Last year's finalists Greece will be hoping to go one further in July's European U19 Championships.
UEFA European U19 Championships
Prague & Liberec, Czech Republic
14-26 July 2008
Click here for the full tournament details
Next month sees England U19s head to the Czech Republic for the 2008 UEFA European U19 Championships.
After qualifying through the Elite Round games in Belarus, England will face the hosts, Italy and Greece in Group B whilst current champions Spain, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria contest Group A.
Over the next few days, we will look at the other teams in the competition and how they qualified and today we inspect one of England’s group opponents, Greece.
Last season, the Greeks were runners-up in this competition and they now have another opportunity to impress in the Championships.
They confirmed their place in the Czech Republic with a 3-1 victory against Russia in the Elite Round, when they had home advantage.
However, they didn’t have the best start to the Elite Round when they lost to Moldova by the odd goal in three in their opening match.
With their second game against the Netherlands, Greece knew that only a win would be good enough if they were to qualify for the tournament. At 1-1 going into the last few minutes, it looked as though Greece would be heading out, but an added time penalty from Sotiris Ninis secured a 2-1 win and gave them hope.
So Alexandros Alexiou’s team went into the final match against the Russians at the Kastoria Stadium in the knowledge that a win would be enough to seal their place in the Czech Republic.
All was going to plan when Michalis Pavlis opened the scoring with a powerful shot in the 17th minute, but the lead wasn’t in tact for long as a free kick from Russia's Igor Gorbatenko levelled things up.
With all to play for in the second half, advantage was restored in the 54th minute when Giannis Papadopoulos, who featured in last year’s finals, found the net with a long range effort.
The result was secured in the 64th minute when Pavlis grabbed his second of the game, allowing the Greeks to plan their assault on the U19 title for a second successive year.
Their first match of the finals is against Italy in Group B on Monday 14 July, taking place at Mladen Boleslav.