The final available places in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship second qualifying round were taken by Group 3 winners Serbia and Montenegro and runners-up Germany - along with Moldova, for who a near four-week wait for a berth in the next stage has ended with good news.
Neither of the top two lost any of their three games in a group also containing hosts Slovenia and Latvia. Slovenia finished just behind, but their record in third place, like ten other teams, was inferior to Moldova's in Group 2. Boris Tropanet's side, whose first-stage campaign ended on 1 October with a 3-2 defeat by bottom team Switzerland, finished with an identical record against the first two teams in the section as Wales managed in Group 1 but edged through on UEFA Fair play record to take the 28th and final place in the seven second qualifying round pools - the first time they have progressed through a round in this competition.
Group 3 began with Serbia and Montenegro defeating Latvia 2-0 in Kidricevo. Borko Veselinovic opened the scoring late in the first half, and although he was sent off on 79 minutes after a second booking, Marko Markovski doubled their lead five minutes from time. Later that day in Celje, Germany overcame Slovenia 3-0. The hosts had Gregor Triplat sent off for a second yellow card on 38 minutes, and not long after Markus Steinhöfer put Germany ahead. Mustafa Kukukovic scored on 50 and 85 minutes to take Germany into an early group lead.
However, it was Serbia and Montenegro who were to take over first place two days later and secure their progress with a agme to spare after they beat Slovenia 4-2 and Germany found themselves held 1-1 in Kidricevo by Latvia. Valter Birsa scored for Slovenia after just five minutes in Velenje, but Markovski equalised within 12 minutes and late in the half Nebojša Marinkovic put Serbia and Montenegro in front. Jan Pahor levelled seven minutes after the break, but Markovski struck again on the hour and Marinkovic struck again nine minutes from time. Germany, meanwhile, saw Stephan Schröck's 55th-minute goal cancelled out by Latvia's Sergejs Misins just four minutes later.
Still, Germany needed just a point in their closing game against Serbia and Montenegro in Velenje to be sure of qualification, and although Ulrich Stielike's team fell behind to a 19th-minute Veselinovic goal, Eugen Polanski converted a penalty five minutes before half-time to secure a 1-1 draw. Slovenia ended their campaign with a 2-1 win against Latvia in Maribor to ensure third place, although they knew at kick-off that they would not be able to better Moldova's record.
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