Finals in view as qualifying resumes

Seven places in the Under-19 finals in Hungary will be on offer in the second and final qualifying round this week.

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.

Holders Spain
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.

Past winners
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.

Outsiders Moldova
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.

Mini-tournaments
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)
Denmark
Sweden
Czech Republic

Group 2 (26-30 April)
Norway
England
Italy*
Moldova

Group 3 (25-29 April)
Netherlands*
Wales
Finland
Greece

Group 4 (26-30 April)
Austria*
Russia
Serbia and Montenegro
Romania

Group 5 (27-1 May)
Scotland
Israel
Belgium
Portugal*

Group 6 (26-30 April)
Ukraine
Switzerland*
Poland
Northern Ireland

Group 7 (26-30 April)
France
Republic of Ireland
Spain*
Croatia

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