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Your guide to day two at #U17EURO

Groups C and D get under way on Thursday with England starting their title defence against Italy, while Vassilis Georgopoulos vows his side will play with "Greek soul".

The coaches in Group D shake hands at the tournament hotel in Pomorie
The coaches in Group D shake hands at the tournament hotel in Pomorie ©Sportsfile

Thursday

Group C

Greece v Russia (15.00CET, Sozopol)
• Greece, participating at their second U17 finals, have three goals. "Our aim is to enjoy the tournament," coach Vassilis Georgopoulos told UEFA.com. "Secondly, we want to play well. Finally, we want to show the European football family that our game is at a high level." Georgopoulos's side conceded only two goals in qualifying. "We play with soul, the Greek soul," he stressed.

• Russia have competed at this stage twice before – winning the competition both times. What chance of a hat-trick in Bulgaria? "We will give our best because we have a talented generation," said coach Mikhail Galaktionov. "Our target is to get out of the group and reach the [FIFA U-17] World Cup finals."

Suspended: Stathis Lamprou (Greece), Ivan Galanin (Russia)

Scotland v France (16.00, Stara Zagora)
• Scotland, semi-finalists 12 months ago in Malta, face a testing opener. "France will pose a big challenge – they're a top nation with proven pedigree," said manager Scot Gemmill. "They're a good team with a new crop of players, and for us it's a similar first game to last year against Portugal [a 2-0 defeat]. They're strong opposition but that's great – that's why we're here. It would be brilliant to do as well as last year, but all the teams will be taking it step by step."

• France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini is open-minded heading into the first 16-nation finals since 2002. "The standard in this competition is always a surprise," he said. "Last year England won it – they played to a very high level. Two years ago it was Russia – that was also something of a surprise. Every tournament is unique and more difficult than the last one." As for Scotland? "They play a British brand of football which is difficult to handle, but they also have some very skilful players."

Suspended: Lewis Morrison, Francis Ross, Iain Wilson (Scotland), Jean-Victor Makengo (France)

Group D
Republic of Ireland v Netherlands (12.00, Sozopol)
• Ireland manager Thomas Mohan says his players are in "great form and looking forward to" their encounter with the two-time winners and last season's runners-up. "Nothing's going to be easy, but it's great to be here – we're delighted the players have this platform to showcase their skills." Mohan is without the creative presence of Everton FC's Steven Kinsella (thigh) in what is arguably the toughest of the sections. "It's a blow," rued Mohan. "It would have been good to have him here because he has great attacking qualities."

• Maarten Stekelenburg is looking forward to seeing how his latest crop of youngsters fare, a year after the Netherlands' class of 2014 were edged out on penalties by England in the decider. "We reached the final last year, but this is a new group," he said. "I'm curious to see how this team does against some of the best in Europe."

Suspended: Corey O'Keeffe (Ireland)

Italy v England (18.00, Burgas)
• Italy begin their bid for a first U17 title against the holders, having lost 4-3 to England in a friendly in Burton last August. "It's a big tournament and we're in a group that is very hard," said coach Bruno Tedino. "I'm curious about how competitive we will be against such good teams and players." Tedino can call on the second-top scorer in qualifying, seven-goal AC Milan trainee Patrick Cutrone. "He's used to working with his team-mates and if they play [well] together he will probably score more goals."

• John Peacock, who guided England to glory in 2010 and 2014, knows the expansion to 16 countries makes the task of retaining the trophy "a little bit bigger and fierce". The aforementioned victory against the Azzurrini "won't have any bearing, that was some nine months ago, and things will have changed. At a European finals it's that little bit special and I'm sure it will be a real close game".

Suspended: Gianluca Scamacca (Italy)

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