Malta was paired with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and the Netherlands in its first participation in the 2013/14 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championships. The draws for the first qualifying round, involving 44 of a record 48 entrants, were held in Nyon on Tuesday.
Serbia, one of the finalists in the 2012 edition, will host the Group 6 mini-tournament which should be held between 21 and 26 September 2013.
The draw was conducted by UEFA Women’s Football Committee chairwoman Karen Espelund and Mikael Salzer, UEFA head of women’s and futsal competitions.
Hosts Norway have a bye through qualifying, while top seeds Germany, England and Spain enter at the second stage held from 5 to 10 April 2014. The 11 group winners and ten best runners-up will join them there, with seven teams eventually qualifying for the final tournament in Norway in July 2014.
With the Netherlands, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina offering the Maltese very strong opposition, it will be a daunting task for our team to qualify for the next stage of the competition. Nevertheless, the squad, under the stewardship of coach Mark Gatt will preparing in earnest to peak up for the matches ahead. The group matches are not on until autumn next year and in the intervening time, there is a possibility to draft new faces and give them the necessary international exposure at this level.
First qualifying draw
Group 1: Austria*, Croatia, Israel, Azerbaijan
Group 2: Denmark, Republic of Ireland*, Greece, Kazakhstan
Group 3: Sweden, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania*
Group 4: Czech Republic, Finland*, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group 5: Russia, Wales, Cyprus, Belarus*
Group 6: Netherlands, Serbia*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta
Group 7: Italy, Poland, Slovenia*, Albania
Group 8: Scotland, Romania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Georgia
Group 9: France, Iceland, Slovakia, Bulgaria*
Group 10: Belgium, Hungary*, Turkey, Montenegro
Group 11: Switzerland, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Latvia*