UEFA Under-19 Championships Malta 2023: Norway and Portugal secure finals spot

The second round of matches from the elite round of the UEFA European Under-19 Championships was played on Saturday with Norway and top seeds Portugal being the first two teams to qualify for the finals which will be played in Malta from 3 to 16 July.

In Group 1, Norway defeated hosts France 2-1 while Romania registered their first win, beating Northern Ireland 3-1. Since Norway had also defeated Romania in the first match, no matter who will win the clash between Romania and France, Norway would still take top spot due to the direct encounters, even in case of a defeat to Northern Ireland.

Italy lead the way in Group 2 following a goalless draw with Slovenia following the win over hosts Germany 3-2 in the first match. Germany held Belgium in a 1-1 draw and therefore Tuesday’s matches between Italy and Belgium, Slovenia and Germany will be decisive as Italy lead the way with 4 points, followed by Belgium and Slovenia on 2 and Germany 1.

Spain and Denmark lead the way in Group 3 as the former defeated Luxembourg 4-0 and the latter beat Ukraine 2-1. On Tuesday, Denmark meet Luxembourg while Spain face Ukraine. With Spain and Denmark on 4 points and Luxembourg on 3, in case both Denmark and Spain win on Tuesday, the goal-difference could determine the winner.

In Group 4, hosts Portugal secured a place in the finals thanks to a 3-0 win over Czechia while Croatia and Sweden earned a point each in a 1-1 draw. In fact, even if Czechia defeat Sweden on Tuesday and Portugal lose to Croatia, Portugal would still have a better record due to the direct encounter.

After winning their first matches, Greece and Slovakia drew 1-1 in Group 5 while hosts Republic of Ireland beat Estonia 1-0. On Tuesday, Slovakia take on Estonia and Greece face Ireland. In case, both Greece and Slovakia win, the goal-difference would determine the winner.

In Group 6, Poland and Israel registered their first wins after the draw in the opening game. Israel -finalists in the 2022 edition – defeated Serbia 3-1 while hosts Poland beat Latvia 3-0. On Tuesday, Latvia take on Israel and Poland face Serbia with the goal-difference possibly determining the winner should both Poland and Israel emerge as winners.

Meanwhile holders England suffered a shock 0-1 defeat to Iceland in Group 7 while Turkiye and Hungary shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Iceland lead the way with 4 points, followed by England on 3, Turkiye 2 and Hungary 1. On Tuesday, Iceland face Hungary and Turkiye take on hosts England.

Malta will enter the finals for the first time as host.