Germany and Portugal still perfect in U21 groups

With qualifying getting to the business end, Germany and Portugal have perfect records with the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Denmark, Croatia, Slovakia and England also top of their groups.

Germany celebrate taking the lead in Russia
Germany celebrate taking the lead in Russia ©Getty Images
  • For the first time there will be 12 teams in the final tournament
  • Hosts Poland will be joined by 11 qualifiers in the finals in June 2017
  • The nine group winners qualify automatically
  • The four runners-up with the best records against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their group will go into the play-offs for the remaining two berths
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  • Current top scorer: Michael Gregoritsch (Austria) 9 – all the statistics

Group 1
The Czech Republic look in control of their group after beating Latvia 2-1 and triumphing 7-0 in Malta. Montenegro won 2-1 in Belgium to join their hosts on 12 points, five behind the Czechs, whom they host in their next fixture on 1 September. Belgium, who had overcome Moldova 2-0 and visit Malta on 2 September – four days before welcoming the Czechs in a potential group decider – have four games left to their nearest rivals' three.

Group 2
Italy hold a four-point lead over Slovenia thanks to a 4-1 success in the Republic of Ireland and a narrow 1-0 victory in Andorra. Slovenia beat Ireland 3-1 to dent their visitors' hopes and are second in the section, two points ahead of Serbia, who have a match in hand having won 4-0 in Andorra. Italy play Serbia on 2 September while Ireland face both Slovenia and Serbia next month.

Group 3
France became the new leaders in March after seeing off Scotland 2-0 and drawing 1-1 with FYR Macedonia, who had previously held Iceland 0-0. In May, FYR Macedonia won 2-0 in Ukraine to move to within two points of France and level with Iceland, who have a game in hand. Scotland are four points further back and host FYR Macedonia on 2 September, when France visit Ukraine and Iceland go to Northern Ireland.

Israel can still catch Portugal
Israel can still catch Portugal©InTime

Group 4
Portugal's 4-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein kept up their 100% record and left them six points ahead of Albania, who drew 0-0 with Greece and came from behind to beat Hungary 2-1 in their two March home fixtures. Israel drew 0-0 in Hungary and won 1-0 in Greece to remain within a point of Albania, who have played two games more than their rivals and lost twice to Portugal. That means Portugal will qualify by beating Israel, the only team that can catch them, on 2 September.

Group 5
Unbeaten Denmark have opened up a three-point lead after triumphing 1-0 in Luxembourg and 3-1 in Armenia to prolong their perfect away record. Romania are second after moving one clear of Wales with a 2-1 victory. Bulgaria are a further point back after 0-0 draws with the Welsh and Luxembourg, who thus ended an seven-year, 14-game home losing streak in this competition. Denmark have a match in hand on all three of their closest rivals, and in September visit Wales and host Romania.

Group 6
Croatia won 3-0 in Spain to avenge their 3-2 reverse in November and consolidated top spot in the group with a 2-1 home success against Estonia. Spain are five points off the summit and also three adrift of Sweden, who prevailed 2-0 in San Marino and 3-2 at home to Georgia, with both the Scandinavians and Spain having a game in hand on the leaders. On 1 September Croatia entertain Sweden, who four days later go to Spain.

Max Meyer scores for Germany against the Faroes
Max Meyer scores for Germany against the Faroes©Getty Images

Group 7
Germany extended their perfect record by following up a 4-1 defeat of the Faroe Islands with a 1-0 win in Russia. Austria are six points behind, with a match in hand, with Finland a further three points in arrears after June's 6-1 win in the Faroe Islands. Finland host Austria on 2 September and Germany four days later.

Group 8
In the only March encounter in one of the two five-team groups, Slovakia thrashed Turkey 5-0 with an Adam Zreľák hat-trick to open up a three-point lead over the Netherlands, with Belarus two further back. Turkey themselves are still in contention, three points behind the Netherlands with a game in hand on the leading trio. In September, Slovakia visit Cyprus while Belarus welcome the Netherlands and journey to Turkey.

Switzerland and England drew 1-1
Switzerland and England drew 1-1©Getty Images

Group 9
England went three points clear of Switzerland in the other five-team section with November's 3-1 home success and they drew 1-1 in Thun to preserve that advantage. Switzerland now have a head-to-head deficit but do have a match in hand while Norway, a further point behind, have played one game less and were not in action this month. Norway head to Bosnia and Herzegovina and then England in September.

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