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Friday 07 Dec 2018
Frail’s boys will also face Czech Republic and Israel in elite round

Northern Ireland’s Men’s Under-17s will face the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Israel in the elite round of the UEFA U17 Euros qualifiers.

The Group 2 games against the Dutch, Czechs and Israelis will be hosted in the Netherlands and staged between 20 and 26 March next year.

The eight group winners and the seven runners-up with the best records against the teams that finish first and third in their sections will join hosts Republic of Ireland in the finals from 3 to 19 May.

Northern Ireland reached the elite round of the qualifiers for the 2019 U17 Euros following a couple of fine displays in Turkey in October.

Stephen Frail’s side finished second in their group in stage one of the qualification process. They narrowly lost 1-0 to eventual group winners Slovakia, held the host nation to a 1-1 draw and then hammered San Marino 6-0.

The elite round draw was conducted in Switzerland yesterday by John Delaney, chairman of the UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee, and Francisco Saldanha, who received the 2018 U17 Euro Fair Play prize on behalf of last season's Portugal team, which he captained. 

The finals in the Republic will act as UEFA's qualifier for Europe's five berths at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru from 5 to 27 October.

Meanwhile, the draw was also made for the 2019/2020 U17 Euros qualifiers.

Next October Northern Ireland will be facing Italy, Turkey and hosts Luxembourg in Group 2 of the qualifying round. 

The top two in every group, along with the four third-placed sides with the best records against the leading pair, will follow top seeds Spain and England into the elite round in March 2020.

The eight elite round group winners and seven runners-up with the best records against the teams first and third in their pool will join Estonia in that May's finals.