The UEFA European Under-19 Championship consists of three distinct stages: the qualifying round, the elite round and the final tournament.
The qualifying round, played in autumn, is made up of 13 groups of four teams playing in one-venue mini-tournaments. The top two from each progress alongside the third-placed team with the best record against the top pair in their group.
In the elite round, played in the spring, those 27 qualifiers join the top seed, given a bye, in seven mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners then join the hosts in the finals.
The seven qualifiers plus the hosts are split into two groups of four who play each other once, with the top two progressing to the semi-finals. The winners of those ties contest the final.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, or after extra time in a match, can be found in the official competition regulations.
I get on well with him, he's a very close friend. He plays for Braga, he was an Under-19 champion this year – he shares a room with Moreira.
A very funny guy. He likes to listen to reggae music and lets his beard grow. He says that if he doesn't do that, he looks too young!
We call him big head; he's short and has a large head for his height. He likes to sing and listen to rap music.
Vice-captain. Quieter and more reserved, likes to keep himself to himself. He shares a room with Jorge, who plays for Manchester City and hasn't played as much as the rest of us, so it's to help him integrate more as João has more experience.
He shares a room with me, he talks French a lot – he doesn't speak much Portuguese as he was born in France. His mother is French, his father emigrated to France when he was a young boy, and I like him very much, even though I've only known him a couple of months. I knew right away we would get on.
One of my closest friends. He likes to watch a lot of TV series and films, but now he wants to be more cultural so he's studying! He's doing geography but is also enrolled at a sports university. He's the most concerned with his appearance: he loves his creams for skin and hair.
The most reserved. Has a very intimidating appearance and commands a lot of respect. Doesn't speak at all, maybe one word a day!
One of our other friends called him Abraham Lincoln, because of his beard – so he's Abraham. He kind of likes it, but for sure he prefers Domingos.
The one who makes the most jokes, he's the funniest – loves to mock the other players. He's very relaxed and talks a lot; he can't keep his mouth shut.
Very similar to Guzzo; they play for Benfica and Porto but they're very close. They play in the same position.
The man with no neck – we call him 'The Neckless'. He doesn't like that at all, but the other players love it. He sits next to Jordan and they mess about a lot at dinner. He likes to put salt in João Palhinha's drinks. Every day!
The victim. A very strong personality but André Silva and Jordan are always mocking him, hiding his food and putting salt in his drinks.
He came late and I don't know him well. Best friends with Jorge, Gelson and Mauro Riquicho.
The king of losing in the two-touch game we always do at the start of our training sessions, when you have to keep the ball off the floor. He's not the biggest loser at that but when he does we all like to flick his ears.
Left-footed and very confident. Best friends with Guzzo, they both have parents from Brazil.
Unfortunately he had to leave us. He's missed, of course, but that's the game, the job of a player – another comes in his position.
Quiet. He has a group of his own and likes to stick with them. Doesn't speak a lot.
He's very similar to Mauro Riquicho: best friends, same room, very fast on the field and a very good player. He's becoming more and more open with us.
My mother's Portuguese and my father's Polish – they met while they were studying in Kyiv. I speak four languages: Polish, Portuguese, French and English. That's not to say I'm fluent, but I can communicate. I feel Portuguese, but I still have family in Poland; my Polish grandmother is coming to see the game.
I'm studying international relations at the university in Porto. It's difficult to train, play and study, but it's possible. I want to finish my studies, so I know it will take me longer – maybe five or six years instead of three. I'm very sociable and I love to laugh – oh, and I act as the French translator for Jordan.
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