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.
The UEFA European Under-17 Championship will be held in Slovakia from 5 to 17 May 2013. Seven teams will join the hosts in the finals, the 12th to be held since the switch to U17 classification. Slovakia previously staged the 2000 UEFA European U21 Championship.
Qualifiers: Slovakia (hosts), Croatia (Group 1), Austria (Group 2), Sweden (Group 3), Ukraine (Group 4), Switzerland (Group 5), Russia (Group 6), Italy (Group 7)
Group A will be played in Zilina and Dubnica nad Vahom, with Group B in Nitra and Zlate Moravce. The group stage games will be disputed on 5, 8 and 11 May, with the top two from each section advancing to the semi-finals on 14 May in Zilina, where the decider will also be held three days later. The top three teams in each pool will also advance to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates from 17 October to 8 November.
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