The last round of group games in the Under-21 European Championship in the Czech Republic are in the books. Denmark and Germany will move on from Group A to the semifinals and they’re joined by Portugal and Sweden from Group B. Here’s a full roundup of the Matchday 3 action.
Denmark won Group A ahead of Germany as they beat Serbia 2-0 on Tuesday. The Danes were not the favorites to win the group, but after wins over Serbia and the Czechs they ended up on top of the group with six points. Rasmus Falk scored the opening goal for Denmark against Serbia in the 21st minute as he met a cross from the left side and smacked the ball in with his right foot from close range. It was an excellent cross from Riza Durmisi and it just missed Yussuf Poulsen’s head and landed at Falk’s feet. Filip Djuricic had a great opportunity to tie the game in the 31st minute but his shot from the right side inside the penalty box went inches wide of the far corner.
Instead, Viktor Fischer made it 2-0 Denmark early in the second half after a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg free-kick. Hojbjerg’s free-kick from the left side went high up into the air and despite three Serbian players in the area when the ball came down, it landed by Fischer who put the ball into the back of the net.
Germany hasn’t lost a game so far in the tournament, but they’ve only managed to win one out of the three group games, and that was the game against Denmark as they grabbed a 3-0 win. The opening game against the Serbians ended in a 1-1 draw, and the final group game against the hosting Czechs also ended in a 1-1 draw. Germany was clearly the better team and had more possession and a lot more shots than the Czechs. Nico Schulz gave the Germans the lead in the 55th minute, but the Czechs battled on and tied things up through Ladislav Krejci in the 66th minute. Krejci had come off the bench just seven minutes earlier.
Standings Group A (teams in bold moving onto the semifinals):
- Denmark 6pts
- Germany 5pts
- Czech Republic 4pts
- Serbia 1pts
In Group B, both pre-tournament favorites were knocked out. England and Italy had both much better teams on paper compared to Portugal and Sweden, but after the games on Wednesday it is Portugal and Sweden that moves on to the semifinals. The two teams meet and played an exciting 1-1 draw. Portugal had several good chances in the first half and Sweden had a penalty shout that wasn’t given.
Portugal finally broke through the Swedish defense in the 82nd minute when Goncalo Paciencia scored the opening goal. Paciencia go the ball in the middle just outside the Swedish penalty area and dribbled past a defender before placing a shot in the left corner that was just out of reach for Swedish goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren. The Swedes did not give up and they knew that one point would most likely be all they needed to go through as Italy was beating England, and in the 89th minute, Simon Tibbling scored the equalizer from inside the penalty area. Tibbling’s shot took a deflection off of a Portuguese defender and made it impossible to save for Jose Sa in net.
Italy were extremely effective in the game against England and had a 2-0 lead in halftime after two quick goals by Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi in the 25th and 27th minute. Italy had more of the possession, but the English had a lot more shots throughout the game. The Italians had four shots on target and three of them ended up in the back of the net. Benassi scored his second of the night in the 72nd minute before Nathan Redmond got a consolation goal for England in the 94th minute. Italy ended up with the same amount of points as Sweden, but since the Swedes won the game against Italy they are the ones moving on.
Standings Group B (teams in bold moving onto the semifinals):
- Portugal 5pts
- Sweden 4pts
- Italy 4pts
- England 3pts
Portugal will play Germany in the first semifinal on Saturday (noon EST/9am PST), and Sweden will go up against neighbors Denmark in the other semifinal also on Saturday (3pm EST/noon PST). Both games are available on ESPN’s digital platforms.