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Turkey aim to oust Spain

Group 4 is the first elite round section to get under way with Turkey hosting Norway, Azerbaijan and four-time champions Spain to Eskisehir aiming to join France in the final tournament.

Turkey's U19 team will be looking to make the most of home advantage
Turkey's U19 team will be looking to make the most of home advantage ©TFF

NORWAY
A 2-1 win and 1-0 defeat in warm-up games against Slovakia have not dampened the optimism of coach Nils Johan Semb, who said: "The boys are full of confidence. In their last ten games, they have lost only once and won six. This is a talented bunch and I'm sure Norwegian fans will hear lots from these players in the years to come." Joshua King (Manchester United FC) and Abdissalam Ibrahim (Manchester City FC) have made their first-team bows this season, Semb adding: "This is not a typical Norwegian team. We always create lots of chances, but we seldom keep a clean sheet, and struggle to defend set pieces."

Qualifying round: Kazakhstan 2-0, Andorra 5-0, Belgium 4-2 (Group 11 winners)

Key players: Abdissalam Ibrahim (defensive midfielder, Manchester City FC), Lars Sætra (centre-back, Strømsgodset IF), Joshua King (striker, Manchester United FC)

TURKEY
Friendly defeats by England (3-1) and Italy (3-0) had lowered expectations, but Kemal Özdeş' team performed creditably on home soil in a three-team friendly tournament at the start of March, overcoming Serbia 3-2 and sharing four goals with Russia. "We are focusing on our own play and trying to learn about each player individually," said the newly appointed Özdeş, whose side will be built around Necip Uysal after the Beşiktaş JK anchorman earned his first senior cap in a friendly against Honduras last month. "It will be a pleasure to beat Spain and Norway," added Özdeş.

Qualifying round: Moldova 1-0, Luxembourg 1-1, Germany 2-1 (Group 3 winners)

Key players: Necip Uysal (midfielder, Beşiktaş JK), Emre Çolak (midfielder, Galatasaray AŞ), İsmail Haktan Odabaşı (forward, Bursaspor)

SPAIN
Having failed to get out of the group stage at the last two finals, the four-times champions will be eager to impress this time round having prepared with a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland in Belfast on 24 March, Francisco Román – otherwise known as Isco – scoring the only goal of a physical encounter. "That game proved very interesting as Northern Ireland played in a similar way to Norway and Turkey," said coach Luis Milla, who is without talented Real Racing Club midfielder Sergio Canales due to a thigh injury. Despite that setback Milla insisted: "We are a squad with a lot of quality in many areas."

Qualifying round: FYR Macedonia 5-1, Wales 1-0, Portugal 0-1 (Group 8 runners-up)

Key players: Marc Baltra (defender, FC Barcelona), Thiago Alcantara (midfielder, FC Barcelona), Dani Pacheco (forward, Liverpool FC), Rodrigo Moreno (forward, Real Madrid CF)

AZERBAIJAN
Bernhard Lippert's team made their final preparations in Italy, where they beat the Juventus Under-19 team 1-0 and defeated Olympique de Marseille on penalties before losing to Queens Park Rangers FC by the same method. Azerbaijan also played friendly matches against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (1-0) and Olbia Calcio (1-2), although it is matches against Juve, Marseille and QPR that have inspired the most confidence. "We succeeded in keeping three clean sheets against strong opponents," said Lippert. "I'm satisfied with our defensive line, but we still face problems in attack."

Qualifying round: Israel 3-0, Poland 2-1, Denmark 0-3 (Group 13 runners-up)

Key players: Tarlan Guliyev (defender, PFC Neftçi), Araz Abdullayev (midfielder, PFC Neftçi), Tural Isgandarov (striker, FK Qarabağ)