The 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship kicks off in Italy and San Marino on Sunday, with Germany out to defend the crown they won in Poland two years ago.
Two games in Group A get the tournament under way. Poland and Belgium kick off proceedings before co-hosts Italy take on Spain.
Holders Germany have been drawn in Group B alongside Austria, Denmark and Serbia. England, meanwhile, are in Group C with Croatia, France and Romania. The three group winners and best runner-up progress to the semi-finals.
Sunday, June 16—5:30 p.m.—Poland vs. Belgium
Sunday, June 16—8 p.m.—Italy vs. Spain
Wednesday, June 19—5:30 p.m.—Spain vs. Belgium
Wednesday, June 19— 8 p.m.—Italy vs. Poland
Saturday, June 22—8 p.m.—Spain vs. Poland
Saturday, June 22—8 p.m.—Belgium vs. Italy
Monday, June 17—5:30 p.m.—Serbia vs. Austria
Monday, June 17—8 p.m.—Germany vs. Denmark
Thursday, June 20—5:30 p.m.—Denmark vs. Austria
Thursday, June 20—8 p.m.—Germany vs. Serbia
Sunday, June 23 —8 p.m.—Denmark vs. Serbia
Sunday June 23 —8 p.m.—Austria vs. Germany
Tuesday June 18—5:30 p.m.—Romania vs. Croatia
Tuesday June 18 —8 p.m.—England vs. France
Friday, June 21—5:30 p.m.—England vs. Romania
Friday, June 21—8 p.m.—France vs. Croatia
Monday, June 24 —8 p.m.—France vs. Romania
Monday, June 24 —8 p.m.—Croatia vs. England
All times BST.
England head to the tournaments as one of the favourites because of the Premier League experience among their ranks.
Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and Leicester City’s James Maddison are some of the star names in Aidy Boothroyd’s 23-man squad:
Tammy Abraham, Demarai Gray and Angus Gunn, who were all part of the squad that was beaten by Germany in the semi-finals two years ago, have also been selected.
Statman Dave highlighted the talent the Young Lions possess:
Boothroyd has spoken about the promising talent at his disposal and believes they can go all the way, per Andy Hunter at the Guardian.
“It’s exciting, a real attacking team. It’s balanced in terms of experience, in terms of soldiers and artists, and we have some real flair players. A tournament like this is exactly what they need because they’re going to be marked men. They have got to be able to deal with that. We have picked a squad we think can be successful.“
England open up with a tough game against France, who will be missing some key players. Captain Abdou Diallo has been ruled out because of injury, while Lyon striker Martin Terrier has withdrawn through illness.
The France squad still contains plenty of quality, with RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi and Lyon duo Houssem Aouar and Moussa Dembele included.
Holders Germany will also be in contention in Italy and have included four players—Levin Oztunali, Mahmoud Dahoud, Waldemar Anton and Nadiem Amiri—from their triumphant 2017 squad.
The holders cruised through qualifying, with eight wins from 10 games, racking up 33 goals along the way.
There may be some pressure on the team to retain their title given the senior side’s poor showing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, at which they failed to make it out of the group stage.
Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah and brothers Maximilian and Johannes Eggestein are some of the more familiar names in the Germany squad:
Co-hosts Italy also have plenty of star quality, with manager Luigi Di Biagio having called up the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Federico Chiesa, Nicolo Zaniolo andMoise Kean.
Juventus teenager Kean is a particularly exciting talent. The 19-year-old scored six goals in 13 Serie A appearances for the Italian champions last season and has also bagged two in three games for the senior Italy side.
Italy will look to the Juventus starlet to provide the firepower in a tough-looking Group A that also contains 2011 and 2013 champions Spain.
Spain may not have quite the same strength of previous squads but are still able to call up Real Madrid trio Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo and Borja Mayoral, while new West Ham United midfielder Pablo Fornals is also included after impressing for Villarreal:
There is also star quality in other parts of the tournament. New Real Madrid signing Luka Jovic will be charged with supplying the goals for Serbia, while the 17-year-old Anderlecht midfielder Yari Verschaeren has been named in the Belgium squad.
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