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.
Finland and Malta started their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaigns with a goalless draw in Valkeakoski.
In a Group 2 match where the visitors afforded their opponents precious little space, particularly in defence, Teemu Pukki was first to threaten for Finland with a shot from distance which narrowly cleared the crossbar.
The only save of note from either goalkeeper arrived with 20 minutes remaining when Malta's Steve Sultana kept out Petteri Forsell's fierce effort, although Lauri Dalla Valle then headed wide from Forsell's corner.
Malta visit Lithuania on Tuesday while Finland are not next in action until 10 August, when they welcome Slovenia.
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|Mika Laurikainen (FIN)||Raymond Farrugia (MLT)|
|Sergei Tsinkevich (BLR)|
|Dmitri Zhuk (BLR), Vitali Malyutin (BLR)|
|Valeri Velichko (BLR)|