Holders Spain will play 2011 hosts Denmark while last year's runners-up Switzerland were paired with 2009 winners Germany in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off draw.
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Holders Spain will play Denmark and Germany were paired with Switzerland in the pick of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off ties after the draw was made in Nyon today ahead of next summer's tournament in Israel.
Spain will have fond memories of Denmark having won their third U21 crown in fine style in Aarhus in June 2011. Their opponents that day, Switzerland, have it all to do if they are to reach another final tournament after drawing a Germany team that tallied 28 points from a possible 30 in qualifying.
Perennial qualifiers England come up against a Serbia side who also have a proud record at this level, while five-time winners Italy drew Sweden. The Netherlands, back-to-back champions in 2006 and 2007, were pitted with Slovakia, whose only previous finals appearance was back in 2000.
The draw in full
Spain v Denmark
Italy v Sweden
Czech Republic v Russia
Slovakia v Netherlands
Germany v Switzerland
England v Serbia
France v Norway
The play-offs get under way on 12 October and conclude four days later. The seven play-off winners will advance to the draw for the final tournament – to be played from 5–18 June in four host cities – on 28 November.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, who conducted the draw in tandem with Lance Kelly, UEFA head of national team competitions, said: "We consider it as the best opportunity to see, all together, the stars of the future – or rather, the stars of the immediate future. Remember that two of the Spanish title holders of 2011 – Javi Martínez and Juan Mata – became champions of Europe in Kyiv less than three months ago."