Champions in 2005 and 2010, France roared back into the finals after surprisingly missing out on the 2011 event. Given a bye to the elite round, they kicked off with a 2-1 win against Group 1 hosts the Czech Republic but, despite beating Norway 3-1 in their next game, they trailed the Netherlands on goal difference going into their final-day encounter. However, they were two goals and a player up by half-time in that game, and hit four more after the break to beat the Jong Oranje 6-0.
Despite some mixed results leading up to that tournament, France's spirit and team play in the Czech Republic was excellent, with Paris Saint-Germain FC forward Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and Manchester United FC midfielder Paul Pogba among the notable performers.
"The boys stood tall in terms of determination, motivation and energy, but it was a tough elite round," said coach Pierre Mankowski. "We took on some strong teams but even when things were not going for us, the team never panicked. I'm happy for the players; after a long run of nothing but friendlies, they have a challenge to look forward to."
Qualifying round: Bye
Key players: Lucas Digne (defender, LOSC Lille Métropole), Paul Pogba (midfielder, Manchester United FC), Jean-Christophe Bahebeck (forward, Paris Saint-Germain FC)
Coach: Pierre Mankowski
Born: 4 November 1951
Playing career: RC Lens, SC Hazebrouck, Amiens SC
Coaching career: SM Caen (twice), Le Havre AC, LOSC Lille Métropole, AS Saint-Étienne, Paris Saint-Germain FC (academy), Cameroon (assistant), RC Strasbourg, France U16, France U17, France U18, France U19, France (assistant)
Mankowski followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a professional footballer, the playmaker calling time on a 14-year playing career in 1984 after a spell as player-coach of Caen, with whom he would win Ligue 2 titles in two different spells 11 years apart.
Hired as a youth coach by the France Football Federation (FFF) in 2000, his ability was recognised by senior national team coaches Jacques Santini and Raymond Domenech, with Mankowski assisting both in a ten-year spell on Les Bleus' bench – even taking sole command for a 0-0 draw against Italy in a UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier. Since 2010 he has once more focused solely on youth football.
Qualifying top scorer
Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, Alexy Bosetti: 3
UEFA European Under-19 Championship best
Winners 2005, 2010
Honours in UEFA youth competitions
UEFA European Under-17 Championship
Runners-up 2002, 2008
UEFA European Under-18 Championship
Winners 1983, 1996, 1997, 2000
UEFA European Under-16 Championship
Runners-up 1996, 2001
International Youth Tournament (U18)
Runners-up 1950, 1968
FIFA U-17 World Cup
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