Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Germans trounce favourites to win the prize

Germans trounce favourites to win the prize.
UEFA u21 Championship Final
Germany 4:0 England

Germany pricked the bubble surrounding Sturat Pearce's England u21s by blanking them 4-0 in the UEFA u21 final in Malmo.

Werder Bremen's Mesut Ozil, one of the best midifielders in the tournament, was the ringleader of the tormentors as Pearce's dream of Euro glory once more foundered at Teutonic feet.

Leading 1-0 at the interval from an almost copycat goal of the one they scored against England in Halmstad, the Germans sat back in the second half and let the Three Lions monopolise possession, but picked them off with three killer counter-attacks, which left the final score appear like a rout had happened.

It had not. England enjoyed 60% of the ball and dominated proceedings in the second half, but had lost the verve they showed in the group stages and semi-final when leading Sweden 3-0 at half time. The yellow cards shown to Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fraizer Campbell and Joe Hart cost them dear in Malmo.

With no recognisable strikers left, Theo Walcott, baptised star of the show before the first game, was left forlorn up front in the middle, unable to physically dominate the defenders around him and shorn of decent through-balls to sprint after.

Then at the back, Watford's Scott Loach was a less than adequate replacement for Hart. He was wrong-footed for Ozil's swerving goal in the 48th minute and let Sandro Wagner's 79th minute strike fly through his legs.

Germany however, played a tactically sound game, marked closely, defended en masse and did a textbook job in frustrating their more fancied opponents, waiting until England lost possession before raiding upfield.

A surprise then, as Sweden, Belarus and Italy had looked more impressive than the Germans beforehand, and a devastating loss for England, who had looked all set from day one to bring home their first u21 trophy since 1984.

After Italia '90 and Euro '96, Pearce's run of misfortune against the Germans goes on.

GER - Castro 23'
GER - Ozil 48'
GER- Wagner 79'
GER - Wagner 84'

Germany- Neuer, Beck, Howedes, Boateng, Boenisch, Hummels (Aogo 83'), Johnson (Schwaab 68''), Castro, Khedira, Ozil (Schmelzer 89), Wagner.
England - Loach, Cranie (Gardner 80'), Richards, Onuoha (Mancienne 46'), Gibbs, Cattermole, Muamba (Rodwell 77'), Noble, Milner, Walcott, Johnson.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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