U17's set for EURO Finals draw
Colin O'Brien's Republic of Ireland Under 17 side will find out their UEFA European Under-17 Championship opponents this evening when the draw takes place in Zagreb.
ROAD TO THE FINAL
The UEFA European Under-17 Championship consists of three distinct stages: the qualifying round, the elite round and the final tournament. The format changed for 2014/15 with the expansion of the final tournament from eight to 16 teams.
The qualifying round, played in autumn, is made up of 13 groups of four countries playing in one-venue mini-tournaments. The top two from each pool progress alongside the five third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 31 qualifiers plus the top seed – given a bye this far – compete in eight mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners and seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section advance to the finals to join the hosts.
In the final tournament the contenders are split into four groups of four, with the front two from each proceeding to the knockout phase.
Further details, including the criteria for separating sides that finish level on points in a group, or after 80 minutes in a match, can be found in the official competition regulations.
The UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals draw is made at 17:00 on Monday at the Panorama Zagreb Hotel with the 15 teams that emerged from the elite round challenging hosts Croatia.
• The eight group winners and the seven runners-up with the best records against the teams first and third in their section have joined Croatia in the finals, which will be played at seven venues – five in and around Zagreb, and two near Opatija.
• In the draw, Croatia will be placed in position 1 of Group A while the seven best elite round section winners (counting all results) will go into Pot 1 and be drawn to fill the remaining 1 and 2 positions in the four groups. The remaining teams are drawn from Pot 2 and will fill positions 3 and 4.
• The draw will be conducted by Lance Kelly, Head of UEFA National Team Competitions, and tournament ambassador Niko Kranjčar.
Position 1, Group A: Croatia (hosts)
Pot 1: Germany, England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, France, Spain
Pot 2: Hungary*, Turkey, Italy, Serbia, Ukraine, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands
*Eighth best group winner
Group stage: 3/4, 6/7, 9/10 May (Stadium Zaprešić, Stadium Lučko, Stadium Velika Gorica, Stadium Sesvete, Stadium Varaždin, Stadium Rujevica, Stadium Kostrena)
Quarter-finals: 12/13 May (Stadium Zaprešić, Stadium Velika Gorica, Stadium Varaždin)
FIFA U-17 World Cup play-off: 16 May (Stadium Sesvete)
Semi-finals: 16 May (Stadium Zaprešić, Stadium Varaždin)
Final: 19 May (Stadium Varaždin)
• The Faroe Islands have qualified for the finals of a UEFA tournament for the first time.
• Norway have also qualified for the first time, meaning that 40 of UEFA's 55 member countries will have been represented in at least one of the 16 U17 final tournaments.
• Holders Portugal were eliminated in the elite round as the eighth runner-up.
• England, France, Spain and the Netherlands are all going for a record third U17 title.
• England have qualified for the 12th time in 16 final tournaments, one occasion more than France, the Netherlands and Spain.
• The final tournament will also act as European qualifier for UEFA's five berths at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, running from 6 to 28 October.