The first matchday of the Under-21 European Championship in the Czech Republic concluded on Thursday with a couple of really interesting results. Sweden upset Italy despite being one man down for a majority of the game, and Portugal snagged a victory of England. Here’s a full roundup of Matchday 1.
The hosting Czechs played Denmark in the opening game of the tournament on Wednesday. The Czechs had a massive support from the home fans at the Eden Arena in Prague. The home side got a great start to the game, and in the 35th minute they took the lead after a goal by right back Pavel Kaderabek.
The Czechs went into halftime with the 1-0 lead and kept things going to start the second half. But in the 56th minute, center back Jannik Vestergaard grabbed the equalizer for the Danes as they went level 1-1. This spurred the Danish team on and they looked a lot more comfortable with the ball in the second half.
The winner came in the 84th minute through Pione Sisto, who had come in and replaced Viktor Fischer in the 57th minute. With the win, Denmark went top of the group and they will take on Germany in their second game on Saturday. The Czechs will play Serbia, also on Saturday.
Germany and Serbia played a 1-1 draw at the Generali Arena, home of Sparta Prague. Both goals came early in the first half. Serbia took the lead through Filip Djuricic in the eighth minute. Emre Can tied it up for the Germans nine minutes later and that result stood for the rest of the game. Serbia came closest to getting a winner, but Goran Chaustic’s shot in the 43rd minute went off the bar.
Germany is considered one of the favorites and they will have to play better in their next game. It didn’t help their cause in the game against Serbia that Christian Gunter got sent off after 69 minutes after getting his second yellow card of the game.
Standings Group A:
- Denmark 3pts
- Germany 1pts
- Serbia 1pts
- Czech Republic 0pts
We saw two upsets in Group B. First, Sweden won 2-1 over Italy. Italy got off to a good start and controled most of the action. In the 28th minute, Alexander Milosevic misjudged a tackle inside the penalty box and was shown a red card. The red card was a bit harsh, but the referee had made up his mind and Milosevic had to leave the field.
Domenico Berardi scored from the penalty spot and it seemed like the Swedes were not going to be able to get back from this. But they did. John Guidetti (Manchester City) tied the game in the 56th minute after putting a square pass from Oscar Lewicki into the back of the net.
Guidetti was among a sea of players inside the Italian penalty box and managed to get his foot on Lewicki’s pass and put it behind Francesco Bardi in the Italian net. Bardi didn’t have a good night and it got even worse when he caused the Swedish penalty towards the end of the game. Isaac Kiese Thelin was cool as cucumber from the spot and Sweden walked away with the upset and the three points.
Portugal pulled off the other upset as they beat England 1-0 in the late game on Thursday. The Young Lions has a team filled with established Premier League players, including Tottenham’s Harry Kane who came second in goal scoring this season in the league. But the English team were underwhelming and couldn’t break through the Portuguese defense.
Joao Mario scored the most important goal of his young career as he got the lone goal of the game. The two results really spices things up in Group B and the next fixtures on Sunday will be extremely interesting as England takes on Sweden and the Portuguese play Italy.
Standings Group B:
- Sweden 3pts
- Portugal 3pts
- England 0pts
- Italy 0pts