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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.
Two Henri Lansbury goals set England on their way to a welcome UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying win against Belgium in Middlesbrough.
After Belgium won 2-1 in the reverse fixture last November, a repeat result would have moved them just a point behind their opponents at the top of Group 8, yet they were trailing within nine minutes to Lansbury's speculative effort from distance. Steven Caulker's 36th-minute header doubled the lead, and Lansbury made sure of the points soon after the break. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a fourth from the penalty spot in added time.
With regular England U21 coach Stuart Pearce taking charge of the senior side, Brian Eastick took the reins but the transition was smooth, helped by Lansbury's early contribution. The midfielder launched the ball goalwards from the left touchline, and Koen Casteels could only watch as it sailed over his head into the top corner.
The goalkeeper was beaten again just past the half-hour. Once more Lansbury was involved, Craig Dawson heading his right-wing corner back for Caulker to nod in from close range. Belgium, also under temporary management with Jean-François Remy in charge, might have pulled one back only for Christian Benteke to head Ziguy Badibanga's cross past the post. Any lingering hopes of a comeback were killed off eight minutes after half-time, Lansbury turning in debutant Wilfried Zaha's low cutback.
Although Nill De Pauw and Jens Naessens were denied by Jack Butland and Lamisha Musonda had an effort cleared off the line, Oxlade-Chamberlain made it four having being brought down by Dedryck Boyata. England next play Azerbaijan on 6 September while Belgium take on third-placed Norway in June.
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