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.
Cyprus shot up to third in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1, winning 3-0 against nine-man Belarus in Minsk to avenge a 3-1 reverse in the corresponding home fixture last October.
Belarus went close through Anton Saroka early on, but Nicos Englezou exploited a mix-up in the home side's defence to give Cyprus a 13th-minute lead, and they had the better of the chances from then on. Nestor Mytidis had twice gone close before putting his side 2-0 up five minutes after the interval, finishing from Pieros Sotiriou's cross.
Things got worse for the home side on 73 minutes when Aleksandr Anyukevich turned Stelious Demetriou's corner past his own goalkeeper, and while substitute Yuri Kovalev passed up an opportunity to reduce the arrears at the other end, Belarus's chance of a comeback was stymied as first Aleksei Gavrilovich (78) and then Saroka (80) were shown red cards in the closing minutes.
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