The 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship comprises a qualifying group stage and play-off round to determine which seven teams join hosts Denmark in the final tournament.
Qualifying group stage
The group stage is played between March 2009 and September 2010. Teams are drawn into ten groups – two of six teams and eight of five – and play each other on a home and away basis. The ten group winners and four runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the play-offs.
Play-off matches are played according to the knockout system, with each team playing each opponent home and away between 8 and 12 October 2010. The team which scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals, extra time and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.
The final tournament takes place from 11 to 25 June 2011 and comprises the seven play-off winners and Denmark, who qualify automatically as hosts. The eight teams are split into two groups of four. Each team plays each other once in their group with the winners and runners-up advancing to the semi-finals where the winner of Group A plays the Group B runner-up and vice-versa. The winners advance to the final.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.