UEFA: Romania plays host to Under-19 Championship
Romania plays host to the UEFA European Under-19 Championships from today with eight teams hoping to take the title which was won by the French last year. The champions, however, will not be there to defend their title as they failed to get past the qualifying rounds this time around.
The team that eliminated France in the Elite Round of qualifying is Greece who topped Group 3 over Les Bleus as well as Slovakia and Belarus. The Greeks, whose tournament best is a runner-up showing in the 2007 tournament, will face tough opposition in Group A against the likes of the Czech Republic, 1998 winners Republic of Ireland and hosts Romania who also have one title to their name but that was won a distant 49 years ago.
Spain are the favourites to win not only Group B but the tournament itself as the country has won the trophy four times in the last nine years as well as finishing runners-up to France in last year’s competition. Spain, seven times winners in total, will face three more countries who have, in one or another, claimed this title in the past. Serbia, who have experienced success at Under-19 level when playing under the banner of Yugoslavia in 1951 and 1979, Turkey and Belgium who have both won this tournament on one occasion each.
The group stage will run from July 20th-26th with the top two from each group going through to the semi-finals. The last four will begin the knockout rounds on July 29th and the tournament will terminate with the final on August 1st.