In 2012, the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament involved only three of the eight countries who had qualified the previous year. This summer's showpiece went a step further by featuring none of the 2012 finalists. Former winners including England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain were conspicuous by their absence, as were the Netherlands, who had triumphed two years running.
The significance of their absence was twofold in that the final tournament served to determine Europe's representatives at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in October and November. The top three in each section earned places, with the honours going to Austria, Croatia, Italy, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden.
The 2013 final tournament was staged by Slovakia for the first time from Sunday 5 to Friday 17 May. The 12 group matches were played at four venues in two centres. Group A fixtures were held in Zilina and Dubnica nad Vahom, while Nitra and Zlate Moravce provided the venues for Group B games. With travel distances as much as 220km between venues, teams from both groups had limited contact.
Stadium capacities ranged from 3,300 to 10,831 at the MŠK Žilina Stadium; the venue for the final and both semi-finals. Kick-off times ranged from 14.30 to 19.30CET and temperatures were not a conditioning factor. The 4,312 spectators who watched the final between Italy and Russia brought the total attendance figure for the finals to 43,757, while the hosts' second fixture against Switzerland yielded a tournament-high crowd of 8,327. Nine of the 15 matches, including both semi-finals and the final, were screened on a pan-European basis by Eurosport.
Six referees and eight assistant referees from non-participating countries gained their first experience of a UEFA finals, along with two Slovakian referees who acted as fourth officials. As has become the custom in recent years, the tournament agenda featured educational briefings on doping controls and the dangers of match-fixing aimed at players who were, in the main, enjoying their first international competition.