laughing. When that happens, it all becomes much easier for them and it's purely about discipline, both collective and individual. That's it, there's nothing more to it.
Scot Gemmill, Scotland manager
[At half-time] I reminded the players we'd come back in the past. It was more important to change our system to solve the problems we were having. Credit to our players for executing our second gameplan. The first one wasn't working because the Swiss gave us lots of problems, then we gave them the problems.
That showed the mentality of the group, because they are very focused. They know this is a brilliant opportunity.
With about eight minutes of the first half to go I looked at the clock; I was trying to get to half-time at 1-0 because I knew we were in a lot of trouble and I knew I wanted to reorganise the team. The Swiss were being allowed to play the ball into our defensive area too easily, and we needed to retain possession better – the two forwards helped us do that. I watched the Dutch game against England and I thought they were fantastic.
Portugal 1-0 Germany
Emilio Peixe, Portugal coach
First and foremost we wanted to manage the team's efforts, not overexert ourselves and give playing time to everybody, which is really important. We know the players we have, we know the qualities they have and we know they're all good enough to hold their own against any of the teams at this tournament. Of course, I'm really pleased with the performance of all the players, and next up is the semi-final against England. We'll have to give it our all if we want to go through, and it'll be very tough.
We've already played England a couple of times and they're a very good team. They're really strong and they've got players already in their clubs' U21 sides. We know their players well, we know the team well, and now it's just down to getting ready for the semi-final, giving it our best shot and trying to reach the final.
Christian Wück, Germany coach
The first half was not bad. We played good football but couldn't score. We had three golden chances in the first ten minutes of the second half but couldn't score. We had so many chances in these three games but too few goals and lots of bad luck. The players in the dressing room are very down; bad luck, hitting the woodwork, missing a penalty. It is very difficult for young people to take all this on board and not easy to lift their spirits.
I think that in the first half and for the first ten minutes of the second half we were the better team today, but we didn't score so now we have to go home. The team are very down, so now we have to analyse these games and hope the players learn from this tournament.
They are only 16 or 17 and you don't only learn from success, but also from defeat.
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