By Kevin Ashby
Twenty-eight nations are looking forward to the start of the second qualifying round for the 2004/05 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship this week with the winners of the past two editions coming together in Group 7.
The 2003 champions France will play holders Spain in a pool which also contains the Republic of Ireland and Croatia, the top-ranked of the six sides who advanced from the first qualifying round as the best third-placed teams. The action begins on Monday when Wales take on Greece in Huissen, before Group 3 mini-tournament hosts the Netherlands face Finland in the evening.
Group 1 includes the three other countries to have triumphed at this level, including the inaugural U18 winners in 1998 Denmark, Sweden and Germany, three times the champions and runners-up to Spain last summer. Silvia Neid's side will again be the favourites to progress having underlined their status by lifting the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship trophy in Bangkok in November.
Norway, England and Italy will meet in Group 2, where Moldova are by some distance the outsiders. Like Italy, Russia reached the last four in Finland and won through from the first qualifying round. They have been drawn against Austria, Serbia and Montenegro and Romania in Group 4.
All matches in the second qualifying round must be played in the form of a mini-tournament, with the hosts indicated by an asterisk (*) in the table below. The seven group winners will join hosts Hungary in the final tournament, to be played from 20-31 July.
|Group 1 (26-30 April)|
|Germany* (indicates mini-tournament hosts)|
|Group 2 (26-30 April)|
|Group 3 (25-29 April)|
|Group 4 (26-30 April)|
|Serbia and Montenegro|
|Group 5 (27-1 May)|
|Group 6 (26-30 April)|
|Group 7 (26-30 April)|
|Republic of Ireland|