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.
Russia are back in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals for the first time since 1998, but came too close to a shock exit for comfort in Yekaterinburg.
Having scored both of Russia's goals in the first leg, Fedor Smolov converted a sixth-minute penalty, but the Czechs rallied. Tomáš Wágner levelled the scores on 12 minutes, and when he made it 2-1 on the day just after the hour mark, Jakub Dovalil's side were within one strike of making it to the finals on away goals. However, the dismissal of Tomáš Kalas shifted the balance, and Yuri Kirillov struck back for Russia before Václav Kadlec's late dismissal torpedoed the visitors' dwindling chances.
Kalas's foul on Maksim Kanunnikov set the scene for FC Anji Makhachkala forward Smolov to score his second penalty of the tie, but Martin Pospíšil's cross invited Wágner to fire calmly into the net through the legs of Nikolai Zabolotni. The Russia goalkeeper produced a fine save to deny Ladislav Krejčí as the home side gug in to preserve their aggregate lead, and Kadlec then missed the target after an impressive run took him past three defenders.
Russia regained some of their spirit of adventure after half-time, but went behind on 64 minutes when, following a corner, Ondřej Vaněk flicked on for Wágner to finish from close range. Kadlec had another decent effort saved soon afterwards, before Kalas was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The ten men hit the bar through substitute Stanislav Tecl before Kirillov found the far corner from the edge of the box on 83 minutes, with Kadlec seeing red four minutes later.
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|Dmitri Ulyanov (RUS)||Jakub Dovalil (CZE)|
|Antti Munukka (FIN)|
|Matti Heininen (FIN), Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)|
|Dennis Antamo (FIN)|