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.
Bulgaria registered their first Group 10 victory after an entertaining home win against Luxembourg.
First-half goals by Momchil Tsvetanov and Tomi Kostadinov either side of Laurent Jans's equaliser put the hosts in charge before the interval, while Georgi Milanov extended the lead early in the second half. Though Massimo Martino struck in added-time his goal came too late to give Mihail Madanski's side excessive cause for concern, although goalkeeper Plamen Iliev was piqued enough to get sent off for kicking out in anger at an opponent.
In an open match, the home side deservedly took the lead midway thtough the first half when Tsvetanov latched on to Drenovichki's pass before scoring with an accurate shot from 15 metres. Bulgaria continued to dominate the match but conceded an equaliser on 38 minutes when Iliev fumbled the ball into the path of Jans, who had the simplest of tasks to level terms.
It only took a minute for the home side to reclaim the lead, however, Kostadinov making it 2-1 from the penalty spot. Bulgaria continued to push on after the break and were soon rewarded with their third goal, after Milanov Ilia picked out an unmarked Milanov who connected with his inviting cross from close range.
As Luxembourg threw caution to the wind late on, Martino briefly set Bulgarian hearts aflutter when he was quickest to a loose ball which he fired past Iliev. And though the home goalkeeper then lost his head, Bulgaria, who lie fourth in the section, ensured they did not lose the game.
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|Aian Sadakov (BUL)||Reinhold Breu (GER)|
|Levan Kvaratskhelia (GEO)|
|Mamuka Elikashvili (GEO), Guram Chigogidze (GEO)|
|Georgi Vadachkoria (GEO)|