Nine teams won their qualifying groups to join hosts Italy in next June’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship, while Austria, Greece, Poland and Portugal go into next month’s play-offs for the remaining berths.
QUALIFIED: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy (hosts), Romania, Serbia, Spain
PLAY-OFFS: Greece v Austria, Poland v Portugal
- The nine qualifying group winners automatically join hosts Italy at the finals from 16–30 June 2019.
- The four best runners-up (i.e. teams with best records against sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their group) advance to the play-offs.
- Play-off draw: 13:00CET on Friday, Nyon
- Play-off ties: two legs, 12–20 November
- Finals draw: 18:00CET on 23 November, Bologna
Croatia sealed top spot on Monday, a 4-0 win at San Marino meaning they edged out second-placed Greece on head-to-head record. Greece advance to November’s play-offs.
In play-offs: Greece
Spain qualified with three games to spare and subsequently lost to Northern Ireland – who promptly eliminated Iceland and then beat Slovakia 1-0 on Tuesday to pip them to second. However, before that game was over, both teams realised they were out of play-off contention.
Denmark drew 1-1 with Poland last Friday to stay a point above their guests, and then felled the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Aalborg on Tuesday to secure a finals place. Poland defeated Georgia 3-0 to clinch a play-off slot.
In play-offs: Poland
England’s 7-0 thrashing of Andorra last Thursday booked a record-breaking seventh straight U21 EURO berth. The next day Ukraine saw off Scotland 3-1 to end the visitors’ hopes and move into second; yet they still required a final-day win to sustain their play-off bid and eventually missed out by losing 3-0 in the Netherlands, a team already out of the reckoning.
Holders Germany overcame Norway 2-1 last Friday to rubber-stamp their finals ticket. Norway still finished second but a play-off spot eluded them.
In Tuesday’s dramatic group finale, Belgium took a three-point lead to Sweden and won 3-0 to ensure their qualification. The result caused runners-up Sweden to miss out on the play-offs.
Serbia’s 0-0 draw with Austria last Friday witnessed their first dropped points in the group, but also made sure of their pole position and finals berth. With Russia going level on points with Austria in second, everything then hinged on Tuesday’s decider for the runners-up place. Here Austria beat Russia 3-2 to enter the play-offs.
In play-offs: Austria
Having earned a two-point cushion over Portugal by defeating Wales last Friday, Romania needed just a last-day draw yet in the event won 4-0 against Liechtenstein to qualify for the first time since 1998. Portugal brushed aside Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-2 to wrap up a play-off berth.
In play-offs: Portugal
France qualified with plenty to spare. Slovenia drew 1-1 with Bulgaria last Friday to confirm second, but then had to win in France to have a play-off chance; sadly for the Slovenes, Tuesday’s game finished 1-1. Those were the only points dropped by France, who had the best record in the field.