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Technical report


Lithuania hosted the 11th edition of the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship, with a UEFA youth tournament returning to the Baltic nation just five years after the European Under-19 Championship, although this was the first time the country had staged a women's final tournament.

Šiauliai, Alytus and Marijampolė were the venues with the latter staging the final, as it had in 2013, and the former no stranger to women's football, with FK Gintra-Universitetas' UEFA Women's Champions League last-16 round tie with FC Barcelona in November 2017 drawing a record crowd for a women's match in Lithuania.

Some 1,825 spectators saw the hosts, who were joined in the finals by fellow debutants Finland – bringing the total number of countries participating in the finals to 22 – open proceedings against the Netherlands, who were taking part for the third time after 2010 and 2017. Completing Group A were Germany, bidding for their seventh title in their tenth participation. Spain, who Germany had beaten in the past two finals, were Group B's old heads, with England involved for the sixth time, Italy participating for the third time and 2013 champions Poland back for the first time since winning the last four-nation finals in Nyon, Switzerland.

©Saulius Čirba

Debutants Finland and Lithuania

The format was unaltered for the fifth consecutive year with a total of 16 games played: 12 in the group stages, two semi-finals and the final, plus a play-off between the losing semi-finalists to determine Europe's third qualifier for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018. Šiauliai held double-headers on the opening two rounds of matches with Alytus and Marijampolė venues for one game each, featuring crowds in excess of 1,000 when the hosts Lithuania were playing, before staging back-to-back fixtures on the third and decisive day of the group stage.

In view of the distances of 185km and 225km respectively from the tournament's two bases of Kaunas and Birštonas to Šiauliai, the teams travelled the evening before and spent the night in the Šiauliai region before returning after their fixtures. Coach rides of between 35 and 60 minutes were otherwise necessary for reaching the other venues.

Switzerland's Désirée Grundbacher was chosen from a group of 16 officials – six referees, eight assistants and two local fourth officials – to officiate the final in Marijampolė. Meanwhile, the previously separate anti-doping and match-fixing education sessions were amalgamated into a combined integrity meeting incorporating UEFA's new #EqualGame message. All nations attended the sessions, which were presented in English, Italian and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation provided into all other languages.

UEFA's Technical Observers for the tournament were Anna Signeul and Anja Palusevic.