Friday 03 May 2019, 09:12

Brazil 2019 berths on the line in Europe

  • Four Irish cities to host the 2019 UEFA European U-17 Championship

  • Five places to be won at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil

  • Three teams hoping to qualify for world finals for the first time

Following an arduous qualification campaign, the stage is set for the 2019 UEFA European U-17 Championship, the last of the continental preliminaries for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019. marks your card for a competition that kicks off on Friday 3 May with four matches and which will see five teams represent Europe at the world finals.

Where, when and how many

  • Venues: Dublin, Longford, Waterford and Wicklow (Republic of Ireland)

  • Dates: 3-19 May 2019

  • Participating teams: 16

 A general view inside the Tallaght Stadium

The format

A total of 54 teams took part in the two-round qualifying competition, which began on 27 September 2018 and ended with 15 sides winning through to the finals along with hosts Republic of Ireland.

The 16 teams have been drawn into four groups. The top two in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

  • Group A: Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece

  • Group B: Netherlands, France, England, Sweden

  • Group C: Iceland, Portugal, Hungary, Russia

  • Group D: Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria

The road to Brazil

The four semi-finalists will all qualify for Brazil 2019, while the fifth place will be decided by a play-off between the two losing quarter-finalists with the best records. Head here to see the criteria for deciding who they are.

Who to look out for

England, world champions The reigning world champions in the age group have appeared in more European U-17 Championships than any other nation and are gunning for their third continental crown. Steve Cooper’s 20-man squad features six Manchester City players.

Netherlands packing a punch The 2018 champions, the Dutch have scored 34 goals in this year’s European qualifiers so far. Naoufal Bannis and Brian Brobbey have seven apiece, just one behind the tournament’s leading scorer, Kirill Shchetinin of Russia. Two of the competition’s leading assist providers also wear orange: Jayden Braaf and Mohamed Taabouni, who each have four. The Dutch have not featured at the U-17 World Cup since Mexico 2011.

A chip off the old block One of the aces in the Icelandic pack is Andri Lucas Gudjohnsen, the second of former Barcelona player and all-time leading Iceland goalscorer Eidur Gudjohnsen’s three sons. A Real Madrid player, Andri Lucas struck a hat-trick against Germany in the qualifiers.

Goals galore The European qualifiers for Brazil 2019 have produced no fewer than 441 goals so far, a record since the competition was expanded to 126 matches in 2014/15. Can the 16 finalists maintain the current average of 3.5 goals per match?

All change For the first time, teams will be permitted to make up to five substitutions, though each team can only stop play on three occasions to make them.

World Cup debutants? Three teams are hoping to reach the U-17 World Cup for the very first time: Iceland, Greece and Republic of Ireland, who are also looking to become the first hosts to win the European title since Germany in 2009.