Germany vs Spain – Under 21 Preview
Germany against Spain was a clash everybody was particularly looking forward to when the draw paired the two European football giants together in Group B of the Under-21 Championships – and now it has become an absolutely must-see.
Had Germany, like Spain, won their Group opener, this could have been a cagey affair with both sides weighing each other up ahead of a likely Final showdown on June 18th.
But their 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands means that Germany will probably be out of the competition if they don’t beat the reigning Under-21 champions in Israel tomorrow night, so we are now promised a fabulous and entertaining collision, possibly even the game of the tournament. Coral go 21/20 a Spain win, 5/2 Germany and 12/5 the draw, but a bet that particularly catches the eye is the 8/11 that both teams are on the scoresheet.
Germany were given the runaround by the Netherlands in the first half on Thursday and a 2-0 lead at the interval did not flatter the Dutch. But it was a different story after the break and after a penalty by Sebastian Rudy and a wonderful individual effort by the excellent Spurs midfielder Lewis Holtby had levelled things up with ten minutes to go, Germany seemed the more likely side to get a winner.
Some slack marking at a corner allowed the Netherlands to nick it at the death, but Germany were impressive in the second half and if they can somehow turn Spain over tomorrow, they may still have what it takes to then go all the way.
That’s a big if, of course. This Under-21 Spain side is, in style and technique, a young replica of the senior squad, all flicks and tricks and neat passing. Barcelona’s Thiago, one of the stars of 2011, is again pulling the strings in midfield, while Real Madrid’s Cristian Tello is a threat on the wing every time he receives the ball.
The same criticism has also been levelled – that there is not enough end product to go with the domination of possession – but they found a way to break down a stubborn Russian defence and will take full advantage of the space provided if Germany go gung-ho.
And this Spain, by the way, were not averse to throwing long balls into the penalty area from time to time. Rodrigo missed two good headed chances on Thursday before debutante Alvaro Morata was on the spot to nod in the winner from a free kick.
Spain have goal threats all over the park, but Rodrigo (9/2 with Coral to open the scoring) has been their main danger man this campaign and it might be his turn to shine again in Netanya.
It will be a fantastic result for Germany, and for the tournament as a whole, if they can bounce back with a win tomorrow, but a Spain victory looks the most likely outcome, possibly 2-1 (8/1) or 3-1 (16/1).
Written by Jon Freeman