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 four third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 30 qualifiers plus the top two seeds – 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.
Holders England will be up against Romania, Norway and Slovenia while Spain and France renew rivalries after the 2014/15 UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round draw was made in Nyon for the groups in March.
Elite round draw
Group 1 (20-25 March): Spain*, France, Sweden, Israel
Group 2 (17-22 March): Portugal, Croatia, Serbia, Azerbaijan*
Group 3 (12-17 March): Netherlands*, Belgium, Georgia, Northern Ireland
Group 4 (21-26 March): Poland*, Republic of Ireland, Belarus, Greece
Group 5 (21-26 March): Austria, Russia*, Iceland, Wales
Group 6 (21-26 March): England* (holders), Romania, Norway, Slovenia
Group 7 (20-25 March): Czech Republic, Scotland, Hungary*, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Group 8 (21-26 March): Germany*, Italy, Slovakia, Ukraine
• The eight group winners and the seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their pool qualify to join hosts Bulgaria in the expanded 16-nation finals from 6–22 May 2015.
• The top three in each finals group will progress to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile from 17 October–8 November.
• Germany received a bye to this round.
• France overcame Spain in the 2004 final but fortunes were reversed four years later.
• Scotland beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0 on their way to qualifying for last season's finals.
• Norway, Wales, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 2016 hosts Azerbaijan are aiming to qualify for the first time.
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