The UEFA European Women's U17 Championship elite round kicks off in Norway with the first of six groups which will determine the seven teams to join Belarus in July's finals.
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The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship elite round kicks off on Thursday in Norway with the first of six groups which will determine the seven teams to join Belarus in July's finals.
Elite round groups
Group 1 (19–24 March): Germany, Austria*, Switzerland, Russia
Group 2 (22–27 March): Spain (holders), Denmark, Ukraine, Northern Ireland*
Group 3 (19–24 March): France*, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary
Group 4 (15–20 March): Finland, Italy*, Netherlands, Greece
Group 5 (3–8 March): Sweden, Norway*, Poland, Scotland
Group 6 (24–29 March): Belgium, England, Iceland, Serbia*
• The six group winners and the runner-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their pool qualify to compete with hosts Belarus in the finals from 4 to 16 May 2016.
• The top three finishers at the tournament will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan from 30 September to 21 October 2016.
• The opening match of the elite round is a repeat of the 2013 final in which Poland beat Sweden 1-0. However, their Group 5 rivals Norway are the only team in that section to have appeared in last season's finals.
• Germany have qualified for seven of the eight previous tournaments and won four of them; among their group opponents this time are 2015 runners-up Switzerland, who overcame then-holders Germany with a last-minute goal in the semis.
• Spain have won three editions of this championship, including last year's in Iceland.
• The last group to start, in Serbia, contains the two nations that have staged the eight-team tournament since the finals doubled in size from a four-sided competition in Nyon: England (2013/14) and Iceland (2015).