England made it through the the semi finals of the Euro Under-21 Championship with a 3-0 win over Poland, a result we predicted in our midweek betting forecast. Spain had already qualified for the last four after winning their opening two games, but the other semi final slots are still up for grabs.
The nature of the tournament which has just three groups, means that the winners of each section qualify for the last four, along with the best runner up across the groups. As things stand (on Friday afternoon) Slovakia are the best-placed runner up with six points and a +3 goal difference, but of course, group A games are now finished. Groups B and C are yet to play their final games and there are several possibilities.
Portugal are second in group B behind Spain with three points and a level goal difference. To finish in a better position than Slovakia as a runner up, they would need to claim a convincing victory on Friday night against Macedonia. That may not be beyond the realms of possibility as Spain scored a resounding 5-0 win over the Macedonians.
Group C is much more open as Germany, Czech Republic and Italy could each finish 1st or 2nd depending on Saturday night’s results. Those are the matches we’re concentrating on, and we’ll be siding with the Germans and the Czechs.
Italy U21 v Germany U21
The Germans have won both games at the tournament so far, beating Czech Republic 2-0 and following up with a 3-0 defeat of Denmark. A point would be enough to see them win the group, but defeat could see them dumped out of the competition altogether should results not go their way. This is by no means a ‘dead rubber’ final group game, so one expects Germany’s young guns to come out firing on all cylinders.
Italy won their opening game 2-0 against Denmark, but suffered an unexpected 3-1 reverse at the hands of Czech Republic. That has left them in third place in the group with qualification hopes hanging by a thread. Obviously to have any chance of getting through they need to win this match, but they would also need to do so by a better scoreline by a Czech Republic side fancied to beat Denmark. It’s the last chance saloon for Italy, so they will have to come out fighting, but that may play into their opposition’s hands. Germany are yet to concede in the group so far, and if they keep their defensive qualities on show, a counter-attacking strategy could pay dividends.
Czech Republic U21 v Denmark U21
In the night’s other game in the group, Czech Republic are worth following as well at -133 with Betfair to beat Denmark.
The Danes have lost both games so far without scoring a goal – a 2-0 defeat to Italy in the opener, and a 3-0 defeat to Germany thereafter. The statistics show that while they were under the cosh in both matches, they did at least manage to get to the other end and get some shots in. However, they appear to be a shade outclassed at this level.
Czech Republic lost their first game to Germany, but the 3-1 win against Italy was a very good result. Having taken a first half lead, the Czech’s were pegged back on 70 minutes, only to go and score twice in the last 20 to secure an impressive win. With the carrot of qualification in mind, one suspects that the Czechs will be far too strong on the day for the Danes.
Germany U21 to beat Italy U21
Saturday 24th June, 19:45 GMT
Czech Republic U21 to beat Denmark U21
Saturday 24th June, 19:45 GMT