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.
In the elite round, played in the spring, those 26 qualifiers join the top two seeds, 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.
Holders and seven-time champions Spain, plus former winners France, Serbia, Ukraine and Italy, are among the 28 teams bidding for a place in the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship when the elite round begins on Wednesday.
Elite round groups
Group 1 (24-29 March): Spain (holders)*, England, Greece, Georgia
Group 2 (25-30 March): Switzerland, Israel, Turkey, Italy*
Group 3 (24-29 March): Czech Republic, Austria*, Romania, Slovakia
Group 4 (24-29 March): Netherlands*, Poland, Ukraine, Northern Ireland
Group 5 (23-28 March): Belgium, Croatia*, Scotland, Bulgaria
Group 6 (24-29 March): Portugal*, Slovenia, Sweden, Russia
Group 7 (24-29 March): France, Serbia*, Montenegro, Denmark
• The seven group winners will join hosts Germany in the finals from 11 to 24 July. The finals draw will be held in Stuttgart on 12 April.
• Spain won their seventh U19 title in 14 years with victory against Russia in Greece last summer.
• Serbia beat France in the 2014 final in Lithuania to win the trophy for the first time.
• Four players scored five goals in the qualifying round: Jean-Kévin Augustin (France), Nany Dimata (Belgium), Anas Mahamid (Israel) and Ivan Šaponjić (Serbia).
• Belgium and France were the qualifying round's top scorers overall with 13 goals each. Slovenia, England, Portugal and Austria all kept three clean sheets.
• Portugal, Switzerland and the Czech Republic were the only sides to win all three qualifying round games.
• Denmark, Montenegro and Sweden are the only sides in the elite round who have never qualified for the U19 final tournament.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.