The 52 teams who are hoping to join hosts Ukraine in the final tournament of the 2008/09 UEFA European Under-19 Championship have discovered their first assignments after the qualifying round draw was held in Cannes.
The draw, held on the final afternoon of the 9th UEFA Elite Youth Football Conference in Cannes, was conducted by Miloš Bosančić, Jim Boyce, first vice-chairman of UEFA's Youth and Amateur Football Committee and development competitions manager Claudio Negroni. Before proceedings got under way Bosančić, Serbia's captain at last season's U19 finals, was presented with a Fair Play award in recognition of the exemplary conduct of his side in Austria.
Spain, the current reigning champions, are joined by Switzerland, Belarus and the Faroe Islands in Group 13, while 2007 runners-up Greece will compete with Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro to progress from Group 10. Last season's semifinalists France and Germany are in Group 4, against the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Liechtenstein, and 6, where the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Lithuania form the opposition. The top two teams in each section, together with the two third-placed sides with the best record against the two automatic qualifiers, will progress to the Elite round, which will be held in spring 2009. The eight-team final tournament will take place in Ukraine in July 2009.
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