Under-19 Group B preview

France and England have been cast as finals favourites by Croatia coach Ferdo Milin, with Netherlands coach Aron Winter eager to cause an upset in Group B.

Group B coaches: (l to r) Ferdo Milin (Croatia), Ludovic Batelli (France), Aron Winter (Netherlands) and Aidy Boothroyd (England)
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12 July: Croatia v Netherlands (12:00, Ulm); France v England (19:30, Heidenheim)

15 July: Netherlands v England (12:00, Ulm), Croatia v France (19:30, Aalen)

18 July: England v Croatia (12:00, Heidenheim), Netherlands v France (12:00, Aalen)

Best performance: semi-finals 2010
Qualifying round: Montenegro 3-1, Kazakhstan 1-0, Hungary 1-1 (Group 2 winners)
Elite round: Bulgaria 1-0, Scotland 3-0, Belgium 4-0 (Group 5 winners)
Top scorer: Josip Brekalo 3

Croatia coach Ferdo Milin – whose side did not concede a goal in the elite round – described his side's preparation for the finals as "ideal" and cannot wait for Tuesday's Group B opener against the Netherlands. "We obviously have some ideas as to how to stop them," he said. "But a lot can happen – both positive and negative – in one game. It will depend on how we react to the unpredictable." Milin is eyeing a semi-final spot, and sees Group B rivals France and England as tournament favourites.

Best performance: runners-up 2005, 2009
Qualifying round: FYR Macedonia 2-0, Finland 1-0, Italy 0-0 (Group 4 winners)
Elite round: Georgia 2-1, Greece 1-1, Spain 2-0 (Group 1 winners)
Top scorer: Adam Armstrong 3

England coach Aidy Boothroyd has warned his charges of the threat posed by a talented French outfit ahead of the sides' meeting at the Albstadion in Heidenheim on Tuesday. "France are a very good team, a counter-attacking team," he said, adding of his side: "The group has settled in really well. We've worked all season to get to this point and now it's about making sure that we make the most of our opportunity."

Best performance: winners 2005, 2010
Qualifying round: Liechtenstein 3-1, Gibraltar 9-0, Netherlands 1-1 (Group 10 winners)
Elite round: Montenegro 1-0, Denmark 4-0, Serbia 1-0 (Group 7 winners)
Top scorers: Jean-Kévin Augustin 5

France coach Ludovic Batelli is aware that a positive result against England could prove crucial to his side's hopes of qualifying from a tough Group B and being in contention to lift the trophy. "We want to dominate England right from the start and win the game," he said. "Then we can take real energy into the rest of the tournament."

Best performance: group stage 2010, 2013, 2015
Qualifying round: Gibraltar 9-0, Liechtenstein 2-0, France 1-1 (Group 10 runners-up)
Elite round: Ukraine 3-2, Northern Ireland 1-0, Poland 0-0 (Group 4 winners)
Top scorers: Sam Lammers 4

Netherlands coach Aron Winter has set his side the aim of winning Group B and then the tournament ahead of the Jong Oranje's Tuesday lunchtime meeting with Croatia in Ulm. "Our target is always to play our own game and to finish first in the group," said Winter. "We're very excited and we are well prepared for the team to get some good results because we're coming here to the tournament to achieve our target: lifting the trophy."

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