European Under-21 Championship: Spain and Germany off to strong start

By Sports Desk March 24, 2021

Spain and Germany eased to 3-0 wins over Slovenia and Hungary respectively in their opening 2021 European Under-21 Championship fixtures on Wednesday.

Holders Spain found Slovenia tough to break down before Javier Puado and Gonzalo Villar struck in the space of 108 seconds early in the second half.

Igor Vekic made eight saves to keep Slovenia in the game, but Juan Miranda added a late third to get Spain's title defence off to a positive start in Maribor.

Germany's clash with Slovenia's fellow co-hosts Hungary panned out in a similar manner, with the 2019 runners-up failing to find a way through until just after the hour mark.

Anderlecht's on-loan Manchester City forward Lukas Nmecha continued his fine form by powering in a header to break Hungary's resolve and Bote Baku, who assisted that goal, added a quickfire double to seal the win.

The other Group A fixture between Romania and the Netherlands finished 1-1 thanks to Andrei Ciobanu's impressive free-kick to cancel out Perr Schuurs' opener.

The Netherlands, competing in this tournament for the first time in eight years, had to hold on towards the end to claim a point against the 2019 semi-finalists in a cagey contest.

Wednesday's other match also finished 1-1, although Italy had two players sent off late on against the Czech Republic.

Gianluca Scamacca opened the scoring with a composed finish after 31 minutes, but the Czechs fought back well and levelled through an unfortunate Giulio Maggiore own goal.

Italy then had Sandro Tonali sent off six minutes from time for kicking out at Ondrej Sasinka, while Riccardo Marchizza followed in added time for a foul on Vaclav Drchal, earning a second yellow card.

The disappointing stalemate for the nine-man Azzurri leaves them two points behind early Group B leaders Spain.

Related items

  • Lautaro hopes free agent Dybala goes 'where he is happy' Lautaro hopes free agent Dybala goes 'where he is happy'

    Lautaro Martinez does not know where Inter-linked forward Paulo Dybala will play next season but hopes it will be "where he is happy".

    Dybala's contract at Juventus is expiring, making him one of the most sought-after free agents of the upcoming transfer window.

    Widespread reports have suggested he is most likely to join Argentina team-mate Martinez at Inter – although the Nerazzurri striker is also the subject of transfer speculation.

    But as the pair link up on national team duty, Martinez insists Dybala's club future has been set to one side.

    "We didn't touch the subject," Martinez told TyC Sports. "We talk about many things, about his situation and everything, but today he is thinking about the national team.

    "His future will be decided when these games are over.

    "He is a player with quality, personality and I hope he plays where he feels most comfortable, where he is happy."

    Martinez is also focused on his role with Argentina, looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar later this year – the first of his Albiceleste career.

    "[The World Cup] is a dream I have had since childhood," Martinez said. "With my family, I constantly talk about this – they are all football fans.

    "If I think now about what could happen, anxiety comes to me. I hope we can leave a good impression.

    "These are dreams you always have. First your dreams are of being a professional, then they are renewed. Today I am months away from this [dream]; I hope it can be fulfilled and I can help my team-mates."

    Even before that, at the start of June, Argentina have the Finalissima against Italy at Wembley to look forward to, pitting the Copa America winners against the European champions – an eagerly awaited fixture for Italy-based Martinez, even if the Azzurri will not be in Qatar.

    "It will be an important game for us because of what the opponent means, beyond the fact that they have been left out of this World Cup," he said.

    "We know their characteristics, their players, they are a high-level opponent. We have a very important test ahead to see where we stand."

  • All-female coaching staff to oversee Jamaica camp for CONCACAF U15 tourney in July All-female coaching staff to oversee Jamaica camp for CONCACAF U15 tourney in July

    For the first time in Jamaica’s football history, a national squad will be overseen by an all-female coaching staff as 27 girls are called to camp to prepare for the CONCACAF Women U15 tournament set to take place in Tampa, Florida, from July 31 to August 7, 2022.

    The players will be directed by Head Coach Tashana Vincent and Assistant Coach Alicia James. Both women are former national representatives.

    Meanwhile, the squad of players will be comprised of Kimoy Harris, Kryshana  Reid, Ashley Lowrie, Cassandra Smith, Jada-Lee Bryan, Devonae  Lewis, Dejaunae  Lewis, Breanna  Marr, Schennel Goodhall, Adrianna  Morris, Shanae   Ashley, Sajane   Anderson, Italya  Robinson, Bianca McDonald, Destiny   Powell, Jennifer  Williams, Shiona   Ashman, Shantea  James, Lacey   Phillips, Jhonelle   Rose, Jamara   Jones, Dejonea  Smith, Felisha  Ferguson, Rishaune  Gordon, Elizabeth  Miller, Shereece Jameison and Chrisann Tomlinson.

  • Nicholson, Bailey return as Jamaica names 20-man squad for Suriname and Mexico Nations League matches Nicholson, Bailey return as Jamaica names 20-man squad for Suriname and Mexico Nations League matches

    Coming off the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Catalonia earlier this week, Jamaica has named a 20-man squad to take on Suriname and Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League starting on June 4.

    The squad sees the return of striker Shamar Nicholson, who has made himself available after his self-imposed hiatus from the national programme, as he attempted to bed in with Spartak Moscow in Russia. The oft-injured Leon Bailey has also been recalled after spending much of the recent Premier League season on the Aston Villa injury list.

    The remainder of the squad includes Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Richard King, Javain Brown, Devon Williams, Ravel Morrison, Tyreek Magee, Leon Bailey, Rolando Aarons, Amarii Bell, Jamoi Topey, Kaheem Parris, Junior Flemmings, Jamal Lowe, Amal Knight, Atapharoy Bygrave, Daniel Green, Oquassa Chong and Kenroy Campbell.

    Notably absent is West Ham’s Michail Antonio, who was among Jamaica’s leading scorers in the shambolic World Cup qualifiers.

    Following the June 4 encounter, the Reggae Boyz return to Jamaica a day later before tackling Suriname at the National Stadium on June 7 at 8pm. Jamaica returns to action on June 14 when they play Mexico at the National Stadium in Kingston.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.