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Introduction

Introduction
Technical report

Introduction

The first final tournament of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship to be disputed exclusively by players born in the 21st century was also the first to be held in Croatia.

Since the final round had reverted to its 16-team format in 2015, it had been staged at a single centre. In Croatia, by contrast, the contestants were split between two centres, with the delegation based either in Zagreb or in the coastal town of Opatija. At the latter, matches were staged as double-headers in either Rijeka or Kostrena, whereas fixtures in Groups B and D were distributed among four stadiums in Lucko, Velika Gorica, Sesvete and Zapresic.

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The final was played in Varazdin, 80km north of Zagreb

Once the group stage had been completed, the quarter-finalists gathered in Zagreb and the stadium at Varazdin was brought into play for three of the eight knockout games, including the final. Capacities ranged from just under 1,000 in Sesvete to just under 9,000 in Varazdin.

The additional knockout game served to determine UEFA's fifth representative at the FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled for October 2017 in India. The two beaten quarter-finalists with the best group records disputed a play-off match in Sesvete, where France narrowly overcame Hungary to join semi-finalists England, Germany, Spain and Turkey on the world stage.

It was also agreed to use the tournament in Croatia as a test bed for the innovations proposed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) with regard to the sequence of penalty kicks during a shoot-out. The new format was not called into use until the goalless draw between Germany and Spain in the semi-finals – the latter winning 4-2 after taking the first penalty of the shoot-out. Spain won the final in the same way though, this time, England started.

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Tournament ambassador Niko Kranjčar with the trophy

Niko Kranjčar, capped 81 times by Croatia between 2004 and 2013, acted as UEFA ambassador for the event alongside Eni Jurišić, the girl who performed the official tournament song.

Eight referees and 12 assistant referees from non-participating countries were selected to gain experience at the final tournament of a UEFA competition, along with a quartet of fourth officials from the host association, including one, as it happened – Fran Jović – who had been selected as a member of the refereeing team at the previous year's final tournament in Azerbaijan.

As has become the custom in recent years, the tournament agenda featured educational briefings on doping controls and the dangers of match-fixing aimed at players who were, in the main, also gaining their first experience of a final tournament in a UEFA competition.

UEFA's technical team at the tournament in Croatia was formed by Dušan Fitzel (Czech Republic), Dany Ryser (Switzerland) and Patricia González (Spain), the latter making history by becoming the first female coach to act as a UEFA observer at a male tournament. They were joined for the final by UEFA's chief technical officer, Ioan Lupescu (Romania).

Their observations have been compiled into a technical report which, in addition to providing a permanent record of the event, aims to offer useful information to coaches working at the development levels of the game.

http://www.uefa.com/under17/season=2017/technical-report/index.html#introduction