So as the first round of games at this year’s Uefa U21 Championship comes to a close, here at Side-line View we take a closer look at all 6 of the opening round of games.
England 0-0 Sweden
England took on holders Sweden in the first game of the 2017 Championships in Kielce. After a tight first half, Sweden almost took the lead through Cibicki’s fine effort from 18 years cannoned off the woodwork, before Chilwell’s deflected shot at the other end looped onto the crossbar. However, Chilwell turned to villain as his challenge on Wahlqvist resulted in a penalty. Wahlqvist stepped up but missed the penalty as Everton’s new £30m goalkeeper, Pickford saved comfortably. Overall, the draw did not help either side as only the group winner and best runner up from all 3 groups will progress to the last 4.
Poland 1-2 Slovakia
The hosts Poland began their tournament in the worst possible fashion falling to a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia. They started well with a headed goal from Lipski within just 53 seconds. However, Slovakia clawed their way back into the game with Valjent equalising on the 20 minute. As the game looked to be heading for a draw Safranko finished off a fine counter attacking move in the 78th minute. This result makes England’s task all the more harder as the game this evening is now a must win for the three lions.
Portugal 2-0 Serbia
Portugal began their quest to go one step further than in 2015 with a convincing 2-0 victory over Serbia. Goals late in each half from Guedes and Fernandes handed them the 3 points they needed in order to compete with the Spanish for top spot in Group B. With Renato Sanches on the bench for most of the game it made the result all the more convincing as they now gear up for an international derby with Spain in Gdynia on Tuesday night.
Spain 5-0 Macedonia
Spain kicked off their U21 campaign with a fine display putting 5 goals past Macedonia. They certainly lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites, as Asensio stole the show with a superb hat-trick and Saul and Deulofeu adding insult to injury for Macedonia. However, they will likely face tougher opposition in the shape of neighbours Portugal on Tuesday evening.
Germany 2-0 Czech Republic
Goals from Meyer and Gnabry sealed the 3 points for the Germans. However, it was an unconvincing victory as the Czech’s squandered a number of fine opportunities to at least get back into the game. A slow start from Germany in terms of performance levels, but it is nonetheless 3 important points in the race for top spot in Group C.
Denmark 0-2 Italy
In a game that was overshadowed by a section of the Italian support throwing fake dollars at Donnarumma, it was Italy who got their quest for a top of the group finish off to the best possible start. Goals from Pellegrini and Petagna sealed the victory after a dogged display from Denmark. Italy’s game against Czech Republic on Wednesday will be a chance for them to make it 2 wins a row, before taking on arguably their toughest task in the shape of Germany in the final round of group games.