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Germany and Switzerland keep up title bids

Germany and Switzerland confirmed their respective European and world title-winning prowess from their Under-17 days by moving through from qualifying round Group 4.

Germany celebrate en route to winning Group 13
Germany celebrate en route to winning Group 13 ©Getty Images

Hosts Germany and neighbours Switzerland moved through from UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying Group 4 at the expense of Northern Ireland and Andorra.

Hosts Germany never looked back from an opening 10-0 defeat of Andorra and after beating Northern Ireland 2-1 drew 2-2 with Switzerland. Northern Ireland overcame Andorra 2-1 in their last game but Switzerland's draw left them a point ahead in second and they too are in the elite round.

Germany fielded much of the squad that won the 2009 European U17 title on home soil. It was one of the players who did not take part in that championship, Kevin Volland, who starred on Matchday 1 with four goals against Andorra – who could have taken a 26th-minute lead had Cristopher Pousa not missed a penalty.

Two days later they faced a Northern Ireland team fresh from holding Switzerland 0-0 and it looked like another draw when Liam McAlinden equalised with three minutes left. However 2009 U17 veteran Shkodran Mustafi won it for Germany deep in added time.

In the last game, with a place in the 30 November draw sealed, Germany coach Ralf Minge took the chance to make changes but they still held Switzerland thanks to two equalisers from Elias Kachunga, making his first appearance in UEFA competition. "We put on a good performance, despite trailing twice," Minge said. "I was pleased with the way the team reacted when they were behind. Considering the number of changes especially, it was a good game."

Switzerland, whose squad was largely familiar from the lineup that won last year's FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, had been frustrated by Northern Ireland in their first game. They duly scored six without reply against Andorra two days later, Haris Seferović – who scored the winning goal in the 2009 World Cup final – claiming two.

Although they only needed a point against Germany, Switzerland went out to win and although Granit Xhaka's early low shot was cancelled out by Kachunga's tap-in, Ricardo Rodriguez converted a 35th-minute penalty. They had to settle for second place after Seferović was denied by a fine Bernd Leno save and Kachunga equalised, but Switzerland coach Claude Ryf said: "I am very pleased, since we did not make the perfect start to the group. Since there are only three games, you may not allow yourself any slips."

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