The final tournament of the 2017 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship was the fourth to be played with eight participating teams, and the tenth in total. It was also the first women's youth tournament held in the Czech Republic, and given its success – with large crowds, including new national and tournament records – it is unlikely to be the last.
The hosts were involved in their second straight final tournament, after qualifying for the 2016 edition in Belarus, and joining them for also their second attempt were the Netherlands. The rest of the field had a more experienced look, with Germany challenging for a ninth time and Spain an eighth, while France were present for their seventh participation and England had qualified for their fifth finals. Making up the numbers were Norway, with their fourth appearance, and the Republic of Ireland bringing up their third.
The tournament format once again constituted two groups of four, with holders Germany pitted together with the team they beat in the 2016 showpiece Spain, as well as France and hosts the Czech Republic. The second group saw England, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and Netherlands battle for two semi-final berths. A total of 15 games were played in venues in Plzeň, Domažlice, Přeštice and Příbram, the last of these inaugurating a brand-new stadium for the occasion and one which may in future form the second women's football academy in the country.
The squads were divided into two hotels in the brewery city of Plzeň with the furthest distance to travel being under 90 minutes. Four matches took place in the Plzeň City Stadium – home to three-time Czech champions Viktoria Plzeň – including a rain-delayed final group fixture and the now all-too familiar showpiece, with Domažlice and Příbram also staging three group games plus a semi-final each.
There were 11:00CET kick-offs in the first two rounds of group matches, with the Fotbalová asociace České republiky (FAČR) inviting local schoolchildren to join in grassroots events running parallel to the fixtures, while Czech television and Eurosport ensured several games were screened live on television.
Austria's Julia-Stephanie Baier was selected from a group of 16 referees and officials, who all received expert training and guidance from UEFA referee observers throughout their stay in the Czech Republic, to referee the first major final of what the 28-year-old hopes will be many in her career. She will certainly remember the tournament for the education it provided.
Meanwhile, education in anti-doping and match-fixing was imparted to the players and staff of all eight competing nations, as is customary at these youth championships.
UEFA's technical team consisted of Monika Staab from Germany and Anna Signeul from Sweden, whose observations form the basis of this technical report which, in addition to presenting a permanent record of the event, is intended to offer useful insight and information to all coaches working at player development levels.