Euro under21 Preview: Group C & D Analysis (Update)
Updated: Jul 20
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.
Welcome to the thrilling world of the UEFA Under-21 Championship, a football extravaganza that not only showcases incredible talent but also serves as a captivating glimpse into the future of the beautiful game. This prestigious tournament brings together the finest young footballers from across Europe, as they battle it out to claim the coveted title and etch their names into the annals of footballing history.
We've already talked about Group A & B in our previous blog post. You can read the analysis and check out the future's stars, right here.
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.
Unfortunately, Sorare won't be covering the games. However we are football fans and as a Sorare manager, it's good to know who's coming up in the youth leagues. Buying a young player before he reaches his full potential, is football economics 101. Not only in the real world but also in Sorare.
Where to watch the Euro under 21 on tv? Right here.
The Young Lions managed to win their qualification group last year, a group consisting of mostly east-European teams, Kosovo, Albania, Slovenia, and Czech Republic, who they meet again in this group. The top scorer of the group was Folarin Balogun (Reims, on loan from Arsenal). He's currently fifth in the top scorer list of the season with 20 goals. Surely a name to remember. However, he was born in the US, and only last week ago he choose to represent the USA, so he won't be participating in this tourney. Some other players to watch: Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal) is one of the most expensive players in the tournament. Harvey Elliott (Liverpool) and Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa). The goalkeeper situation is unclear, Josef Bursik (Club Brugge) is injured and is rumored to be leaving Brugge after only 6 months. England selected four goalkeepers: Josh Griffiths (West Brom), Carl Rushworth (Lincoln), James Trafford (Bolton Wanderers, on loan from Man City), and Patterson (Sunderland). Let's talk about Trafford, no goalkeeper in League One saved a greater percentage of the shots taken at their goal than James Trafford this season. And who is also being linked with Vincent Kompany's Burnley.
The winners of the last edition and what track record do they have in these last championships! 2021,2017,2009 = Winners, 2017 = Runner up, 2015 = Semi final. After a disappointing departure from the 2022 FIFA Men's World Cup, Germany finds itself at a crossroads, compelled to turn the page and set its sights on the promising horizon that lies ahead. This also means that the feeder team, under 21, will change. Most will depend on Hansi Flick's selection for the first National team. They could field however an amazing team: Moukoko (Dortmund) 6 goals in quali, Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), FM legend Noah Katterbach (Hamburg), Jonathan Burkardt (Mainz05) 7 goals in quali, and let me add one more, Schade from Brentford is one to watch. Goalkeepers are Luca Philipp (Hoffenheim), Nico Mantl (Aalborg, on loan from RB Salzburg), and Noah Atubolu (Freiburg). All three are interesting Sorare goalkeepers, who are cheap to pick up.
The Czechs managed to secure a spot in the tournament after play-offs games against Iceland. They finished their group as second after England, who they meet again in this group. They lost their both games against England and with the last edition champions in the group, second place will be tough. Most of the players still play in their home league and aren't widely known. Most of the foremost players are playing for Sparta Prague: Adam Karabec, Daniel Fila.
"What an odd country to feature in the tournament" I thought to myself when I saw Israel in the draw. Israel isn't quite known as a great football nation. They finished as number two behind Germany in the group and beat Ireland in the playoffs on penalties. They'll meet Germany again at this stage of the competition. Not a lot of known players. Rightwinger Davida from Standard Liege is currently the most known and valuable.
Conclusion: England will be the one to beat if you want to advance to the next stage as the first of the group. Germany and England will battle it out for the first and second spots. The runner-up will have to play against the winner of Group A (Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands), aka the Group of death.
Not the easiest path to the final and one they surely would want to avoid.
31 goals and 5 goals against. France breezed through the qualifications as if it were nothing. Few teams captivate the imagination quite like the U-21 national team of France. Known for their rich footballing heritage and indomitable spirit, Les Bleuets, as they are affectionately called, have consistently been a breeding ground for exceptional talent that leaves spectators and football enthusiasts in awe. With a remarkable pool of gifted players, France's U-21 team stands tall as a formidable force, boasting an enviable collection of skill, technique, and raw potential. France will be meeting up with England again after they played a friendly in March, which England won 4-0. Most of the names that I'll be dropping here are already known to the Sorare players, as their Sorare cards are interesting to have. Amine Gouiri (Rennes), 14 goals in Ligue 1, topscorer of the qualification group and most goals in the 2017 UEFA European Under-17, scoring 7 goals. He's on the list of Real Madrid. Other players to watch: Le Fee(Lorient), Elye Wahi 17(!) goals for Montpellier, Cherki (Lyon). Adrien Truffert (Rennes). Who will not be attending is the most valuable player of the tournament: Badiashile (Chelsea), who suffered a hamstring injury. The goalkeepers are Ilan Meslier (Leeds), after a horrid season with Leeds, happy to be joining a good team I can imagine. Guillaume Dietsch is on load from Metz but had a horrible season as well with Seraign.
The Italy U-21 national team, commonly referred to as "Azzurrini," is a vibrant and talented squad that represents the future of Italian football. With a rich footballing history and a penchant for producing world-class players, Italy has long been renowned for its exceptional youth development system, and the U-21 team serves as a testament to this tradition. The Italians won their group ahead of Ireland and Sweden. The team captain and first goalkeeper is Carnesecchi (Cremonese, on loan from Atalanta) who is enjoying the interest from Juventus. Another goalkeeper to keep an eye on is Stefano Turati (Frosinone, on load from Sassuolo). If you play Football Manager, you probably already know him. He was also featured on our widely popular blog post where 11 Sorare experts share their favorite goalkeeper. Some talented individuals: he might be injured but Nicolò Fagioli (Juventus) and left wingback and roadside jester Destiny Udogie (Udinese on load from Tottenham)
Runners up in group E behind The Netherlands but they qualified without play-offs as the best runner-up. Some players to watch: topscorer Zeki Amdouni (Basel), and team captain Leonidas Stergiou (FC St. Gallen) who enjoyed some interest last winter from Feyenoord. The most valuable player is Kastriot Imeri (BSC Young Boys). A dynamic winger that has been linked with Club Brugge and Feyenoord.
Norway could go all in and call up Haaland (Man City), but they won't... and because the tournament is played outside official UEFA dates, clubs can always decline a call-up.
But Norway has other talents running around: Sivert Mannsverk (Molde) a name I already knew but I don't know from where... Possibly from FM or maybe from the media as he was linked with a bunch of teams (Ajax, Feyenoord, Man United, Arsenal, ...) in the past years. Erik Botheim (Salernitana) and Jørgen Strand Larsen (Celta de Vigo) are the strikers to watch.
Conclusion: France will be hard to beat, they have too much quality. The French players that did not get selected would still be a force to reckon with. It's hard to predict the strength of the other two teams (Norway and Switzerland), although they could surprise France and more so Italy.