Under-21s discover their opponents for 2011-2013 Euro qualifying.
England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce was in Nyon today, at the home of UEFA, to learn of his side’s latest qualifying opponents for the 2011-2013 European Championships.
With the campaign set to start in August - just weeks after England feature in this year’s European Championship Finals in Denmark - planning will now begin as England hope to qualify for what would be their fourth consecutive Finals in Israel in 2013.
England will have to overcome Belgium, Iceland, Norway and Azerbaijan if they are to make it four-in-a-row.
Head Coach Pearce, said: "We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves given we have a Finals tournament first in the summer, but this will be another tricky qualifying campaign for us.
"Iceland are at the Finals in Denmark and we'll face difficult trips to Azerbaijan, as well as Norway and Belgium.
"As ever, given the play-off finale to the qualifying campaign, anyone who makes it to Israel in 2013 will have worked hard to get there and will deserve their place."
England went into the draw as the highest placed European team, following last month’s announcement of them rising to number one in UEFA’s Under-21 national team ranking system.
The ranking, which takes into account four years’ worth of competitive games, sees England sit ahead of Span (2), Holland (3), Italy (4) and Sweden (5).
The full qualifying group stage draw is as follows:
Group 1: Germany, Belarus, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, San Marino
Group 2: Sweden, Ukraine, Finland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Group 3: Czech Republic, Wales, Armenia, Montenegro, Andorra
Group 4: Serbia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Faroe Islands
Group 5: Spain, Switzerland, Croatia, Georgia, Estonia
Group 6: Russia, Portugal, Moldova, Poland, Albania
Group 7: Italy, Turkey, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Liechtenstein
Group 8: England, Belgium, Iceland, Norway, Azerbaijan
Group 9: Romania, France, Slovakia, Latvia, Kazakhstan
Group 10: Netherlands, Austria, Scotland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg
With Israel automatically qualifying for the Finals in June 2013 as hosts, the remaining 52 teams were drawn into ten groups, eight with five teams and two with six, with the nations allocated to five draw pots in accordance with their coefficient ranking.
Group stage matches will be played according to a standard, home-and-away, league system, kicking off on 25 March and concluding with the final games on 10 September 2012. The ten group winners and four best runners-up will move on to the following month's play-offs, with the winners of those seven two-legged ties joining Israel in the final tournament
Players are eligible to play in the 2011-2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship if they were born on or after 1 January 1990.
Fixtures will be announced shortly.