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.
Rodrigo took his tally to seven goals in four UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers with a first-half hat-trick as Spain made light work of Estonia.
The SL Benfica striker was well on the way to his second Group 5 treble with two goals in the first seven minutes, his second a header from Martín Montoya's delivery. His third arrived 60 seconds before the break when he finished off a swift counterattack led by Pablo Sarabia.
Isco increased the lead on 59 minutes with a shot from outside the penalty area and at that point it seemed the seven goals the holders scored against Georgia in September were in danger of being eclipsed. However, it was not until added time that Luis Milla's team added to their lot, the impressive Sarabia crossing for Alvaro Vázquez before rounding off the scoring himself from 25 metres.
Spain lead the way in the group with a perfect 12 points, two clear of Switzerland, their opponents on Monday in what is a rematch of this summer's final in Denmark.
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