U21 EM: The most important questions and answers about the tournament of talents


From Wednesday 16 nations will fight for the not exactly beautiful European Cup. picture: UEFA

The tournament of great talents – the most important questions and answers about the U21 European Championship

When and where does the U21 European Championship take place?

In order to only play during the national team breaks and not during the national championships, the U21 European Championship was divided into two phases: the group phase takes place from March 24th to 31st, the knockout phase from May 31st to June 6th .

The game is played in eight stadiums in Hungary and Slovenia. Both countries are considered to be high incidence areas, so strict corona measures apply. Players and staff are regularly tested and housed isolated from the local population. The preliminary round games take place without spectators, nothing has yet been decided on the knockout phase.

Which mode is played in?

For the first time, 16 teams are taking part in the finals of a U21 European Championship. In the preliminary round it will be in four groups of four in the coming days to qualify for the knockout phase in summer. The first two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.

Why are many players older than 21?

Quite a few EM players were born in 1998 and are already 23 years old. Nevertheless, they are allowed to take part in the tournament: The decisive factor for participation is not the current age, but that at the start of the qualification in 2019. The trick birthday is January 1, 1998 – anyone born on this day or later is in the U21 -EM eligible to play.

Italy’s Patrick Cutrone has his birthday on January 3rd, 1998, making him one of the oldest players in the U21 European Championship. Image: imago-images.de

What does the Swiss squad look like?

U21 coach Mauro Lustrinelli cannot fully draw on the full for the EM. Three prominent players are missing from the squad: Noah Okafor (Salzburg) has to pass due to a thigh injury. For him became the last injured captain Kevin Rüegg (Hellas Verona) nominated. Also Becir Omeragic (FCZ) is not available due to injury, Ruben vargas (Augsburg) is on the road with the senior national team. For that you have it with goalkeepers Timothy Fayulu (Sion) and midfielder Fabian Rieder (YB) made two newcomers into the EM squad.

Lustrinelli’s conspiratorial unit is otherwise made up of seasoned Super League players and talents who have already made the move abroad. The most important players are goalkeepers Anthony Racioppi (FCO Dijon), head of defense Cedric Zesiger (Young Boys), playmaker Bastien Toma (KRC Genk), the two spectacle players Jordan lotomba (OGC) and Kastriot Imeri (Servette) as well as the fast offensive players Andi Zeqiri (Brighton) and And Ndoye (OGC Nice).

What can be expected from Switzerland?

Coach Mauro Lustrinelli’s team is certainly not one of the tournament favorites, but they can still be trusted. “The qualification for the knockout round is the goal,” said the coach in advance without further ado and immediately gave the reason: “We played a great qualification and proved that we can beat any opponent.”

Captain Kevin Rüegg:

“Our greatest quality is that we not only get along well on the pitch, but also off.”

Who is Switzerland playing against?

England – March 25, 3 p.m.

The showpiece of the English U21s is clearly the offensive: 13 of the total of 34 hits were most recently on the account of Eddie Nketiah. In addition to the Arsenal striker, his teammate is likely to be the most likely Emile Smith Rowe such as Callum Hodson-Odoi (Chelsea) are in focus. But the midfield is also impressive: Be behind the storm tips Curtis Jones (Liverpool) and Tom Davies (Everton) pulling the strings. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) had to cancel his participation at short notice due to an injury.

Eddie Nketiah was not allowed to play with the professionals at Arsenal. Image: imago-images.de

Croatia – March 28, 6:00 p.m.

The second Swiss opponent is a little more difficult to assess: In qualifying, only the Netherlands (46) scored more goals than Croatia. The “Vatreni” scored 17 of the 37 goals against football dwarf San Marino alone. In contrast to Switzerland, many players still play in their own league, including the two team supports Luka Ivanušec and Lovro Majerwho most recently bowled Tottenham from the Europa League with Dinamo Zagreb. Watch out for the captain too Nikola Morowho makes his living at Dynamo Moscow.

Luka Ivanušec is Croatia’s most dangerous weapon. Image: www.imago-images.de

Portugal – March 31, 6:00 p.m.

The bad news came for the Portuguese shortly before the start of the tournament: they fell due to a muscle injury Rafael Leão for the entire preliminary round. This means that the «Seleção», who is still considered a secret favorite for the title, has to do without its big superstar. But the Portuguese team is also peppered with super talents: Diogo Leite (FC Porto), Gedson Fernandes (Galatasaray Istanbul), Diogo Dalot (AC Milan) or Trincão (FC Barcelona) have already left their mark on the international stage.

Rafael Leão is absent from the Portuguese due to an injury. Image: keystone

Which other stars are there?

The undisputed leader of the DFB-Elf is Wolfsburgs Ridle Baku, nevertheless all eyes are on someone else – on Youssoufa Moukoko. The only 16-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker surprisingly received a line-up for the U21 European Championship and thus becomes Germany’s youngest U21 national player. Of course, he also wants to break records there with goals. In autumn Moukoko became the youngest player and the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history.

Youssoufa Moukoko is only 16, but already at the U21 European Championship. Image: keystone

In Italy they are eagerly awaiting the appearance of Sandro Tonali. Since moving from Brescia to Milan, he has been considered the new Andrea Pirlo. Like its predecessor, it is the linchpin in the midfield of the “Squadra Azzurra”. In Spain it says Brahim Diaz | in focus. The versatile midfielder tried his hand at Manchester City and Real Madrid before finally making his breakthrough at AC Milan this season. The Dutch have great expectations Justin Kluivertwho have favourited French can Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig as well Matteo Guendouzi from Hertha BSC.

Justin Kluivert only made 12 Bundesliga appearances in Leipzig. Image: keystone

Who are the big favorites for the title?

England, France, Netherlands and defending champion Spain are the most frequently mentioned favorites. Outsider opportunities become Denmark and Germany included, even if the big names (Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz) are missing in the team of coach Stefan Kuntz.

Stefan Kuntz hopes that his team will be exploited. Image: imago-images.de

Where can I watch the games?

SRF shows all preliminary round matches of the U21 European Championship from March 24th to 31st live on TV or in the stream. The ARD transfers two and that ZDF a group game of the German team.


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