Israel and Norway have both waited a long time to return to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final tournament and both will be eager to make a positive start when they meet in Netanya in the opening round of Group A games.
• Hosts Israel made their only previous appearance in the finals six years ago, although Norway's wait has been even longer; they finished third in the 1998 competition, but that was the last time they progressed from qualifying.
• The man who led Norway to these finals, Per Joar Hansen, left to take charge of Rosenborg BK in December 2012. His former U21 assistant Tor Ole Skullerud was appointed as his replacement with the national team on 3 January.
How they qualified
• Israel qualified automatically as hosts, and will appear in the final tournament for only the second time having made their debut in 2007.
• Norway finished second behind England in Group 8 with a record of P8 W5 D1 L2 F13 A7. They then overcame France in the play-offs, overturning a 1-0 loss in the away first leg with a 5-3 home victory.
• This will be the teams' first competitive meeting at U21 level. Norway were, however, 2-0 winners against Israel in the 2008 European U19 Championship elite round thanks to two Peter Orry Larsen goals. Amin Nouri, Håvard Nordtveit and Harmeet Singh all started for Norway with Ben Butbul in the Israel lineup and Boris Klaiman an unused substitute.
• Israel's only previous final tournament appearance came six years ago, when a team coached by Guy Levy lost all three fixtures in the Netherlands, against Portugal (0-4), Belgium and the hosts (both 0-1).
• Israel have won three of their last four competitive U21 contests and both their last two having ended their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2011 finals with a 5-0 home win against Montenegro and a 2-1 success in Sweden.
• Norway have also featured in just one finals to date, back in Romania in 1998. Having qualified ahead of France, they defeated Sweden 1-0 in the quarter-finals thanks to a Steffen Iversen goal but lost by the same scoreline to Spain in the last four. Nils Johan Semb's side bounced back to defeat the Netherlands 2-0 in the third place play-off, however, Iversen scoring in each half (17, 74) to secure the spoils.
• Norway's Omar Elabdellaoui and Nir Biton of Israel were both in the Manchester City FC team for a 1-0 friendly defeat by Al-Hilal FC in Innsbruck, Austria on 13 July 2012. While trialist Biton played in the first half, Elabdellaoui came on at the interval.
• Elabdellaoui also had a spell alongside Gai Assulin at City in 2011. Both have since departed, however, the Norwegian for TSV Eintracht Braunschweig and Assulin to Real Racing Club.
• Thomas Rogne plays alongside senior Israeli internationals Beram Kayal and Rami Gershon at Celtic FC.
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