The 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship may have just ended in Israel but qualifying for the 2015 finals in the Czech Republic is already in full swing.
Teams are split into ten groups – two of six teams and eight of five – and play each other home and away. The ten group winners and four runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the play-offs. The seven winners of those play-off ties in October 2014 will join the Czech hosts in the finals the following summer.
UEFA.com looks at the early qualifying results, with the next fixtures on 11, 13 and 14 August plus a full set on 5/6 September, 12 months before the groups conclude.
England, who will be under new management following Stuart Pearce's post-finals departure, are the only team in the section yet to play, opening at home to Moldova on 5 September. Lithuania are the early leaders, this month beating San Marino 2-1 and drawing 2-2 in Finland after conceding a last-gasp goal. Wales are close behind having begun in March with a 1-0 victory over Moldova, who then won 3-0 in San Marino. There are two group games on 14 August, San Marino v Lithuania and Wales v Finland.
Russia, hoping to qualify just as this year, got off the mark with a 3-0 March success in Andorra, who then played three times in June, losing by the same scoreline twice to Bulgaria before drawing 1-1 in Estonia, who had already been beaten 1-0 at home by Denmark. Slovenia start on 14 August against Estonia.
Just two matches in this group so far, and both were defeats for Luxembourg, 3-0 in Scotland in March and 7-1 at home to Slovakia in June. The Netherlands, under new coach Albert Stuivenberg having reached the 2013 semi-finals, welcome Scotland on 5 September, when Georgia begin in Luxembourg.
A similar situation to Group 3 here, as Albania went down 2-1 at home to Hungary then 4-1 in Bosnia and Herzegovina four days later. Austria start in Albania on 14 August before the entry of holders Spain, who visit the Austrians on 5 September as they begin their bid for a third straight title, which would equal Italy's record tally of five.
In the sole game staged to date, on 11 June, Latvia won 4-0 against Liechtenstein. Croatia are next to get under way on 13 August when they go to Liechtenstein, while on 5 September Switzerland begin in Latvia. Four days later Ukraine open their bid versus Croatia.
The 2009 winners Germany fell in the group stage in Israel, but hope to qualify again and kick off in September with trips to the Faroe Islands and the Republic of Ireland, two countries who meet on 14 August. The Faroes have already played twice, holding Romania 2-2 yet losing 3-0 in Montenegro.
In the solitary match played so far, Poland had to work hard to beat Malta 2-0. On 14 August, Turkey launch their campaign in Poland, who travel to Sweden the following month, when Greece start at home to Malta.
Norway were the summer's surprise semi-finalists but they will not be eased into 2015 qualifying as on 5 September they visit Portugal. Israel, who held Norway in their finals curtain-raiser as hosts, begin two days later against Azerbaijan, who have already drawn 0-0 with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The tournament's most successful nation, Italy, were runners-up in Israel and kick off against another country with big ambition, Belgium, on 5 September. Belgium have already secured a 2-0 win against Cyprus, who then saw off Northern Ireland 3-0. Serbia open the same day as Italy against Cyprus.
In the third pool with no 2013 qualifiers, Iceland set the early pace after winning 2-1 in Belarus and Armenia. Belarus also lost 1-0 at home to Kazakhstan, who will be France's first opponents on 5 September. Before that, on 11 August, Kazakhstan play Armenia – three days before Israel take on Belarus.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.