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Wednesday 22 Nov 2023
Elite round qualification success for U17s

Northern Ireland’s Men's Under-17s have reached the elite qualifying round of the UEFA U17 European Championship for the second year in a row.

Andy Waterworth's team have gone through to the latter stages of the 2023-2024 competition as one of the five best third-placed teams alongside Norway, Denmark, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Waterworth said: "This is a very young squad that has performed well consistently throughout the campaign so this qualification is very well deserved, particularly after missing out on automatic qualification to Italy.

"Many of the players have progressed through our talent pathway and they, plus our hardworking staff, deserve tremendous credit."

The draw for the U17 Euro 2024 elite round is scheduled to take place on 7 December - and the elite round will be staged next spring.

In the UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2023-24 Qualifying Round, played last month, the U17s competed in a mini tournament against Greece, San Marino and hosts Italy.

After being defeated 2-0 by the Greeks in their opening fixture and then drawing 0-0 with Italy, they deservedly registered a handsome 4-0 victory against San Marino thanks to goals from Cole Brannigan, Callum Burnside, Conor Haughey and Braiden Graham.

Greece defeated Italy 2-1 to top the table with maximum points, however Italy finished runners-up ahead of Northern Ireland on goal difference – by a single goal.

But Northern Ireland have now also qualified for the elite round as one of the five third-placed teams with the best records against the top two in their section.