Portugal were the top scorers in qualifying with 21 goals yet Hungary and Austria are previous semi-finalists and Israel's defensive fortitude gives them belief.
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Semi-finalists on their sole previous finals appearance back in 2008, some encouraging friendly results so far this year have raised home optimism of a repeat performance this time round. In charge since 2012, coach Géza Mészöly has the pedigree to succeed; he is the son of the great Hungarian defender of the 1960s, Kálmán Mészöly.
Best performance: semi-finals 2008
Key players: Krisztián Tamás (defender, AC Milan), Zsolt Kalmár (midfielder, Győri ETO FC), Gergely Bobál (forward, Budapest Honvéd FC)
Géza Mészöly, coach: "We have a good attitude. We are able to turn matches around from losing situations and even in the last minutes we want to score goals so hopefully we can entertain the Hungarian fans."
Semi-finalists in 2003 and 2006 – when they lost 5-0 to a Spain team including Gerard Piqué and Juan Mata – Austria have not featured since 2010 but took seven points from their three elite round qualifiers to win Group 6. Having been in charge four years ago, when his side qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, coach Andreas Heraf will know what is needed for a repeat performance.
Best performance: semi-finals 2003, 2006
Key players: Sascha Horvath (midfielder, FK Austria Wien), Florian Grillitsch (midfielder, SV Werder Bremen), Synan Bytyqi (forward, Manchester City FC), Ivan Lucic (goalkeeper, SV Ried)
Andreas Heraf, coach: "We live off our organisation, team spirit and the good finishing qualities of our attack. In terms of footballing qualities there are probably some teams who are superior to us, but we absolutely deserve to be at the finals."
The perennial contenders won all six of their qualifying fixtures, their 21 goals making them the top scorers overall with André Silva providing six of them. In the finals for the third year running, Portugal lost out to Serbia in the semi-finals 12 months ago but an attacking lineup will seek to build on that disappointment in Hungary.
Best performance: runners-up 2003
Key players: Tiago Sá (goalkeeper, SC Braga), Tomás Podstawski (midfielder, FC Porto), Marcos Lopes (midfielder, Manchester City FC), André Silva (forward, FC Porto)
Hélio Sousa, coach: "Our last qualifier against Belgium was a turning point in becoming a great team. We were losing 2-0 and turned it around. Coming back from that scoreline was a big step. We are getting there but we still have room to improve."
The sole debutants in the eight-team finals field, Israel kept clean sheets in five of their six qualifiers and won all three elite round games, defeating Cyprus, Switzerland and Georgia to make the finals. Eli Ohana has been in charge since 2008 and described qualification as "my biggest achievement".
Best performance: first finals
Key players: Ramzi Safuri (forward, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC), Michael Ohana (forward, FC Ashdod), Eden Shamir (midfielder, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC), Sagiv Jehezkel (forward, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC)
Eli Ohana, coach: "This means a lot to Israeli football because we don't have so many achievements, so every time we have some success it's a big excitement. But because we did so well in qualifying, we have gained a lot of confidence so we can do it – why not? If we win the first match, maybe we can spring a big surprise."