Poland and Sweden will reprise their UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final rivalry of June after the elite round draw was made today.
Their encounter in the last four-team showpiece in Nyon in June finished 1-0 to Poland, and now they will meet again in one of the six groups drawn as 24 nations aim to claim seven berths in the newly expanded final tournament in England later this year.
Joining Poland and Sweden in Group 4 are mini-tournament hosts Northern Ireland, who progressed from the qualifying round as best third-placed team, and three-time runners-up France, like former winners Germany and Spain given a bye to this stage.
Germany, who have won three of the six previous editions, missed the finals for the first time last season. As Group 6 hosts they are rematched with the country that eliminated them, Belgium, as well as another side from that 2012/13 group, the Netherlands. Switzerland complete the section, with all four teams among the 13 that reached at least one of the six Nyon tournaments.
Three others are in Group 1 – two-time champions Spain, the side they beat in the 2010 final, the Republic of Ireland, and Iceland. Romania will welcome those three nations in the first group to begin on 30 September, with Austria, Portugal and Hungary staging the other mini-tournaments.
All six groups will be completed by 20 October, with one of the four contenders in each to be appointed hosts. The six group winners plus the runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section will follow England into the finals, taking place from 26 November until 8 December.
This season's early staging of the event owes to the fact the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica will be held between 15 March and 5 April. The winter European finals act as the UEFA qualifier, with the top three sides in England earning World Cup berths.
Elite round draw
Group 1 (30 September-5 October): Spain, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Romania*
Group 2 (8-13 October): Austria*, Russia, Greece, Belarus
Group 3 (15-20 October): Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Portugal*
Group 4 (12-17 October): France, Sweden, Poland (holders), Northern Ireland*
Group 5 (2-7 October): Norway, Hungary*, Finland, Scotland
Group 6 (11-16 October): Germany*, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands
Bye to final tournament: England (hosts)
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