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Europe, Under 19s

England Fighting for Place in the Finals

This is the trophy that England hope to be bidding for in July

England kick off their European Under 19 Championship Elite Qualifying Round campaign on Tuesday against Montenegro.

Switzerland and a highly-fancied Spain stand in England’s way of the finals, which will be held in July.

The Young Lions squad contains some familiar Premier League faces in the form of Josh McEachran, Jack Robinson and the highly-rated Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

The Elite Qualifying Round for Group 2 will be held in Switzerland and England will face the hosts on 2nd June before playing Spain in their final encounter on 5th June.

The top team of each group qualifies to the final tournament along with the host nation, Romania. Here they will compete within two groups of eight teams before playing the traditional semi-final and final tournament format.

England manager Noel Blake has said ““The lads have trained quite well and I’m pleased with them,”

“We met up on Wednesday and we’ve had a few pull-outs, but that aside, the lads have settled well and looked sharp in training.”

These pull-outs include Conor Wickham, who was called up to the Under 21 side and John Flanagan who was forced to withdraw through injury.

Elsewhere in the Elite Qualifying Round so far, Serbia qualified ahead of Wales on goal difference in Group 6.

Czech Republic won their group and subsequently eliminated Netherlands, whose Under 17 side triumphed in this month’s Under 17 European Championship.

Greece qualified by winning Group 3 with three straight wins, notably one against France.

Group 1 and Group 4 are currently in full-flow with Italy heading the top of Group 4 and looking almost certain to qualify over Poland, Ukraine and Republic of Ireland.

Belguim are topping Group 1 and are odds on favourites to qualify now after already beating 2nd and 3rd placed Portugal and Croatia respectively with just a winless Estonia to play in their final game.

England’s group is one of two that hasn’t currently kicked-off. The other being Group 7 in which we see Germany, Macedonia, Turkey and Hungary.

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About Tom Bennett

I'm a 21-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Bournemouth University aspiring to be one of Britain's top sports journalists. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for contact and further information.

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