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.
England has won the 2017 Maurice Burlaz Trophy, the prize awarded to the national association that has achieved the best results in UEFA's men's youth competitions over the previous two seasons and which is named after the Frenchman and former vice-chairman of the UEFA Youth Committee.
The trophy was presented to England's FIFA U-20 World Cup-winning coach Paul Simpson, representing the Football Association (FA), by UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee chairman John Delaney at the UEFA youth competitions draw ceremony at the House of European Football in Nyon on Wednesday.
The Maurice Burlaz Trophy, named after the former vice-chairman of the UEFA Youth Committee, has been awarded to European national associations since 1990, on the basis of results obtained in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship and the UEFA European U19 Championship over the previous two seasons.
Simpson told UEFA.com: "We're delighted. It's a huge honour for everybody connected with English football. A lot of positive work has been done over many years. It's not just the teams who have been involved – it's the coaches, the support staff, and all of the grassroots coaches who have played a part in the pathway for these players.
"It’s a tribute not only to the work being done in the FA, but also by the clubs as well. I think the Premier League and Football League are doing a lot of good work with their academy players, and we are benefitting from that. The challenge is to keep this going, and to make sure that we have another good two-year period, and perhaps be competing again for the trophy in two years' time."
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: "I would like to congratulate everyone at the English Football Association who has been involved in England's successes in our competitions over the last two seasons.
"This prize is a testament to the fantastic work you have all been doing at youth level, and it is a promising sign for what could be achieved by your senior national teams in the future."
This is the first time England has claimed the Maurice Burlaz Trophy, which they clinched by winning the 2017 U19 EURO, and reaching the 2016 semi-finals, plus finishing runners-up at the 2017 U17 EURO and making the 2016 last eight.
That left them two points ahead of the nation they beat in the 2017 U19 final, 2016 U17 champions Portugal. England's strength in youth competition was confirmed when they won the 2017 U-17 and U-20 World Cups, the first European team to claim both trophies in the same year. England host next May's U17 finals.
2017 Maurice Burlaz Trophy leading positions
1 England 23 points
2 Portugal 21
3= Germany, Netherlands 16
5 Spain 15
6 France 10
7 Italy 9
8= Czech Republic, Turkey 6
10= Austria, Sweden 3
(tournament win=8 points, runners-up=7, beaten semi-finalists=6, U17 beaten quarter-finalists=2, U19 group third place=2, U17 group third place=1, U19 group fourth place=1)
Roll of honour
1994: Portugal, Spain, Turkey
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