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Coming up on day one at the U17 finals in Bulgaria

The hosts are ready for their finals debut, Spain make a long-awaited return and Belgium face a "big challenge" when they play Germany – our guide to day one in Bulgaria.

The Group A coaches pose with the UEFA European Under-17 Championship trophy
The Group A coaches pose with the UEFA European Under-17 Championship trophy ©Sportsfile


Group A

Spain v Austria (14.00CET, Burgas)
• Two-time champions Spain are competing at their first U17 finals since finishing as runners-up to England in 2010. "After missing out for four years, getting here has clearly lifted a burden off the federation, the coaching staff and the players," explained coach Santi Denia. "The elite round and particularly the game against France taught us that, by putting in the hard work, we can get results."

• Austria midfielder Sandi Lovric, 17, has made six league appearances this season for SK Sturm Graz. Manfred Zsak – whose side qualified unbeaten, winning all but one of their matches – told UEFA.com: "Lovric is very important for us. He's our captain and is one step ahead of the rest in terms of physical and mental development."

Suspended: Jose Luis Vayá (Spain)

Bulgaria v Croatia (18.00, Stara Zagora)
• Bulgaria are the sole debutants in the field and, as hosts, have only had warm-up games to prepare for the finals. Still, coach Alexander Dimitrov believes "we are ready", adding: "I'm sure the crowd will get behind the boys. This is such a big occasion and I expect strong support from the stands."

• Croatia topped their elite round section with maximum points and no goals conceded. Coach Dario Bašic is hoping for a continuation of such form and stressed that his players "like it when the stadium is full. They are prepared for that kind of pressure and, if we play well, people will recognise that".

Suspended: Matej Hudećek (Croatia)

Group B

Czech Republic v Slovenia (15.00, Sliven)
• Four years after their last finals appearance, the Czechs are back, coach Václav Cerný saying: "We are really excited about the first game because we were extremely happy to qualify. All the players are looking forward to this match so they can show what they can do."

• In ACF Fiorentina's Jan Mlakar, Slovenia had the leading marksman in qualifying. "Jan is a very important player," said coach Igor Benedejčič. "He scored eight goals to get us here, so we expect a lot, but behind him are all of his team-mates." Of the Czechs, he added: "They are very organised and aggressive, but we hope to play well tomorrow and score first."

Belgium v Germany (18.00, Burgas)
• Belgium coach Bob Browaeys described playing Germany as a "big challenge" and was effusive in his praise of the 2009 champions. "They're a very strong team with a good playing philosophy, much like the seniors. They get results but also play positive football. I'm really looking forward to it and we'll try to do our best."

• Beaten by the Netherlands in the 2011 and 2012 finals, Germany will attempt to emulate England, the Dutch, Russia and Spain by winning a second U17 title. However, coach Christian Wück accepts it gets harder every year. "The work of the other nations is improving. Many countries look to Germany, in terms of what we do and how we work with young players, and so things are closer."

Suspended: Gökhan Gül (Germany)


Group C
Greece v Russia (15.00, Sozopol)
Scotland v France (16.00, Stara Zagora)

Group D
Republic of Ireland v Netherlands (12.00, Sozopol)
Italy v England (18.00, Burgas)

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