U19 Euro’s – The Semi Finals!

Posted: July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Matchday three served up some tasty encounters. I’ll only be reviewing the games in which the semi-finalists were involved in.

Spain took on Estonia, the hosts, in what was meant to be an absolute demolition by the Spaniards. Spain went into the game with a few changes in their line-up. Highly rated Paco Alcacer came into the mix as well as Manchester City’s Denis Suarez. Spain dominated possession, as you’d expect. They didn’t have many shots towards the Estonian goal as they should’ve. The Estonian’s couldn’t get an attack going, they tried to play on the counter and it didn’t work. Deulofeu and Alcacer were fantastic in the game. Alcacer, despite being isolated, still had some great movement around the penalty area and would often be dropping deep in order to mix-up the play.  Deulofeu was tireless down the right be it passing or dribbling past defenders. Those two combined perfectly for the first goal. Deulofeu with some great work down the right found a low cross which Alcacer touched into the path of Denis Suarez, who comfortably slotted the ball into the back of the net. Alcacer found Spain’s second goal, in the dying embers of the game; picking up the ball 35 yards away from the goal, dribbling past one defender, and blasting an absolute rocket from 25 yards out, which cannoned off the crossbar and went in. A truly memorable goal, dedicated to his father who passed away last year. Spain won 2-0.

England found themselves up against the only team to have won both their games up until then, France. France had already progressed to the semi-finals. England were still in need of a result to guarantee a semi-final place. France, surprisingly left out the man who pulls the strings in the midfield, their star player, Paul Pogba. England, also quite surprisingly left out Benik Afobe. The French started the game off superbly, they dominated the possession. It was England who broke the deadlock, though. With their first attack of the game, England went forward with some intent, the ball fell perfectly at Lundstram’s feet before the Englishman lashed an absolute belter in from 30 yards out. Beauty. France continued to dominate and were finally rewarded for their attacking persistence, Veretout found himself in acres of space and decided to fire a low shot from 25 yards out, the ball trickled under Johnstone and the French equalized. England slowly started to find some tempo and were gifted a goal in the 39th minute. Millieras fumbled Redmond’s vicious effort, the ball fell to Harry Kane who clinically tucked it away. The second half had barely any sting in it from either side. England edged it 2-1 and went through to the semi-finals, France had already qualified but will now face a stern test against Spain.

Greece had a fascinating performance against a resilient Portuguese side. Greece were unfortunate against Spain in the first game, since then they have performed very well. Greece’s lively winger, Gianniotas, opened the scoring with a great left-footed finish. Greece’s celebrations only lasted 42 seconds as Portugal’s comeback attitude saw them grab a goal via an Andre Gomes header. Portugal were hopefully looking for another gutsy performance from their players who gave it their all against Spain. It wasn’t meant to be. Daniel Martins saw his very rash challenge become awarded with red card, this made Portugal’s job difficult. They didn’t recover from the sending-off. Greece’s captain, Katidis scored five minutes after that red card. Portugal never looked like coming back from the dead, again. Katidis banged in another in the 69th minute which buried Portugal. Portugal scored in the 94th minute but it just wasn’t enough. Greece won 3-2, in the end. A scoreline which didn’t reflect Greece’s dominance.

So tomorrow England find themselves playing a very strong Greek side. I believe Greece will be too much for England although I’m hoping otherwise. Greece’s squad just seem like they could win it this year, I wouldn’t put it past them. I’m going for a 3-1 to Greece. Gianniotas to steal the show.

Spain will taking on France. This match is going to be an amazing one. Spain’s free-flowing football against France’s quick interchange between the midfield and the attack. I can’t think of a winner in this one, although there will have to be one come the end of the game. I’m going for a 1-1, Spain to win it on penalties.

 

~~ GB1886 – Hope you guys enjoyed this article. I couldn’t write much for the previews because the games could go either way. I wrote a bit more on the reviews than usual as I didn’t have to write about as many games and focus on both teams. Let me know what you think?

England England 14:45 Greece Greece
Spain Spain 18:00 France France
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