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 16-team 2017/18 UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals in England has begun with the qualifying round draw involving 52 of the hopefuls, including debutants Kosovo.
The draw was made by Nicklas Struck Jakobsen, who received the 2015/16 Respect Fair Play Trophy on behalf of Denmark.
Qualifying round draw
Group 1 (26 October–1 November): Belgium, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Malta*
Group 2 (19–25 October): Spain, Croatia, Albania*, Liechtenstein
Group 3 (13–19 October): Czech Republic*, Turkey, Israel, Armenia
Group 4 (27 September–3 October): Russia, Iceland, Finland*, Faroe Islands
Group 5 (18–24 October): Serbia*, Greece, Norway, Gibraltar
Group 6 (19–25 October): France, Slovenia, Belarus*, Kazakhstan
Group 7 (22–28 October): Scotland, Denmark, Estonia*, Andorra
Group 8 (2–8 October): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Moldova, FYR Macedonia*
Group 9 (10–16 October): Netherlands, Wales, Hungary*, Kosovo
Group 10 (23–29 October): Austria, Romania*, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Group 11 (10–16 October): Republic of Ireland, Ukraine, Bulgaria*, Azerbaijan
Group 12 (17–23 October): Poland, Sweden, Cyprus*, San Marino
Group 13 (24–30 October): Italy, Georgia*, Latvia, Montenegro
Bye to elite round: Germany, Portugal
Bye to final tournament: England (hosts)
• The top two in each group along with the four third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair will join Germany and Portugal in the elite round in spring 2018.
• In that round, the eight group winners and seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their pool will join England in that May's finals.
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