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Belgium first to Under-17 finals

Belgium are the first team to book their place in the 16-team finals alongside hosts Bulgaria after topping elite round Group 3 ahead of hosts the Netherlands.

Belgium celebrate reaching the finals
Belgium celebrate reaching the finals ©KBVB/URBSFA

Belgium are the first team to book their place alongside hosts Bulgaria in May's expanded 16-strong UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals after topping elite round Group 3 ahead of hosts the Netherlands.

Both teams ended unbeaten, with the Netherlands two points adrift after a closing 0-0 draw. The 2014 beaten finalists must wait to see if they qualify as one of the seven runners-up across the eight groups with the best record against the teams first and third in the sections.

FULL RESULTS/STANDINGS

Winners: Belgium – secured qualification after flawless victories over Northern Ireland and Georgia (both 4-0) and another clean sheet against the Netherlands (0-0).

Other performances: Netherlands grabbed the second place, unbeaten and with a solid defence. Georgia bounced back after two defeats, surpassing Northern Ireland on the table after beating them 4-2.

Key moment: Excellent saves by the Belgium and Netherlands goalkeepers pushed their decisive final encounter into a 0-0 draw.

Star performer: Dennis Van Vaerenbergh scoring three goals for Belgium.

Reaction:
Netherlands coach Maarten Stekelenburg

We started the [Belgium] match poorly, and we could have conceded an early goal. The second half was better from our side, and we dominated facets of the game; but we should still consider ourselves very lucky that Belgium didn't score, because they had several chances. I think the points we collected in the group will be enough to qualify, so we are happy about that, but there's definitely still room for improvement.