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Euro under21 Preview: Group A & B Analysis (Update)

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Update 8/6: A lot has happened since this article was published.

Sorare has announced official coverage for the games which is huge news! And most of the teams have their (provisionary) teams announced. I've added the team's visuals to the text, I did not review the article itself.

 

The European Under-21 Championship will be the 24th edition hosted by Romania & Georgia. The tournament will take place from 9 June 2023 to 2 July 2023. Only players born after 1/1/2000 are eligible to play.

As usual, there are 4 groups with 4 teams competing for the trophy and a spot in the Olympic games. Europe has three slots in the 2024 Olympic men's football tournament, not counting hosts France, who automatically qualify. The top three finishers in the U21 finals (other than France and England, who cannot qualify for the Olympics. They compete as Great Brittain in the Olympics) will take part in the tournament. The winners and runners-up in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Sorare won't be covering the games, so we can't "own the game" directly. However we are football fans and as a Sorare manager, it's good to know who's coming up in the youth leagues. Where to watch the Euro -21 on tv? Who's got the broadcasting rights for this event? You can find an answer to this question right here.


Some history, two years ago, Germany won 1-0 against Portugal and Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg) scored the only goal of the final and ended up as the top goalscorer of the tournament.


Let's start by saying that the official teams have not been announced yet. So everything I'm writing is based on interviews, former line-ups, news articles, and somewhat common sense. That doesn't mean I'm right.


You can find the second article about U21 Euros Group C & D right here.



Group A:

Portugal

The runners-up of the last tournament are ready to compete for the title once again. As is tradition, Portugal has some quality players that might not be known to everyone yet. It is unclear who'll be the first goalkeeper at this stage. Celton Biai is a youth product of the academy Benfica and plays for Vitória Guimarães as the second goalkeeper. He was the first goalkeeper for the U21 but recently got called up for the first National team by new coach Rrrroberto Martinez. During the last few games, Samuel Soares (Benfica), the 'second' goalkeeper, played a few games. You might know Soares from the goal he made last November that went viral during a game with Benfica B. The Fabio's are the ones to watch: Fabio Silva (Wolves, on loan to PSV), captain Fabio Vieira (Arsenal), and Fabio Carvalho (Liverpool). Rightwinger Pedro Neto (Wolves) and the two young players from Marseille Vitinha (most expensive transfer for Marseille ever) and left-back Tavares (on loan from Arsenal). Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica) had 12(!) goals in the qualification games, although I doubt he'll be called up after his breakthrough season.

Portugal U21 Squad

The Netherlands

Belgium

Georgia

Our conclusion:

It is impossible to predict this group. The Belgian u21 team had won their preliminary group with ease, yet they had only ended up in the 3rd pot at the draw. That meant they would almost certainly be paired with two other top countries, in this case, Netherlands and Portugal. Three excellent teams and only the first two will advance to the knock-out stages. The Netherlands and Belgium played against each other last September, a game The Dutchies won 1-2. The first game is a head-to-head Belgium vs The Netherlands and will be crucial for both.



Group B:

Spain

Together with Italy is Spain the most decorated team of the tournament. They both won it 4 times. Spain has won their qualifiers group effortlessly. 8 games, 8 wins, a +32 goal difference, and only 5 goals against.

Much like the A-team, Spain’s under-21 side has begun a new era, with of course some new wonder kids. A lot of them are hanging between the first team and -21. To name a few: Leftback Baldé (Barcelona) is a youngster with unlimited potential and is a possible call-up. Topscorer of the qualification group Abel Ruiz (Braga), modern left back Sergio Gomez (Man City) had 6 goals, Rodrigo Riquelme Reche, known as Roro, who plays as a right winger for Girona, is on loan from Atlético Madrid. Gabri Veiga is one of the breakout players in La Liga this season. The Celta Vigo player has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Newcastle, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.


The goalkeepers are some phenomenal names and most of them are already featured on our blog. Julen Agirrezabala (Athletic Bilbao), Arnau Tenas (Barcelona), Roman (Mallorca), Morro (Rayo Vallecano), and Garcia (Espanyol), ... Coach Santi Denia is optimistic and ambitious for the tournament, four years ago they were defeated by a better Portugal in the quarter-final.

Spain U21 Squad

Romania

Croatia

Ukraine


Our conclusion: Spain will win the group effortlessly. The runner-up position is up for grabs.

Will the quality of Croatia win it from the unyielding tenacity of Ukraine? Or will the home crowd propel Romania to new highs?



Footnote: I've been making these little write-ups for some time and I see these are a source of inspiration for other writers and journalists who are researching their new articles. I'm flattered obviously but a link to the website as a source is much appreciated. Thanks!


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