October's U21 qualifying action

Greece, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, Serbia and France all hold perfect records after October's qualifiers, with the likes of England and Romania well placed as holders Germany slipped and Gibraltar made history.

England celebrate scoring against Scotland
England celebrate scoring against Scotland ©Getty Images

Qualifying for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Italy and San Marino, which started in March and continued in June, resumed in earnest over the last week.

How qualifying works

• Italy have a bye to the finals in summer 2019 but co-hosts San Marino must qualify.
• Kosovo and Gibraltar are making debuts among record field of 54 teams competing in qualifying.
• The nine group winners qualify automatically for the finals.
• The four runners-up with the best records against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their group go into the play-offs, where a pair of two-legged ties will decide the last two qualifiers.

The groups: what has happened so far?

Watch every goal of the 2017 U21s
Watch every goal of the 2017 U21s

Group 1
Greece and Croatia are both in control of the group with perfect records. Croatia had two home games, beating Belarus 2-1 and the Czech Republic 5-1, while Greece won 2-0 in Moldova and then 5-0 in San Marino. Belarus are two points behind in third but have played two more games. Croatia, after their game in hand against San Marino on 7 November, visit Greece five days later.

Group 2
Spain
secured a 4-1 success in Slovakia on Tuesday to move to two wins out of two. Northern Ireland have nine points from four games after defeating Estonia 4-2. It was not a good month for Slovakia, who had won both September games but lost 2-0 at home to Iceland before the Spain defeat.

Group 3
Denmark's perfect and free-scoring start has stretched to four games after beating Georgia 5-2 and winning 5-0 in Finland. Poland are five points behind with a game in hand, drawing 3-3 with Finland and defeating Lithuania 2-0 as they prepare to play Denmark on 13 November after that extra match in the Faroe Islands, who beat Georgia.

Group 4
England, seeking to qualify for a seventh straight finals, are unbeaten at the top after defeating Scotland 3-1 and Andorra 1-0 to move on to ten points from four games. Scotland, who bounced back with a 2-0 win in Latvia, are four points behind with a game in hand, while the Netherlands and Ukraine are one further back after a 1-1 draw.

Highlights: See how Germany claimed 2017 U21 glory
Highlights: See how Germany claimed 2017 U21 glory

Group 5
Holders Germany beat Azerbaijan 6-1 but then lost 3-1 in Norway. Leading the group by four having played a game more than Germany are the Republic of Ireland, who after drawing 0-0 with Norway defeated Israel 4-0. Kosovo are level with Germany but, like Ireland, have played a match extra.

Group 6
Belgium and Sweden remain separated by one point after drawing 1-1. Leaders Belgium then won 2-0 in Cyprus while Sweden, who have a game in hand, beat Malta 3-0. Cyprus had gone top before going to Belgium thanks to a 2-1 win against Turkey but are now third, two points off the lead. Hungary drew 0-0 in Turkey and have four points from only two games.

Group 7
Serbia hold the lead with three perfect wins, including 2-0 in FYR Macedonia and 3-2 against Russia this month. Russia and Armenia are both two points back but have played more games than Serbia. Austria, however, are a further point behind and have only played three times, including a 5-0 win in Armenia on Tuesday, when history was made by Gibraltar defeating FYR Macedonia 1-0, their first UEFA football competition victory at any level. Austria host Serbia on 10 November.

Group 8
Romania remain three points clear at the summit after a 2-0 win in Switzerland. The Swiss then prevailed 2-0 in Liechtenstein but have now played a game more than the leaders. Portugal are seven points behind with two games in hand after a 3-1 loss in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who like Wales are one behind Switzerland.

Group 9
France trailed Montenegro 1-0 and Luxembourg 2-0 at half-time in their two October games but won them 2-1 and 3-2 respectively and with nine points from three games are two clear of unbeaten Slovenia. The top two are matched in Domzale on 12 November.

Highlights: Five Italy Under-21 stars
Highlights: Five Italy Under-21 stars

Road to Italy and San Marino: remaining match dates

Qualifying group stage
8–14 November 2017
22–27 March 2018
7–8 June 2018
5–11 September 2018
11–16 October 2018

Play-offs
12–20 November 2018

Final tournament
16–30 June 2019

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