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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.
Ciro Immobile scored in the stadium where he enjoyed so much success last season as Italy eked out a narrow lead from the first leg of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off against Sweden.
The striker, who joined Genoa CFC this summer after firing Pescara Calcio into Serie A with 28 league goals, broke the deadlock in the 17th minute at the Stadio Adriatico. The Azzurrini wasted good chances to forge a bigger lead ahead of Tuesday's return in Kalmar, but Sweden also had their share of opportunities.
Giuseppe De Luca had the first chance of the game after a pass from Alessandro Florenzi, but his initial attempt was blocked by Tom Pettersson's timely tackle. His second, after falling to the ground, was well saved by Karl-Johan Johnsson.
When the Sweden goalkeeper could only parry a dangerous free-kick from Lorenzo Insigne after the quarter-hour, Immobile was first to the rebound with a left-footed finish into the roof of the net. Sweden's response was swift, Florenzi clearing a Pettersson header off the goal line.
Italy went close to doubling their lead in similar fashion when Marco Capuano's downward header just cleared the crossbar after bouncing in front of Johnsson. Luca Marrone's volley then whistled wide of the upright following a clever knockdown by De Luca.
Both sides continued to fashion opportunities, with Mikael Ishak, twice, Immobile and Insigne all threatening before half-time. Immobile and Insigne were again to the fore after the break, the former shooting wide with just the goalkeeper to beat to leave the tie finely poised.
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|Devis Mangia (ITA)||Hakan Ericson (SWE)|
|Artur Soares (POR)|
|Rui Tavares (POR), Antonio Godinho (POR)|
|Hugo Miguel (POR)|