- England overcame a sticky start to their campaign to finish as winners of Group A. Having been held to a goalless draw by defending champions Sweden in their first match, Aidy Boothroyd’s men then fell behind to Slovakia before hitting back to win 2-1. They completed the group with a comfortable 3-0 victory over hosts Poland. Germany started strongly as they beat Czech Republic 2-0 and Denmark 3-0, but a 1-0 loss to Italy left them having to settle for a spot as the highest-ranked second-placed team.
- Spain are the only team in the tournament to have won all three of their group games. They kicked off their quest for glory with a 5-0 demolition of minnows Macedonia, before seeing off Iberian rivals Portugal 3-1 and then edging out Serbia 1-0. Italy defeated Denmark 2-0 in their opening fixture, but a surprise 3-1 loss to Czech Republic left them needing to beat Germany and Federico Bernardeschi’s goal proved to be good enough.
Germany were tipped for the title at the start of the tournament and their performance in beating Denmark was particularly impressive, but the loss to Italy raised many questions and boss Stefan Kuntz admitted there were many aspects of the game that left him disappointed, ‘especially the risky build-up play’. England, by contrast, have steadily got better and their dynamic display against Poland left boss Aidy Boothroyd delighted.
The pace and trickery of Demarai Gray and Nathan Redmond, combined with the physical threat of Tammy Abraham and the set-pieces of James Ward-Prowse, have helped England Under 21s reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2009, but they will have to find another level to knock out a very balanced German side. A price of 21/10 on England looks good value, but with so little to choose between the sides a draw might be an even better bet at 9/4, setting up the latest penalty shootout in a long-standing football rivalry.
In the other semi-final, Italy will feel they have nothing to lose after beating Germany in their final group game to reach the last four. However, Spain have been the tournament’s class act so far, scoring nine goals and conceding only once. Marco Asensio is the joint top scorer after his hat-trick against Macedonia and can be backed at 11/4 for a score/win double.
- Sports.net’s top tip: England and Germany to draw - 9/4
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.