Holders Germany remain the team to beat as the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship second qualifying round begins with four places in the finals up for grabs.
Article top media content
The 2009/10 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship resumes this week with four places in the finals up for grabs in the second qualifying round.
Only the four group winners will progress to the finals at the Colovray stadium in UEFA's Swiss home town of Nyon, played from 22 to 26 June. Italy stages the first of the qualifying mini-tournaments to kick off, welcoming 2007/08 semi-finalists England, the Netherlands and Serbia for Group 1 from Thursday until Tuesday.
The other three groups run from Saturday until next Thursday with all eyes on Group 4 in Austria, where the hosts, 2008/09 semi-finalists Norway and Finland have the unenviable task of halting Germany, who have won both previous editions of this tournament and have never lost a game. Defender Luisa Wensing and midfielder Jana Blessing remain from last year's squad although the prolific star of that championship, Kyra Malinowski, has been promoted to the U19s since playing in the first qualifying round.
Spain, beaten 7-0 by Germany in the 2009 final, stage Group 2 hoping to get past a Switzerland side aiming to compete in the showpiece on home soil, as well as Belgium and 2007/08 bronze medallists Denmark. First-time qualifiers are ensured in Group 3, where Ukraine entertain Poland, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden.
In the semi-finals on 22 June, the winners of Groups 1 and 2 will meet and the teams finishing top of Groups 3 and 4. Four days later the final and third-place play-off will take place on a Saturday for the first time. The top three finishers at the final tournament will qualify for the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago from 5 to 25 September.