A flying start to his WLB career from Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism). Here he shares his thoughts on Tuesday's semi-final showdown from the European U21 Championship between England and Germany.
England U21 v Germany U21 | Tuesday 17:00 | Sky Sports
An age-old rivalry that has supplied us with some memorable games in the past will be replayed again on Tuesday night in Tychy, as both England and Germany look to reach the Euro U21 final.
This is England U21s first semi-final since 2009, where they beat Sweden on penalties, but lost in the final to the Germans 4-0.
Germany reached the last four just two years ago, but were humiliated by Portugal as they lost 5-0 in the Czech Republic.
England did exactly what they needed to against Poland last week, winning 3-0 and qualifying from the group stages for the first time in eight years. A superb strike from Demarai Gray opened the scoring in the first-half, and goals from Nathan Redmond and Lewis Baker rounded off the win for Aidy Boothroyd and his side.
That result will be a much-needed confidence boost for England after their results in the opening two games, both of which were unconvincing. The U21s will be looking to become the fourth England youth side to reach a final in two months.
Arguably England’s two most influential players, Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Redmond will be facing late fitness tests ahead of this game, with Will Hughes and Jacob Murphy ready to step in.
Because of Czech Republic’s 4-2 loss to Denmark in the final game in Group C, a 1-0 defeat to Italy was still good enough for Germany to reach the semi-finals. Finishing second in the group also meant they would face England instead of Spain, which I’m sure Stefan Kuntz would have had in the back of his mind.
In the opening two games, Czech Republic and Denmark struggled to contain Germany and the five goals they scored in the group stages could have been a whole lot more.
The likes of Max Arnold, Serge Gnabry, David Selke, Max Meyer, Mahmoud Dahoud and Nadiem Amiri are just some of the names available to Germany. And when they come up against an England defence that has yet to be tested, they could cause some serious problems.
The betting angle
“Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.” – Gary Linekar.
I really wanted to find a way to get England onside but I just can’t see past the Germans to win this one. England struggled to defeat Sweden, had to come from behind to win against Slovakia, and only beat Poland 3-0 because the Poles had to go for the win.
They were unremarkable in all three group games and if they are without Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Redmond they will really struggle against a strong Germany side.
Aidy Boothroyd has only been in charge of this group of players for a few months and I think that has shown. The ex-Watford and Northampton boss still doesn’t know his best starting XI, this hasn’t been helped by the fact that Tammy Abraham hasn’t scored yet.
If Germany had beaten Italy on Saturday I reckon they would have been odds-on, so 8/5 for them to win is a huge price. Their 1-0 win over England in March showed they were the better side, and I think the Germans will prove that again on Tuesday evening.
England U21 v Germany U21 – Germany to win (8/5 Marathon)