The UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee's first vice-chairman Jim Boyce has long been an advocate of perhaps the least known of UEFA's competitions, telling UEFA.com: "The Regions' Cup has been a tremendous innovation by UEFA. It is for players who never dreamt they would have the opportunity of playing in a European competition – it's like their World Cup."
A total of 39 sides competed in the qualifying phase of the seventh UEFA Regions' Cup, which features only amateur players, with Portuguese side Braga – losing finalists in 2001 - chosen to host the finals having come through the intermediary round. Ankara were the only side to battle through from the preliminary sections to the final tournament, making Turkey the 25th nation to be represented at the finals.
Elsewhere, Germany's Württemberg secured a mighty 14-1 win against Fthodia of Greece which included an eight-minute Julian Schwarz hat-trick, while Belgrade won their qualifying group by the drawing of lots after they finished Group 5 with exactly the same record as hosts SW Bulgaria.
Six goals made South Region Russia's Sergei Lednev the top scorer in qualifying while Ukraine's Yednyst Plysky averaged five goals a game in their intermediary round and did not concede, giving them the best goal difference – an impressive +15.