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 have already qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time - and if the talented Victor Moses has anything to do with it, on Sunday they will win their maiden UEFA European Under-17 Championship. "By God's will we will," Moses told uefa.com. "We will do our best to win it."
First, they have to do what England failed to do every year at this level from 2001 until 2004 and win their semi-final, as they take on France in Tubize tonight. Moses, who struck twice at the same venue in the 4-2 defeat of the Netherlands that took England through as Group B winners, has experience of facing Les Mini-Bleus in a 1-1 draw in Portugal three months ago. "We played them in the Algarve Tournament - they were quite decent," the Crystal Palace FC playmaker said. "Then again they have changed their players, brought in good ones. But we played very well against them and it was our fault we gave them a chance to score. We're looking forward to playing them."
Moses's skills had already brought him plaudits before the tournament even before his feat against the Dutch, but he shares the credit. "If the team wasn't there, I wouldn't score two goals," he said. He enthralled the crowd further with his backflip-heavy celebration. "The first time I did it my youth team coach at Palace said: 'Wow, how did you do that.' That's just normal - every time I score I do it. I feel happy after scoring, I think it's cool."
He may be one of the few England players not at a current Premiership club, but Moses is settled at the south London side. "Palace are a good club to stay with and they've offered me a three-year professional deal which I've signed," he said. "I'm looking forward to next season and trying to break into the first team."
Not only does Moses have the opportunity to learn from experienced England coach John Peacock and the team at Palace, but in his schooldays he was taught by Colin Pate, the former Chelsea FC player. "Colin Pate is a great man," Moses said. "He advised me a lot then again he said if I want to play football at all I should just focus on my education." Peacock too is an inspiration. "He's a fantastic manager," Moses added. "He told us to go on the pitch and enjoy it, that's what we are doing."
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