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UEFA European Under 19 and Under 17 Championships 2011 Elite Stage Draws made

30 November 2010 4,712 views No Comment Written by Ronan

The draws for next year’s second phase of UEFA European Under 19 and UEFA European Under 17 Championships were made today in Nyon, Switzerland, with the Republic of Ireland handed tough groups at both levels.

Having qualified in second place from a group that included Serbia, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg, Ireland were placed in Pot B as a second seed, ruling out a possible meeting with a very talented England side. Drawn in Group 4, Ireland received a difficult draw, facing 2003 winner and 2008 runner-up Italy, highest ranked third seed Ukraine, as well as Poland, who came through a difficult group which contained Hungary, Moldova, and Finland.

The Italy under 19 is littered with players from big name clubs: Inter, Milan, Fiorentina, etc. Striker Simone Verdi has already lined out for AC Milan, playing two Coppa Italia last season. However, their dangerman is probably Marco Veratti, an attacking midfielder who plays with Serie B side Pescara, and has been scouted by Manchester United. Italy easily topped their First Stage Group, with 3 wins from 3, and will be favourites to progress to next year’s finals in Romania.

Ukraine’s under 19 team contains a strong lineup with many Kiev and Donetsk based players. Shaktar’s Pylyp Budkivskiy is considered one of their best talents, and is the current top scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League Reserve division. Ukraine won their qualifying group with six points, qualifying ahead of Russia and Denmark in a very tight group, where three teams finished on six points.

Poland won the 2001 Under 18 European Championship, the last year before it became an Under 19 tournament. Their team is mostly made up of Polish-based players, however there are some players plying their trade abroad. Goalkeeper Filip Bednarek is with Twente, defender Julien Tadrowski plays with Lille, and midfielder Andre Dej is contracted to MSV Duisburg in Germany. They also have one English-based player, West Ham United youth defender Filip Modelski.

Poland will host the group matches in late May and early June, with the group winners qualifying for the finals in July.

John Morling’s Republic of Ireland under 17s easily qualified for the Elite Stage with a mostly Ireland-based team. They breezed past Albania and hosts Malta in September, and could experiment with different players in the final group game against Norway. The loss to Norway however, left Ireland as a third seed for today’s Elite Stage draw. Ireland will face Denmark, Greece, and Latvia in Greece in Group 3 from 23rd to 28th of March, with the winners advancing to May’s finals in Serbia.

Denmark were the runners-up at the 1994 European Under 16 Championship held in Ireland, and beat Turkey in the final on penalties at the RDS. They have not qualified for the finals since 2003, and this should give Ireland hope. However, ten goals for and none against in three qualifying wins cannot be argued against, and they are definite favourites. Striker Viktor Fischer scored six of those goals, and was the top overall scorer in qualification. The FC Midtjylland youngster is on Man City’s radar, and is thought to have trained with the club on a trial basis just last week.

Greece won Group 1 with 7 points, and contain a large number of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos prospects. Aris midfielder Giorgos Katidis is one to watch, and alongside under 17 defender Mavroudis Bougaidis, was promoted to the senior squad for this season. Udinese defender Karagounis Vassilios is quick and versatile, and can be a threat going forward.

Latvia qualified for the Elite Stage as the second best placed third team, and as a result are one of the weaker teams left in the competition. A 2-0 victory over San Marino was their best performance, and they only made it to this stage due to goal difference. Olimps Riga forward Valerijs Sabala did not get on the scoresheet in qualifiers, but is regarded as their dangerman.

Related posts:

  1. Squad Profile: Ireland under 19s for the UEFA Euro 2011 Qualifiers
  2. Norway – Ireland UEFA u17 Live Commentary
  3. Champions League Group Stage Preview: Ireland style
  4. Match Report: Ireland u19 2-1 Bulgaria u19
  5. Europa League Group Stage Preview: Ireland Style

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