Women's U17 finals lineup complete

Best runners-up Serbia will join six elite-round group winners including Germany, holders Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway and England plus hosts Belarus in May's finals.

Holders Spain stormed into the finals
Holders Spain stormed into the finals ©Jonathan Porter / Press eye

The eight teams in the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals have been confirmed, with hosts Belarus joined by the six elite round winners including Germany, holders Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway and England as well as best runners-up Serbia.

Denmark, second behind Spain in Group 2, looked set to be the runners-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their section, but Serbia beat Iceland 5-1 in the last Group 6 match on Tuesday to snatch that berth on goals scored.

Qualifiers
Group 1:
Germany
Group 2:
Spain (holders)
Group 3:
Czech Republic
Group 4:
Italy
Group 5:
Norway
Group 6:
England, Serbia (best runners-up)
Hosts: Belarus

Calendar
Draw: 11.30CET, 6 April
Group stage: 4, 7 & 10 May
Semi-finals: 13 May
Final & FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup play-off: 16 May

• The top three finishers at the tournament (the finalists and the winner of the play-off between the beaten semi-finalists) will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan from 30 September to 21 October 2016.

©Getty Images

Elite round summary
Group 1: Germany
Germany's reign as champions was ended in last season's semi-finals by Switzerland, but they had their revenge with an opening 2-0 win before beating Russia 3-0 and hosts Austria 4-1 to top the group.

  • Key player: Anna-Lena Stolze (Germany, forward)

The 15-year-old Wolfsburg prospect showed pace and clinical finishing with a hat-trick in the decider against Austria.

©Jonathan Porter / Press eye

Group 2: Spain (holders)
Spain plundered 19 goals and conceded just one in the qualifying round and the reigning champions kept up their form in Northern Ireland, seeing off Ukraine 4-0, the hosts 5-0 and Denmark 2-0. Denmark, who had gone into the final day on maximum points, appeared on course to qualify as best runners-up until Serbia pipped them.

  • Key player: Lorena Navarro (Spain, forward)

Navarro will enter the 2016 finals as qualifying's joint-top scorer – the Madrid CFF player is carrying on from where she left off in last summer's tournament in Iceland, having scored in the final as a 14-year-old on what was her fourth substitute appearance.

©David Catry

Group 3: Czech Republic
Approaching the last day, the Czech Republic and hosts France led the Republic of Ireland by one point with all to play for. Ireland promptly defeated France 1-0, a result that allowed the Czechs to advance with a 2-0 victory over Hungary thanks to goals from Markéta Klímová and Andrea Staško

  • Key players: Kamila & Michaela Dubcová (Czech Republic, defenders)

The twins were crucial to the Czechs' progress

Group 4: Italy
Hosts Italy seemed in command of this section with a day to go, holding a three-point advantage over the Netherlands, whom they had beaten 2-0, and Finland. However, Italy fell behind twice against Finland but each time replied for a 2-2 draw that kept them a point clear of the Dutch, who defeated Greece 2-0.

  • Key player: Arianna Caruso (Italy, midfielder)

Caruso was the lungs of the Italy team, chasing the ball incessantly and providing the link between defence and attack, facilitating their quick counterattacking play. She raised her game when it mattered most against Finland, inspiring her side to recover twice with a goal and an assist.

Group 5: Norway
Norway delighted the home fans as they thrashed Scotland 6-0, Poland 4-0 and Sweden 6-0 to confirm their free-scoring form from the qualifying round, where they had amassed 23 goals in three outings.

  • Key player: Sophie Haug (Norway, midfielder)

Captain Haug spearheaded Norway's prolific front line with support from winger Elise Isolde Stenevik and striker Andrea Norheim, rumoured to be on Lyon's radar.

Group 6: England, Serbia
England had clinched qualification after two days, having scalped hosts Serbia 3-1 and Iceland 5-0, capping their success by seeing off Belgium 2-0. But in the last pool to finish, all the focus was on the second-place decider between Serbia and Iceland. While Iceland needed to win by seven to pip Denmark as best runner-up, Serbia required a four-goal margin. A brilliant Allegra Poljak hat-trick helped put the Serbs four up by 53 minutes and Teodora Burkert extended the lead. Although Agla Maria Albertsdottir pulled one back, the 5-1 triumph was enough for Serbia.

  • Key player: Niamh Charles (England, forward)

England are blessed with talent, Anna Filbey's long-range goal against Serbia proof of that, yet Liverpool's Charles stood out with her tremendous display against Iceland.

Key facts
• Germany have now qualified for eight of the nine final tournaments and will aim for their fifth title.

• Spain have won three of the four editions when Germany did not prevail, including last year in Iceland; 2013 champions Poland have not qualified.

• Germany, Spain and England have now made all three tournaments since the championship's expansion from four to eight teams in 2013/14; Norway also competed in the 2014/15 finals in Iceland.

• The Czech Republic, who host next season's tournament, have reached their first women's finals at any level. Serbia and Belarus are also making their Women's U17 finals debuts.

• Season top scorers: Lorena Navarro (Spain), Alessia Russio (England), Georgia Stanway (England) 9

• Elite round top scorers: Sophie Haug (Norway), Allegra Poljak (Serbia) 4

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