The 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship comprises a qualifying group stage and play-off round to determine which seven teams join hosts the Czech Republic 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 the Czech Republic, 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.
In the semi-finals the winner of Group A plays the Group B runner-up and vice-versa. The winners advance to the final. In addition, if England qualify for the semi-finals, a play-off will be needed to decide places for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.
The Czech Republic will stage the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship from 17 to 30 June 2015.
It is the first time the Czech Republic – championship winners in 2002 – will have staged the U21 finals, and the country's first national team event since the 2008 UEFA European U19 Championship. They were selected as final tournament hosts by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Istanbul on 20 March 2012.
The seven play-off winners will join the Czechs in the finals, with matches held in Prague, Olomouc and Uherske Hradiste. Pavel Nedvěd is the tournament ambassador.
The group stage draw was made in Prague on 6 November:
• Group A: Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Serbia
• Group B: England, Italy, Portugal, Sweden
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