Debutants Malta will open their UEFA European U17 Championship campaign against England, with three former winners drawn in each section in Valletta on Wednesday.
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The UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament draw in Valletta threw up three former winners in each of the two groups.
Hosts Malta, automatic entrants into Group A, were paired with former champions England (2010), the Netherlands (2011 and 2012) and Turkey (2005). Group B, meanwhile, involves Scotland – in the U17 finals for only the second time – and three other countries who have previously lifted the trophy: Germany (2009), Switzerland (2002) and Portugal (2003). The draw was conducted by tournament ambassadors David Carabott and Fr Hilary Tagliaferro, as well as UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee chairman Jim Boyce.
Group A: Malta (hosts), England, Netherlands, Turkey
Group B: Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, Portugal
Malta – making their first ever appearance in a UEFA final tournament – will start against England, back at this stage for the first time since 2011. Also in their section will be the Netherlands, who won successive titles under former coach Albert Stuivenberg in 2011 and 2012. The Jong Oranje also reached the 2005 final, where they lost to Turkey, whom they will once more face this year.
Switzerland, the only team remaining from last year's final round in Slovakia, take on neighbours Germany, who have a rich history at this level, winning the U16 version in 1984 and 1992, as well as the U17 crown five years ago. Portugal and Scotland make up the rest of the pool.
The group stage games 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.