Germany won their second UEFA European under-21 Championship by ousting four-time Champions Spain in Krakow on Friday night.
There is no denying that Spain entered the match as the overwhelming favourites to win the title for a record fifth time, but Stefan Kuntz’s side produced a standout performance to beat La Rojita 1-0, thanks to Mitchell Weiser’s solitary goal in the first half.
Against many of the pre-match assumptions, it was Germany who started the game with all guns blazing, and Spain seemed to be struggling to live with their opponents in the early exchanges. Serge Gnabry’s pace and creativity created more problems for the Spanish defence, with the former Arsenal man twice coming close to opening the account.
After dominating the game and creating so many chances, Germany got their reward in the 40th minute, as Hertha Berlin wideman Mitchell Weiser came up with a loopy header from Jeremy Toljan’s cross, and the ball sailed past Kepa into the far corner.
The Germans had 55% percent possession in the first half and nullified the Spanish team that had scored with ease throughout the tournament. However, things looked different in the second half, as Albert Celades’ team tried to increase the pressure, with Saul Niguez and Dani Ceballos both almost leveling the score.
Unlike the first half, Spain saw more of the ball after the break and looked threatening, but the strong and savvy German defence held firm to deny the equalising goal. Inaki Williams replaced the disappointing Sandro Ramirez in quest of some attacking inspiration in the final stages, and the 23-year-old’s arrival gave the team a lift in the final part of the game.
Spain’s rising stars Saul Niguez and Asensio failed to shine, while Gerard Deulofeu struggled with an injury throughout the first period, but somehow played the entire 90 minutes. But while Spain continued to hammer at the oppositions’ door, the referee blew the whistle, and Germany were crowned Champions for the second time.
Written by Pragadeesh Shanmugam
United fan since Edwin Van der Sar denied Nicolas Anelka’s penalty to earn a dramatic Euro glory. Firmly believes that Lionel Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or until he plays this sport. One time writer for GiveMeSport and Roar. A regular contributor to Sportskeeda and BlameFootball.