Croatia and Switzerland became the first sides to book their places in the 2009/10 UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite round, finishing first and second respectively in Group 4 in considerable style.
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Croatia and Switzerland became the first sides to book their places in the 2009/10 UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite round, finishing first and second respectively in quyalifying round Group 4 in considerable style.
Switzerland reached last season's final tournament in Ukraine and started this season's competition in imperious form, Xherdan Shaqiri scoring twice in the 5-0 win against mini-tournament hosts Lithuania with which Martin Trümpler's team opened the section. Marco Aratore, Admir Mehmedi and substitute Dragan Mihajlovic as Lithuania were unable to stem the Swiss flow following the 73rd-minute dismissal of Karolis Atutis. Croatia were also quickly into their stride against Estonia, a Franko Adrijašević penalty and Anton Maglica giving them a two-goal lead before 18 minutes had elapsed at the Suduva Stadium in Marijampole, Mato Ivanovic adding a third midway through the second period.
The Matchday 1 victors made sure of progress with contrasting wins in the second round of games, Switzerland recording a second straight 5-0 success against Estonia thanks to Steven Zuber's double and further goals from Alexandre Pasche, Mehmedi and Shaqiri. Croatia, however, had to recover from Ronald Solomin's 26th-minute opener to end home hopes, Franko Adrijašević levelling 16 minutes from time and Mato Ivanovic completing the turnaround with ten minutes left.
First place secured
Croatia ensured they would go into the Elite round draw as group winners by edging out the Swiss through Anton Maglica's 33rd-minute effort on Matchday 3, when Lithuania recorded a 2-1 consolation win against Estonia in Marijampole. Strikes from Deividas Lukošius and Brunas Biskys put Mindaugas Neoras's charges in command, although they had to survive a tense finale following Sten Teino's 83rd-minute response.