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What to look out for at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

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Last night group A kicked off the action at the Uefa Euro U21 Championship. Here at The Sports Lowdown, our writer Ethan Gore previews the tournament and discusses what players and teams to watch out for as well as an overall prediction on who will win the tournament.

The tournament kicked off with the hosts Czech Republic playing Denmark, which ended in a 2-1 victory for the Danes. Czech Republic took the lead through Pavel Kaderabek’s goal in the 35th min. Denmark equalised early in the second-half thanks to a goal from Werder Bremen centre-back Jannik Vestergaard. A late goal from highly-rated winger Pione Sisto sealed the victory for Denmark and put them top of group A. The other game in group A ended in a 1-1 draw between Germany and Serbia with goals from Liverpool Emre Can and Filip Duricic.

Tonight saw Sweden defeat Italy 2-1, despite being down to ten men from the 27th minute. England also kicked their campaign of with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Portugal.

Spain have won the past two tournaments but surprisingly failed to qualify for this years championships, this after being defeated over two-legs by Serbia in the play-offs. With no Spain in the competition, Germany and England are the two stand out teams in the competition and the bookmakers would agree.

Germany however remain strong favourites to win the tournament, the last time they won the championships was back in 2009 where they in fact finished below England in the group stages. Since that tournament many of that German Under 21 squad have gone on to become full internationals and key players for some of the top teams in Europe. Players like Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have all pushed on from that tournament win and developed into some of the best players in the world. This latest group of German youngsters, will without doubt all take similar career paths.

Serbia could arise as the dark horses for this tournament with some very impressive players in their squad such as Jojic, Duricic and Filipovic. After all, they did manage to beat the reigning champions of the competition in the play-offs in convincing fashion. A good performance against the strongest team in the tournament last night has proved they are not in it to make up the numbers.

Czech Republic Denmark england under 21s germany italy portugal serbia

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