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.
Santi Denia, Spain coach
We practised penalties with the players, but training and games are two different things. I told them I'm proud of them. It's not so important to win every time because it's impossible to do that.
It was a very good two weeks because we played against strong teams. We beat the Netherlands, Italy, England and Germany – all among the favourites for the tournament – so I can only say once again that I'm very proud of the players. This experience will serve them well.
Manu Morlanes, Spain midfielder and captain
I felt immense pressure. I'm the captain of the team and I had to deliver at a crucial moment. I tried my best to score, I failed, but that happens in football. At some point this game will give me a chance to make up for it.
We hoped to reach the final and, though we failed to win, it's still a very big result for us. Portugal are a great team, they were the favourites. We were worthy competitors until the very end, but they deserved to win it.
Jordi Mboula, Spain winger
We did a good job and improved every day. We performed way above expectations, worked together and had a very good championship. It was an even game. Penalties are a lottery and we just weren't lucky.
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