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 four third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 30 qualifiers plus the top two seeds – 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 Republic of Ireland have been chosen to stage the 2019 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, with the UEFA Executive Committee selecting Estonia as hosts for the following 2020 final tournament.
Ireland have reached the finals of the men's U17 competition twice, in 2008 and 2015, but have yet to win a game, having drawn one match and lost the other five. They held the U16 finals in 1994, while their most recent hosting experience came when Dublin held the 2015 UEFA Regions' Cup.
Estonia have only once made it past the qualifying round of the U17 championship, getting to the elite round in 2013. The Baltic nation organised the U19 finals in 2012.
Croatia will stage the 2017 final tournament in May, the third since the championship's return to a 16-team event. England are the 2018 hosts.
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