The European Under 21 tournament kicks-off in Israel this week with the two week tournament set to showcase some of Europe’s emerging football talent.
Eight nations will do battle for the crown culminating in the final on June 18th. The eight teams are split into two groups with the top two teams in each group progressing to the semi-final stage.
In the draw for the group stages Isreal (as hosts) were top seeds along with Spain. England and the Netherlands were seeded second and the remaining four teams (Italy, Germany, Russia and Norway) were unseeded.
Group A Group B
Group A kicks the tournament off on June 5th with Israel vs Norway followed by England v Italy and the remaining fixtures are played at three day intervals. Group B starts on the 6th June with Spain v Russia and Netherlands v Germany, concluding the group stages on June 12th.
The semi-finals are in the usual format, Group A winners play Group B runners up, and Group B winners play the Group A runners up. Both semi-finals take place on 15th June before the final Jerusalem on June 18th.
In the latest betting for the European Under 21 Championships Spain are the 2/1 (Sky Bet) favourites with Germany second best at 9/2 (Coral). England are a best price 6/1 with Bet365 and Italy and the Netherlands are 7/1. Hosts Israel are 20/1 with Russia (25/1) and Norway (40/1) making up the eight.
Checking out England’s chances, they go into the tournament in fine form and have the kinder draw up against Israel, Norway and Italy. Progression to the semi-finals should be well within their grasp and avoiding Spain will be a priority so winning the group could prove vital.
Spain are worth favourites with the plethora of talent at their disposal but 2009 winners Germany are reaping the rewards of their youth system and take a powerful squad to Israel. After failing to qualify in 2011 they strolled through qualifying unbeaten and despite a few key injuries will look to make it to the final at the very least.
One team of interest is the Netherlands who take an experienced squad to the Under 21 Championships, boasting no less than seven players who have played for the senior side. If they can get out of their tough group, expect the Netherlands to concentrate on attacking a lot more than defending and score their way to the latter stages, at 7/1 they are a decent outside pick.
European Under 21s Betting Tip
Netherlands to win the tournament – 7/1 with Betfred
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