The 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship comprises a qualifying group stage and play-off round to determine which seven teams join hosts Israel in the final tournament.
Qualifying group stage
Teams are split into ten groups – two of six teams and eight of five – and play each other on a home and away basis. The ten group winners and four runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the play-offs.
Play-off matches are played according to the knockout system, with each team playing each opponent home and away. The team which scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals, extra time and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.
The final tournament comprises the seven play-off winners and Israel, who qualify automatically as hosts. The eight teams are split into two groups of four. Each team plays each other once in their group with the winners and runners-up advancing to the semi-finals where the winner of Group A plays the Group B runner-up and vice-versa. The winners advance to the final.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.
Lewis Holtby struck twice to set Germany on course for a 4-1 victory over Cyprus in Karlsruhe as the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship winners kicked off their qualifying campaign in style.
Holtby was irresistible for much of the first half, putting the home side 2-0 up before a lax Lasse Sobiech pass allowed Nestor Mytidis a surprise reply. An equaliser looked even less likely for a Cyprus side that opened their Group 1 account with a 6-0 win against San Marino in March, especially when Daniel Didavi restored the two-goal lead midway through the second period. Julian Draxler's 75th-minute strike sealed victory.
It was Draxler who set Rainer Adrion's side on their way in Karlsruhe, releasing FC Schalke 04 team-mate Holtby to break the deadlock on nine minutes. It was a sign of things to come as Holtby, Didavi, Draxler and the pacy Alexander Esswein harried the visitors, and with half-time approaching the pressure told. Didavi hit the post, and though Cyprus blocked three shots in the ensuing melee the ball was eventually squared for Holtby to tap in.
It was all going so well. Then came Sobiech's aberration, pounced on by Mytidis, and nerves set in for a Germany side keen to make amends after failing to qualify for this summer's finals. Half-time brought relief, and with the restart came renewed German dominance. Didavi calmed nerves with a simple finish when Cyprus failed to clear their lines and though another defensive lapse almost let in Mytidis again, Draxler sealed the points after good work from Peniel Mlapa.
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|Rainer Adrion (GER)||Savvas Paraskevas (CYP)|
|Antti Munukka (FIN)|
|Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN), Marko Hänninen (FIN)|
|Jari Järvinen (FIN)|