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2023 Under-21 EURO qualifying group stage report: Italy, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland in finals

The groups are complete and 12 finalists are decided as well as the eight play-off contenders who will meet in September for the last four slots.

Italy qualified on the last day of the groups by beating Ireland
Italy qualified on the last day of the groups by beating Ireland Getty Images

The 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying group stage ends is complete with Belgium, England, France, holders Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain all topping their groups and Switzerland finishing as best runners-up to join the co-hosts in Georgia and Romania from 21 June to 8 July 2023.

In all, 14 slots were available in Georgia and Romania when qualifying began in March 2021, with four remaining after the end of the groups. They will be decided in September's play-offs, which will involve the eight group runners-up (other than Switzerland).

Qualifying summary

Qualified for final tournament: Belgium, England, France, Georgia (hosts), Germany (holders), Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania (hosts), Spain, Switzerland

Play-offs: Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Ukraine

  • Qualifying results
  • Final standings
  • The nine group winners and the best runner-up (not counting results against sixth-placed teams) qualify directly for the final tournament, joining Georgia and Romania.
  • The other eight runners-up will play off for the remaining four finals berths from 19 to 27 September.
  • Play-off draw: 21 June, 13:00 CET, Nyon
  • Finals draw: 18 October, 18:00 CET, Bucharest

Qualifying groups

Top five goals: 2021 U21 EURO
  • Germany's qualifying success means they will defend their title in Georgia and Romania after winning the first 16-team final tournament in Hungary and Slovenia in 2021.
  • England have qualified for their ninth straight final tournament.
  • Italy have increased their record by now having qualified 14 times since a final tournament was introduced in 1994; they have won a joint-best five titles with Spain.
  • Republic of Ireland have reached their first play-off and remain in contention to emulate Georgia in taking part in a debut final tournament.
  • Switzerland pipped Ukraine and Denmark on goal difference to finish as best runners-up.

Group A

Norway (qualified), Croatia (play-offs), Finland, Austria, Azerbaijan, Estonia

  • Erik Botheim scored with 13 minutes to go to give Norway a 2-1 win against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, ensuring they overtook Croatia to take first place. Croatia had looked set to qualify when 2-1 up in Norway at the 90-minute mark earlier this month only to lose 3-2, though they made sure of a top-two finish on Wednesday in their final game with a 4-0 win in Estonia. Norway followed suit by securing a 2-0 victory in Finland that ended the home team's chances and then defeated Azerbaijan to seal their third finals appearance.

Group B

 Youssoufa Moukoko scored as Germany qualified
Youssoufa Moukoko scored as Germany qualifiedGetty Images

Germany (holders, qualified), Israel (play-offs), Hungary, Latvia, San Marino

  • Holders Germany sealed qualification on Friday as they defeated Hungary 4-0. Israel clinched second place and a play-off berth as the group ended on Tuesday, beating San Marino 2-0 to overtake Poland, who lost 2-1 at home to Germany having been the only team to take points off the group winners with a 4-0 away win in November.

Group C

Spain (qualified), Slovakia (play-offs), Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Malta

*Russia excluded

  • Spain were confirmed in the finals prior to the June fixtures and beat Northern Ireland and Malta to end with eight wins out of eight. Slovakia sealed second place with a 3-1 victory against Malta and will go into the play-offs.

Group D

Portugal (qualified), Iceland (play-offs), Greece, Belarus, Cyprus, Liechtenstein

  • Portugal were confirmed in the finals on Monday when the only side that could still catch them, Greece, lost 3-0 in Cyprus. Iceland then closed to within two points of second by beating Belarus 3-1 on Wednesday, and on Saturday snatched a play-off berth as they beat Cyprus 5-0 and Greece lost 2-1 in Portugal to miss out. Gonçalo Ramos scored for Portugal to end on a qualifying-leading 12 goals.

Group E

The Netherlands won Group E
The Netherlands won Group EANP/AFP via Getty Images

Netherlands (qualified), Switzerland (qualified, best runners-up), Moldova, Wales, Bulgaria, Gibraltar

  • The Netherlands were confirmed as group winners on Wednesday as Switzerland were held 1-1 by Moldova in their last game, and the Dutch finished three points clear by beating Wales 1-0 on Saturday. Switzerland had a wait before on Tuesday they were confirmed as best runners-up.

Group F

Italy (qualified), Republic of Ireland (play-offs), Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Luxembourg

  • Italy missed the chance to qualify on Thursday with a 1-1 draw in Sweden but the result ended their hosts' hopes and confirmed both the Azzurini and Ireland in the top two. On Tuesday, Italy did earn their finals spot by overcoming Ireland 4-1, though their opponents still have a debut play-off to look forward to.

Group G

England finished well clear in Group G
England finished well clear in Group G The FA via Getty Images

England (qualified), Czech Republic (play-offs), Slovenia, Kosovo, Albania, Andorra

  • England won 2-1 in the Czech Republic to emulate their hosts in making sure of a top-two finish and then defeated Albania 3-0 to seal their ninth straight finals appearance. However, they did conclude with a 2-1 home loss to Slovenia, ending England's record 54-game unbeaten run in U21 qualifying, dating back to 14 November 2011. The Czech Republic go into the play-offs after ending with a 7-0 win against Andorra.

Group H

France (qualified), Ukraine (play-offs), Serbia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Armenia

  • Ukraine trailed 1-0 and 3-1 in their group decider with France in Istanbul on Thursday and, despite fighting back to draw 3-3, that was not enough to stop Les Bleuets, who won the reverse game 5-0, being confirmed as group winners. Ukraine, who finished on Sunday with a 2-0 win in Armenia, will go into the play-offs.

Group I

Belgium (qualified), Denmark (play-offs), Türkiye, Scotland, Kazakhstan

  • Belgium may have lost their perfect record in qualifying with a 1-1 draw away to Denmark in March, but the result confirmed them as group winners and booked their finals place. Denmark drew 1-1 with Scotland on Friday to make sure of second place. To pip Switzerland as best runners-up and avoid the play-offs, Denmark needed to beat Türkiye by at least three goals (and not 3-0 or 4-1), but in the end could only manage a 3-2 win, meaning they face a two-legged September tie if they are to make the finals.

Results per qualifying group stage matchweek

25–29 March 2021
4–8 June 2021
2–7 September 2021
7–12 October 2021

11–16 November 2021

24–29 March 2022
1–14 June 2022