Day three of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship took place on Sunday. Germany faced a promising Czech Republic side, led by Sampdoria star Patrik Schick. In the day’s late kick-off, Italy played a hopeful Denmark team, in a game featuring the rebellious Gianluigi Donnarumma.
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Day Three Review
Germany 2 – 0 Czech Republic
Denmark 0 – 2 Italy
Germany win group opener
In a first half full of wasted chances, Germany held the advantage. A Max Meyer goal in the 44th minute was the difference between the two sides at the half. Both sides wasted their fair share of chances, with Germany forcing efforts on goal to no avail. The Czech Republic on the other hand, were a one-man team. Star forward Patrik Schick appeared to be on a mission to make the breakthrough but failed to deliver. Schick and the rest of the Czech team needed a much better effort if they were to get anything out of the game.
Shortly after the break, Germany doubled their lead through an opportunistic Serge Gnabry finish. At the 50 minute mark, Vítězslav Lavička’s side had failed even to force a shot on target. As the game went on the situation became dire for the Czech Republic. Missing chance after chance, Germany made the Czechs pay for their lacklustre finishing.
This game lost all life as stoppage time neared, but when Jakub Jankto blocked a cross with his arm, Germany were awarded a penalty. Davie Selke stepped up and missed from the spot, forcing a good save from Lukáš Zima.
The Czech Republic were poor on the day, forcing just one shot on target over the 90 minutes.
What we learned
Germany may have won this game, but they weren’t convincing. Regularly giving away possession, they lacked their usual snap in midfield. The Czech’s may have had a bad day at the office, but Germany manager Stefan Kuntz will demand more of his players on matchday two. Kuntz will have a decision to make over Selke after the striker made very little impact on Sunday. Centre-back Niklas Stark played a key role in the win, proving he’s definitely one to watch in the future.
Luckily enough for this German team, they have options. Kuntz can call upon several talented players if he wants to rotate his squad.
Italy defeat Denmark
In a game which started slowly, the score was 0-0 at half-time. Italy were lacking rhythm going forward, leading to the likes of Domenico Berardi becoming frustrated. Denmark will be happy with their first half, but more was needed if they were to get anything from the game.
Fewer than ten minutes into the second half, Italy took the lead through a spectacular overhead kick from Lorenzo Pellegrini. This would be the beginning of the end for Denmark, with Andrea Petagna going on to score late to give the Azzurri a two-goal advantage. Denmark’s hard work continued into the second half, but Italy’s quality was just too much.
With Italy and Germany both winning on matchday one, it appears that this group will be a two-horse race. Set to play each other on matchday three, these two teams will decide their fates on the same field.
Player of the day—Max Meyer
Creative midfielder Max Meyer played a key role in Germany’s win. Often on the ball, Meyer had his head up constantly, looking for gaps in the opposition defence. The Czech Republic had trouble containing the Schalke player, especially with Gnabry, Mitchell Weiser and Selke all making good runs. Expect Meyer to be a key factor in Germany’s push for the trophy.
An honourable mention for player of the day is centre-back Niklas Stark. Playing alongside Marc-Oliver Kempf, Stark had a great game, playing with confidence and composure.