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2023 Under-21 EURO: Meet the play-off contenders

The play-off second legs are on Tuesday; we introduce the hopefuls.


While 12 of the 16 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals contenders for next summer are confirmed, the last four slots in Georgia and Romania will be decided by the play-offs, which conclude Tuesday. They were drawn on 21 June, exactly one year before the tournament kicks off.

Final tournament: 21 June to 8 July 2023

We introduce the teams in contention, who all finished second in their qualifying groups.

Tuesday's second legs

Ukraine vs Slovakia (17:30, first leg 2-3)
Denmark vs Croatia (18:00, first leg 1-2)
Czechia vs Iceland (18:00, first leg 2-1)
Israel vs Republic of Ireland (19:15, first leg 1-1)

All times CET

UKRAINE (2-3) Slovakia


Ukraine aim to come through the play-offs for the third time
Ukraine aim to come through the play-offs for the third timeAFP via Getty Images

Qualifying Group H runners-up: P10 W7 D2 L1 F20 A11
Qualifying top scorers: Dmytro Kryskiv, Georgiy Sudakov, Vladyslav Vanat (3)
U21 EURO best: Runners-up (2006)
Last U21 EURO: 2011 (group stage)

Previous play-offs
2015 L0-5 vs Germany (0-3h, 0-2a)
2011 W3-3agg away goals vs Netherlands (3-1a, 0-2h)
2006 W5-4agg vs Belgium (2-3h, 3-1a)
2002 L2-4agg vs Switzerland (1-2h, 1-2a)

Did you know?
Were FIFA U-20 World Cup winners in 2019, with some of that squad eligible for this U21 edition including qualifying regular Vladyslav Supryaha, who scored twice in the 3-1 final defeat of South Korea in Poland.


Qualifying Group C runners-up: P8 W5 D0 L3 F18 A10
Qualifying top scorer: Matej Trusa (6)
U21 EURO best: Fourth place (2000)
Last U21 EURO: 2017 (group stage)

Previous play-offs
L2-4 agg vs Italy (1-1h, 1-3a)
2013 L0-4agg vs Netherlands (0-2h, 0-2a)
2000 W4-1agg vs Russia (1-0a, 3-1h)

Did you know?
Hosted the first U21 finals with a group stage, in 2000. They finished second behind Italy in their group by a single goal, but only the first-placed teams advanced to the final, though Slovakia did qualify for that year's Olympic tournament.



Qualifying Group I runners-up: P8 W5 D2 L1 F12 A6
Qualifying top scorer: Gustav Isaksen (4)
U21 EURO best: Semi-finals (1992, 2015)
Last U21 EURO: 2021 (quarter-finals)

Previous play-offs
W1-1agg away goals vs Iceland (0-0h, 1-1a)
2013 L1-8agg vs Spain (0-5a, 1-3h)
2009 L0-2agg vs Serbia (0-1h, 0-1a)
2006 W4-1agg vs Russia (1-0a, 3-1h)
2004 L1-1agg away goals vs Italy (1-1h, 0-0a)

Did you know?
Both previous semi-final appearances got them into the Olympics of 1992 and 2016.


Watch the Domagoj Bradarić stunner that put Croatia through in 2021

Qualifying Group A runners-up: P10 W7 D1 L2 F25 A10
Qualifying top scorer: Roko Šimić (7)
U21 EURO best: Quarter-finals (2021)
Last U21 EURO: 2021 (quarter-finals)

Previous play-offs
L2-4agg vs England (1-2a, 1-2h)
2011 L1-5agg vs Spain (1-2a, 0-3h)
2006 L2-5agg vs Serbia and Montenegro (1-3a, 1-2h)
2004 W2-1agg vs Scotland (2-0h, 0-1a)
2002 L1-1agg away goals vs Czechia(1-1h, 0-0a)
2000 W3-2agg vs Portugal (0-2a, 3-0h)

Did you know?
Got through the group stage for the first time in 2021 with a spectacular last-gasp goal by Domagoj Bradarić, which pulled them back to 2-1 down to England; that meant they finished ahead of their opponents and Switzerland in a three-way head-to-head goals scored tie-break.



See how Čech helped Czechia to 2002 U21 glory

Qualifying Group G runners-up: P10 W7 D1 L2 F23 A6
Qualifying top scorers: Adam Karabec, Daniel Fila (4)
U21 EURO best: Winners (2002)
Last U21 EURO: 2021 (group stage)

Previous play-offs:
2013 L2-4agg vs Russia (0-2h, 2-2a),
2011 W5-0agg vs Greece (3-0h, 2-0a),
2007 W3-2agg vs Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-1h, 1-1a)
2006 L0-3agg vs Germany (0-2h, 0-1a)
2004 L3-3agg, 3-4pens vs Switzerland (2-1a, 1-2h),
2002 W1-1agg away goals vs Croatia (1-1a, 0-0h)
2000 W3-1agg vs Greece (3-0h, 0-1a)

Did you know?
Petr Čech was their final penalty shoot-out hero against France in their sole triumph at this level in Switzerland.


Qualifying Group D runners-up: P10 W5 D3 L2 F25 A 7
Qualifying top scorer: Kristian Hlynsson (6)
U21 EURO best: Group stage (2011, 2021)
Last U21 EURO: 2021 (group stage)

Previous play-offs
L1-1 away goals vs Denmark (0-0a, 1-1h)
2011 W4-2agg vs Scotland (2-1h, 2-1a)

Did you know?
Prior to the first leg had been the 32 teams to have taken part in U21 play-offs to still be unbeaten in all matches (if not overall ties).



Israel aim to repeat their play-off success that took them to the 2007 finals
Israel aim to repeat their play-off success that took them to the 2007 finalsGetty Images

Qualifying Group B runners-up: P10 W6 D1 L3 F19 A10
Qualifying top scorer: Omri Gandelman (3)
U21 EURO best: Group stage (2007, 2013)
Last U21 EURO: 2013 (group stage)

Previous play-offs
2009 L1-3agg vs Italy (0-0a, 1-3h)
2007 W2-1agg vs France (1-1a, 1-0h)

Did you know?
2007 was the only previous time Israel have come through qualifying, having been in the 2013 finals as hosts.

Republic of Ireland

Qualifying Group F runners-up: P10 W6 D1 L3 F16 A10
Qualifying top scorers: Conor Coventry, Will Smallbone, Tyreik Wright 3
U21 EURO best
: First play-off, never previously qualified
Last U21 EURO: N/A

Previous play-offs

Did you know?
Hoping to be the only team to qualify for the first time (though Georgia are making a finals debut as co-hosts). The 33rd different nation to reach the play-offs.

Qualified so far

Belgium, England, France, Georgia (hosts), Germany (holders), Italy, Netherlands, Norway Portugal, Romania (hosts), Spain, Switzerland