Seven finals spots up for grabs in elite round

The lineup for the 2015 final tournament will be decided over the next ten days, with Germany and France eager to re-establish their authority as they enter the fray.

Action from Sweden's 2-1 friendly victory over Germany in October
Action from Sweden's 2-1 friendly victory over Germany in October ©Getty Images

The most successful two sides in UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship history enter the qualifying fray this week as 24 teams vie for the seven finals places on offer.

Between them, Germany (four) and France (three) have won seven of the 13 tournaments at this level but for the first time neither reached the finals last year, where a Vivienne Miedema-powered Netherlands took the honours. This season both had byes through the qualifying round – along with England – and tough elite round tasks await them.

France face three sides with finals experience in Group 3, in the shape of Iceland, Romania and mini-tournament hosts Russia. Germany stage Group 5, with Belgium and Scotland expected to provide stiff opposition having graced last term's final tournament (Scotland beat the Belgians 2-0 in their group in Norway); Ukraine complete the section.

2014 final highlights
2014 final highlights

Elite round games take place on 4, 6 and 9 April. The six group winners and the runner-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their pool qualify to join Israel in the finals from 15 to 27 July 2015.

Fixtures

Things to look out for
• Austria, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Slovenia are all aiming to get to the finals for the first time.
• Sweden's Stina Blackstenius – the top all-time scorer in qualifying (21) – needs three goals to break Jovana Damnjanović's season record (14) set in 2011/12.
• Spain, runners-up in 2014, had the best record in September's qualifying round, winning three out of three with a +22 goal difference.
• Three of the last four holders failed to make it to the following year's finals.

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