On Tuesday, the semi-finals of The European Under-21 Championship took place. England faced an old foe in Germany, whilst Spain played five-times winners Italy in Krakow. The winners of these two games will play each other in the final on June 30th.
Germany to Play Spain in Under-21 Championship Final
England 2 – 2 Germany AET—Germany win 4-3 on Penalties
Spain 3 – 1 Italy
Germany beat England on Penalties
In an eventful 120 minutes, this game had everything. A back and forth game, Germany took the lead in the 35th minute. Davie Selke scored his second goal of the tournament to give his team the advantage. Both teams wasted plenty of chances, but England did find a breakthrough just before the half-time whistle. Demarai Gray found the net with an opportunistic finish. Either team could have had a penalty in the first half, with referee Gediminas Mažeika making two bold decisions to turn them down.
The second half started in similar fashion, with both sides pushing forward. Aidy Boothroyd’s team struck first as Tammy Abraham tapped home from close range. This was a key goal, giving the young Lions an unexpected lead. The lead wouldn’t last long, however, with Stefan Kuntz’ side finding an equaliser. Substitute Felix Platte scored a game-changing goal, after which the game petered out with extra-time on the way.
Extra-Time and Penalties
Set to play an extra 30 minutes, both teams looked tired. The result at this point was predictable; the game was heading to penalties. These two teams have a long history of penalty shootouts, with Germany always coming out on top. Things were no different this time around. Germany were victorious after Southampton winger Nathan Redmond stepped up and missed from the spot. Once again, England went home disappointed.
Spain defeat Italy in Krakow
Without big names Domenico Berardi and Andrea Conti, Italy faced tournament favourites Spain in Krakow. Spain had the best of the first half, with captain Gerard Deulofeu missing their best opportunity. Despite garnering 60% of the possession, the game was goalless at half-time. Spain should have the lead, but Italy remained resolute.
The second half was much more eventful. Spain took the lead through a Saúl Ñíguez effort from outside the box. Finally rewarded for their constant pressure, they looked to take control. However, Luigi Di Biagio’s team had other ideas, as Federico Bernardeschi’s long range effort beat goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Developing into an open game, things could have gone either way. Things suddenly changed, as Italy’s chances disappeared in the 58th minute when midfielder Roberto Gagliardini saw red after fouling Dani Ceballos. Saúl then went on to complete his second half hat-trick, sending Spain into the final.