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

The ties are set for September's play-offs: 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 will be played from 19 to 27 September and 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.

Play-off ties

Croatia vs Denmark
Slovakia vs Ukraine
Republic of Ireland vs Israel
Iceland vs Czech Republic

Ties between 19 and 27 September, schedule TBC



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 Czech Republic (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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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?
The only one of the 32 teams to have taken part in U21 play-offs to still be unbeaten in all matches (if not ties).

Czech Republic

See how Čech helped Czech Republic 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.

Qualified so far

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