Serbia U21 v Austria U21
Monday June 17, 14:30
Live on Sky Sports Football
No clean sheet, but Serbia should win anyway
I’ve already talked up Serbia’s chances of making the final but they’ll need to be on the ball from the word ‘go’. They have defending champions Germany in their group after all and if they lose to them, they’ll probably need wins from their other two games to be in with a shout of finishing as the best runners-up. Starting with this one of course.
And I think they will win. Interestingly, they were pitted in the same group in qualifying with Austria, picking up 26 points to the Austrian’s 22.
While Serbia went straight through, the runners-up had to negotiate a play-off against Greece, winning both legs 1-0. A good indication of how these two might fare against each other is of course their head-to-head record in qualifying.
It was 0-0 in Serbia (a game where they knew the draw was enough to send them through) and 3-1 to Luka Jovic and his mates in Austria, the Real Madrid striker putting his side 2-1 up late in the game before another Luka- Ilic- made it 3-1 in injury time.
So Serbia hold the trump card of knowing what it takes to beat this lot and boast a stronger team going into this tournament, also being able to count on Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, Benfica winger Andrija Zivkovic and Aleksandar Lutovac, a player who with over 100 appearances at senior club level for Serbian outfit Rad, is pretty experienced for this level. Lutovac also boasts an excellent record of four goals in just five Under 21 appearances for his country.
But we can do better than taking the 11/10 on the straight Serbia win.
They only conceded five goals in qualifying but it’s significant that four of those came in wins against the sides that ended up finishing just below them in the table: that 3-1 win against Austria we’ve mentioned already and wins over third-placed Russia by 3-2 and 2-1.
That suggests they can beat the stronger teams but have a habit of conceding against them. So let’s go with Serbia wining and both teams scoring at 7/2.
Germany U21 v Denmark U21
Monday June 17, 19:00
Live on Sky Sports Football
Germany to start with comfortable win
Germany are of course the defending champs but the feeling is that this side isn’t quite as good as that crop of 2017. After all, they’re just the 11/2 fifth favourites to defend their title.
Not that there was too much wrong with their qualifying campaign. The only blip was a 3-1 defeat in Norway; they won eight and drew one other than that reverse.
They were particularly ruthless on the weaker sides in the group, beating rock bottom Azerbaijan 6-1 and 7-0 in the two matches they plated them and thrashing an out-of-sorts Ireland side 6-0 away from home.
But if they fail to replicate their success from two years ago, it’s unlikely to be Denmark who stops them.
They’ve played the Danes in the last two editions of this competition and beat them 3-0 on both occasions.
Denmark tend to qualify for this tournament but don’t tend to make the most of it once they get there, exiting the tournament in the group stages in 2006, 2011 (at home) and 2017. They did however reach the semis in 2015.
This could be a tough night for Denmark, especially with those 3-0 loses in the back of their minds.
Germany coach Stefan Kuntz, who England fans will remember was part of that wonderful German side who knocked them out at Euro 96- the Gareth Southgate penalty and all that- will want to make a statement here and the ease of some of those wins in the qualifying matches suggest they’re not a team to go 1-0 up and protect what they have.
Germany should be able to overcome a -1 handicap here. You’ll need Germany to win by two or more clear goals. The win by a single goal won’t do it for us.
Source: BetFair Tips