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Israel and Denmark march on into elite round

"This is the kind of day when you enjoy what you do," was the analysis of Israel coach Eliahu Ohana after his side and Group 10 runners-up Denmark qualified for the elite round.

Israel celebrate their opener against Liechtenstein
Israel celebrate their opener against Liechtenstein ©Oded Karni, IFA

Israel and Denmark will compete in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round after occupying the top two spots in qualifying round Group 10, with third-placed Italy facing a wait to discover whether they too will progress.

Denmark went into Sunday's last round of action in Israel at the head of the class but had to settle for a runners-up finish after suffering a 2-0 loss to Italy. That was not enough to ensure an elite round berth for Alessandro Pane's charges, though, as Israel overcame Liechtenstein 9-0 in their final assignment. With the leading trio all locked on six points, Italy came in third based on goals scored in games between them – meaning they must wait to learn if they will go through as the third-placed team with the best record against the front pair in their group.

Section winners Israel made sure of pole position with a blistering display in their concluding outing, Dor Hugy and substitute Avishay Cohen both striking twice in the win against Liechtenstein. It was the perfect response to their 3-1 defeat by Denmark on matchday two, the hosts having kicked off by downing Italy 2-0, Michael Ohana hitting a double. "The first game against Italy was the key to our success," said coach Eliahu Ohana. "This is the kind of day when you enjoy what you do. With a good draw and some luck, we can even reach the finals."

As for Denmark, they missed the chance to end with a perfect record as they succumbed to the Italians. Hopes were high after the Scandinavian hopefuls followed up a 2-0 success against Liechtenstein by cruising to a 3-1 victory over Israel – Johannes Ritter Plum opening the scoring, Emiliano Hansen adding to the lead and Andrew Hjulsager's penalty making the game safe, before a consolation goal for substitute Eden Shamir. Italy proved too strong, however, Luca Crecco and Andrea Petagna on target for the side who swept aside Liechtenstein 5-0 in their second outing.