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.
A qualifying round and elite round will lead to the eight-team final tournament to be held in summer 2013 in Lithuania. The 48 countries in the qualifying round have been split into 12 groups of four, to be played as single-venue mini-tournaments in autumn 2012.
Top-ranked nations Spain, Serbia and Turkey receive byes to the elite round, and will be joined by the teams who finish in the top two of each qualifying round group plus the third-placed team with the best record against the leading pair. The elite round, drawn late this year, will consist of seven groups of four played in spring 2013, the mini-tournament winners joining Lithuania in the finals.
Qualifying round draw
Group 1 (2-7 November): Austria, Hungary*, Andorra, Bulgaria
Group 2 (21-26 November): Finland, Denmark, Montenegro, Cyprus*
Group 3 (9-14 October): Poland, Netherlands, San Marino*, Malta
Group 4 (10-15 October): Czech Republic, Greece, Northern Ireland*, Moldova
Group 5 (11-16 October): Germany, Republic of Ireland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Luxembourg*
Group 6 (11-16 October): France, Portugal*, Israel, Latvia
Group 7 (12-17 October): Belgium, Italy, Belarus, Albania*
Group 8 (11-16 October): Slovakia, Norway, Kazakhstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina*
Group 9 (9-14 October): Scotland*, Switzerland, Armenia, Romania
Group 10 (10-15 October): Wales, Russia, Sweden, Slovenia*
Group 11 (26-31 October): Croatia*, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iceland
Group 12 (26 September-1 October): Ukraine, England, Faroe Islands, Estonia*
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