Malta Football Association
New Nations League format for U19 Euro Championship
Dec 4, 2019
Posted in:
U19 - Qualifiers

The UEFA European Under-19 Championship will launch a new structure next year, featuring UEFA Nations League-style groups in a two-season cycle.

Tuesday’s draw for round one of the new U19 format, leading to the 2022 finals, has set the groups in the three leagues.


What would have been the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons will instead be the 2020–22 and 2021–23 competitions, still culminating in eight-team final tournaments (hosted by Slovakia in 2022 but with every nation now competing in at least two mini-tournaments.


Players will begin in the competition while still in the Under-18 category so will be in the Under-19 category by the time of the final tournament (for 2020–22, players born after 1 January 2003).


The Malta U-19 team (consisting of players aged under 18) have been drawn in Group C4 together with Albania and Moldova. The mini-tournament will be staged in Albania between September 18 and 24. Thus, in 2020, the Malta youth teams (U-18 and U-19) will play two international mini-tournaments with the U-19s facing England, Slovenia and Wales in  the qualifying round of the 2020-21 UEFA European U-19 Championship in November.


The decision to test out the new structure was decided by the UEFA Executive Committee on 29 May 2019 and if successful the system could be applied to the U17 EURO from 2023.


How the structure works

Competition rounds

Qualifying phase: Rounds 1, 2, 3 and 4
Final tournament: 8 teams – 1 host, 7 qualifiers


Qualifying phase

• All matches are played as one-venue mini-tournaments of four or three teams, with hosts appointed after each draw.


• All entrants for the 2020–22 edition (including the finals host Slovakia) have been divided into three leagues (A, B & C) based on the U19 coefficient rankings based on performances in the competition from 2015/16–2018/19.


Which league plays in which qualifying round?

League A plays all four rounds
League B plays three rounds
League C plays two rounds


How many teams in each league?

League A: 20 teams (5 groups of 4 teams)
League B: 16 teams (4 groups of 4 teams)
League C: up to 19 teams (groups of 4 or 3 teams depending on level of entries)




• From League B to A: the four group winners plus best runner-up


• From League C to B: all group winners plus runners-up depending on number of entries




• From League A to B: the five teams ranked fourth in their groups


• From League B to C: the four teams ranked fourth in their groups plus lowest-ranked third-placed teams


Teams in League C after round 2 play no further part, while finals hosts also play no further part until the final tournament.
If the finals hosts are in Leagues A or B after round 2, an additional team will be promoted from Leagues B or C respectively to take their place.


Round 3 (Leagues A & B):




• From League B to A: the four group winners plus best runner-up




• From League A to B: the five teams ranked fourth in their groups
Teams in League B after round 3 play no further part.


Round 4 (League A only):

Qualification for final tournament

• The five group winners and two best runners-up join the hosts in the final tournament.


Final tournament:
• As currently, the teams are drawn into two groups of four with the top two from each progressing to the semi-finals. U19 EURO final tournaments in even-numbered years act as qualifiers for the following year's FIFA U-20 World Cup (i.e. the 2022 U19 EURO leads to the 2023 U-20 World Cup).

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