Swiss, Germany, England complete U17 finals cast
Monday, March 31, 2014
The Netherlands, Scotland, Turkey, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and England will join Malta in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals draw on 9 April.
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The lineup for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament in Malta is complete after last Monday's games brought the qualifying action to a dramatic close in the elite round and ended the hopes of holders Russia. The eight sides through to the finals will now fix their attention on the 9 April draw at Valletta's St James Cavalier which will be streamed live on UEFA.com from 19.00CET.
Qualifiers: Malta (hosts), Switzerland (Group 1), Turkey (Group 2), Netherlands (Group 3), England (Group 4), Germany (Group 5), Scotland (Group 6), Portugal (Group 7)
Winners in 2011 and 2012, the Netherlands were first to qualify after seeing off France 3-1 on home soil in Uden. Scotland reached their first championship for six years with a game to spare at home in Group 6, something another mini-tournament host Portugal managed in Group 7.
Turkey made a bit of history in Group 2 as they beat Poland on penalties for Group 2 first place in Greece after a final-day draw with both teams dead level. The last three spots were decided on Monday: Switzerland scored a late winner against Spain to pip both them and holders Russia in Group 1; Germany held Group 5 hosts Serbia to progress on goal difference; and England downed Italy to achieve maximum points in Group 4.
In the draw, to be made by UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee chairman Jim Boyce and tournament ambassadors Fr Hilary Tagliaferro and David Carabott, Malta – hosting and taking part in their first final tournament at any level – will be classified as team one in Group A and the other seven countries will be picked out without further seeding. The order of the sides drawn will be B1, A2, B2, A3, B3, A4 and B4.
The group stage matches will be disputed on 9, 12 and 15 May at the Ta' Qali National Stadium, Paolo's Hibernians Stadium and Gozo Stadium. The top two from each section advance to the semi-finals on 18 May in Ta' Qali, where the decider will also be held three days later. This will be the last eight-team final tournament before the expansion to a 16-nation event in Bulgaria next season.