European U21 Championship 2009

Young Lions crushed in final

Goals from Castro, Ozil and Wagner seal 4-0 Germany win

Young Lions crushed in final
Germany U21s: European champions

Goals from Gonzalo Castro, Mesut Ozil and a Sandro Wagner brace saw Germany Under 21s easily beat Stuart Pearce’s England 4-0 to lift the European Championship trophy.

Castro – who had scored against the young Lions in the group stages – found the net in the 23rd minute in Malmo, lifting his effort over the advancing Scott Loach into the bottom right hand corner.

Ozil then doubled soon after the re-start when Loach horribly misjudged his swerving long-range free-kick.

But England refused to give up and Lee Cattermole hit the cross-bar with a long range effort before Andreas Beck twice cleared off the line from Adam Johnson and Cattermole.

Wagner then missed a sitter at the other end for Germany before atoning with a quick-fire brace (79 & 84) to seal the win and continue Pearce’s jinx against Germany, after losing to them twice as a player in major tournaments.

Just as well senior boss Fabio Capello could not get a connecting flight to get to Sweden from the Confederations Cup in South Africa – this had too many reminders of past failures.

At senior level, England’s clashes against Germany have created so many memories – World Cup victory for Sir Alf Ramsey’s men, Paul Gascoigne’s tears, penalties and that famous night in Munich when it ended 5-1.

This clash for England’s youngsters was defined by the fact that Pearce had Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fraizer Campbell suspended, meaning Theo Walcott was the lone striker and had no support.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did not make a save throughout the one-sided match, leaving Pearce to rue leaving Daniel Sturridge with the Under 20s.

Germany landed the first psychological punch when they opted to play in red despite being the “home” team, meaning England would not be wearing the colours of their finest hour when Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Pearce, in any case, urged his youngsters to forget the past and make a new history, one where England would hold their nerve to the end unlike Italy ’90 and Euro ’96 when the Under 21 coach was a player.

By defeating Sweden on penalties on Friday they got over their spot-kick hoodoo in semi-finals – but facing Germany at the business end of a tournament is something different altogether.

~ by awbroady on July 1, 2009.

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