The 2009/10 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round gets under way this week, with 52 teams bidding to join hosts France in next summer's final tournament.
Lithuania is the venue for the first of the 13 sections to kick off, with Switzerland, Croatia and Estonia joining the hosts in Group 4. Holders Ukraine – 2-0 victors on home soil against England in last season's final in Donetsk in August – are in Group 12 alongside Sweden, Montenegro and Georgia and start their campaign on 9 October while four-time champions Spain are in action from 3 November in Group 8, which also includes Portugal, Wales and FYR Macedonia.
The qualifying round comes to an end on 18 November when the final two sections conclude, with San Marino hosting Group 1 and the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Albania, while Belgium welcome Norway, Kazakhstan and Andorra for Group 11. The top two in each section, plus the two third-placed sides with the best record against the automatic qualifiers in their group, progress to the Elite round, which will be held in the spring.
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