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.
A first-half hat-trick from Steven Zuber inspired Switzerland to a stylish win against Georgia in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 5.
Georgia simply could not handle the Grasshopper-Club forward, while keeping him at what seemed a safe distance from goal proved equally futile, as he demonstrated with two stunning strikes from outside the penalty area. Nassim Ben Khalifa was also on target for the 2011 runners-up before the break, with Raphael Koch rounding off the scoring just after the hour.
Zuber's first goal, in the eighth minute, was unspectacular in comparison to his later efforts, the 20-year-old keeping his composure to slide the ball past goalkeeper Giorgi Makaridze after Haris Seferovic's pass had bisected the Georgia defence. He was then involved in setting up the second for Ben Khalifa, who profited from Zuber's quick thinking from a short corner to thread the ball thorough Makaridze's legs.
Zuber then began his masterclass with an unstoppable dipping volley, before Seferovic, not wanting to be outdone by his team-mate, unleashed a 25-metre effort which cannoned back off the crossbar. Zuber completed his treble with the pick of the bunch three minutes before half-time, tricking his way past Ivane Kandelaki on the left before wrapping his right foot around the ball to curl a cross-cum-shot into the far corner of Makaridze's goal.
Seferovic missed two one-on-one chances early in the second half but turned provider for Koch to head in the fifth after 64th minutes. Switzerland face Spain, who they lost to in this summer's final in Denmark, on Monday in a top-of-the-table encounter. Georgia, whose next qualifier is in June, are third, seven points behind today's hosts.
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