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.
Poland kept their qualification campaign on course with their second Group 6 victory thanks to a dramatic added-time winner by Arkadiusz Wozniak.
The visitors thought they had earned a point when Armando Sadiku struck in the last minute to level the match at 3-3 – moments after Kamil Drygas had been sent off for the hosts – but Wozniak then went and stole all three points with an even later goal. In the final throes of the match Albania captain Arsen Sykaj was also given his marching orders.
The result was hard on Artan Bushati's side who battled back gamely after falling behind to Grzegorz Krychowiak's penalty (34) and even further adrift when Mateusz Klich scored (54). Sadiku pulled one back within a minute of that goal but on 64 minutes Poland looked to have made the match safe through Hannover 96 striker Artur Sobiech (64).
However, Albania, who had won their last Group 6 match 4-3 against Moldova with the help of two Sadiku goals, then staged a stirring comeback with strikes by Bekim Bala (81) and Sadiku's fourth goal of the campaign (90). Yet it proved in vain when Wozniak delivered the sucker punch by converting Miłosz Przybecki's cross at the death.
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|Stefan Majewski (POL)||Artan Bushati (ALB)|
|Padraig Sutton (IRL)|
|Kenneth Hennessy (IRL), Allen Lynch (IRL)|
|Graham Kelly (IRL)|