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 qualifying round for the 2014/15 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, which will end with an expanded 16-team finals next May, begins on 19 September and the competition's benefits have been shown by the FIFA World Cup just ended, not least by the man that scored the winner for Germany in the decider.
In all 54 players that have taken part in U17 final tournaments since the first in Denmark 12 years ago were in Brazil, with 12 of the 13 UEFA representatives having had experience of UEFA's junior tournament, in which the likes of 2014 Best Young Player Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard and Stefan de Vrij first shone. Mario Götze, indeed, won the tournament in 2009 five years before his Rio de Janiero heroics on Sunday.
In the predecessor U16 event, 28 eventual 2014 World Cup players first took part, including Fernando Torres, Andrés Ineista and Wesley Sneijder in 2001, Robin van Persie, Iker Casillas, Steven Gerrard and, in 1993 in Turkey, future major tournament winners Gianluigi Buffon and Georgios Karagounis.
UEFA.com presents the U17 roll of honour: where the player name has a link, it leads to a piece with or about the player from the final tournament in question.
Switzerland (winners): Tranquillo Barnetta, Philippe Senderos, Reto Ziegler
England: Wayne Rooney
France: Carl Medjani (now Algeria)
Germany: Lukas Podolski
Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo
Spain: David Silva
Portugal (winners): Vieirinha, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso
England: James Milner
Spain: David Silva (2nd U17 finals)
Croatia: Milan Badelj, Dejan Lovren
Netherlands: Tim Krul
Switzerland: Yann Sommer, Ivan Rakitić (now Croatia)
Belgium: Toby Alderweireld, Axel Witsel
Luxembourg: Miralem Pjanić (now Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Germany: Toni Kroos, Ron-Robert Zieler
Spain: Cesar Azpilicueta
Spain (winners): David de Gea
Belgium: Eden Hazard
England: Daniel Welbeck, Victor Moses (now Nigeria)
France: Mamadou Sakho
Germany: Toni Kroos (2nd U17 finals)
Netherlands: Daley Blind, Leroy Fer, Georginio Wijnaldum
Germany (winners): Mario Götze, Shkodran Mustafi
Switzerland (FIFA U-17 World Cup winners): Haris Seferovic, Granit Xhaka
England: Jack Wilshere
Italy: Mattia Perin
Netherlands: Stefan de Vrij, Jöel Veltman
2014/15 qualifying round
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)
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.