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France among 44 setting out on road to Norway

The dust has barely settled on the 2013 finals but there is no time to rest as, 21 days after being crowned, holders France are among 44 teams kicking off Women's U19 qualifying.

France celebrate en route to their semi-final victory over Germany
France celebrate en route to their semi-final victory over Germany ©Sportsfile

The dust has barely settled on the 2013 finals but, for 44 teams, attention turns to the road to Norway and the 2014 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship.

France are among five of the eight teams that contested this summer's tournament that will be in action in the qualifying round on Saturday, Monday and Thursday. Gilles Eyquem's side begin the defence of the title they claimed in Llanelli on 31 August against Slovakia and also face Group 9 hosts Bulgaria and Iceland.

Only the 11 group winners are assured of progress to the elite round scheduled from 5 to 10 April 2014, where top seeds Germany, England and Spain enter the fray. The ten best runners-up will join them there, with seven teams eventually qualifying for next July's final tournament alongside championship hosts Norway.

Sweden, the 2012 winners, have a stiff assignment in Group 3 with Estonia, Lithuania and a Portugal side that reached the 2012 semi-finals. Wales must negotiate a section that includes 2005 winners Russia if they are to return to the finals stage, while Finland host Group 4 knowing their sternest test will likely come from the Czech Republic.

Denmark have perhaps the most daunting programme of the 2013 quintet, travelling to the Republic of Ireland to meet the up-and-coming home team, plus Greece and Kazakhstan.

It will be a tough challenge too for Malta, one of three newcomers in a record field of 48 this season. They have been matched with Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as recent finalists Serbia and the Netherlands in Group 6. Montenegro take on Belgium while the other debutant, Albania, will encounter 2008 champions Italy during the mini-tournaments which are held over six days. It is Albania's debut in any women's event.

UEFA.com will have all the latest scores, photos and daily round-ups.

Qualifying round draw
Group 1: Austria*, Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan

Group 2: Denmark, Republic of Ireland*, Greece, Kazakhstan

Group 3: Sweden, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania*

Group 4: Czech Republic, Finland*, Faroe Islands, Moldova

Group 5: Russia, Wales, Cyprus, Belarus*

Group 6: Netherlands, Serbia*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta

Group 7: Italy, Poland, Slovenia*, Albania

Group 8: Scotland, Romania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Georgia

Group 9: France (holders), Iceland, Slovakia, Bulgaria*

Group 10: Belgium, Hungary*, Turkey, Montenegro

Group 11: Switzerland, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Latvia*


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